Now that we know the drop list and the class has rolled the dreaded dice, Stephen and I can finally say that we’re headed to Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC! As I mentioned here, the class got the list on Friday evening, we had the weekend to talk about it, and then they rolled the dice on Monday to determine where everyone was going to be stationed next. The list was a bit surprising because we did in fact have TFI slots as predicted but they weren’t necessarily places that we expected.
Fort Worth (TX)
along with couple of slots to:
is what we were working with. Stephen and I pretty easily created our list over the weekend and prayed that his roll would be a decent one. When it came down to it, we would’ve been thrilled with any of the bases in the top six of our list. Don’t get me wrong, I think the sting of the bottom three would’ve subsided eventually and it would’ve been a fantastic adventure but right now we’re glad we’re not headed overseas.
There were many things that went into determining the ranking of our list. I think these points could be completely different per couple/family but here are some things to consider if you have the option of where you could be stationed next-
Adventure! Is there a lot to do in the area? Is it easy to travel out of? Are there a lot of places/countries to visit?
The local area — Is it a small town atmosphere? Maybe a big city? How is the climate? Is it extremely hot (hello, Phoenix) or is it frigid? What is the housing situation in that area like? Most importantly, how far away is the closest Target?
Proximity to family — How difficult would it be to travel home? How difficult would it be for family to visit?
How is the base community? I think this is something that is typically very important to spouses (wives) in particular. It’s much easier to handle adjusting to the area, deployments, etc. when you have a support system. Here in Phoenix, I am so dang thankful for the friends (fellow wives) I’ve made here. You can bet we were all drinking margaritas and eating Mexican food while the guys were at the squadron rolling the dice. Two of my good friends that I have here will also be moving to Shaw which is so exciting! It’s just really good to know that in the future when Stephen deploys, I always have my fellow AF wives near and far for support.
The base itself — Is the base big or small? Is it well developed? Are the buildings still look like they’re from the Vietnam Era or have they been renovated?
Deployments — Will they deploy frequently? This question seems stupid because they (especially pilots) will deploy at some point. However, some places are known for deploying more than others which makes it something to consider. BUT as I’ve mentioned a time or two… This is the Air Force we’re talking about here. Don’t be surprised when they throw a curve ball.
Family goals — Do you plan on having kids soon? If so, does the base have medical facilities you’ll need? For example, a hospital (we learned that Kunsan does in fact, not)? If you have a children, how is the school system in the area?
Career — Is it a place where the spouse could work, further their education or progress towards their goals in general? Is it a place that would enhance the Airman or Air(wo)man’s career?Some of these things are very minuscule in the grand scheme of things but if you have the option, this can definitely play a part in your decision!
Going into the drop I was overall at ease. Of course, there were moments when Stephen and I were both a little anxious (mine was at its prime while talking with the other wives) so we’d talk about it and we determined that the root of the nerves was the fact that this decision was somewhat in our hands. We were told many times that this drop specifically is when we’ll have the most control over where we go next. After this tour, it’s pretty much “you’re going ____.”
I think the most important thing that brought me peace through the process was my faith. The motto, “Let go, let God.” was on repeat in my head. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Ultimately, we knew that even though “it came down to the dice” it really came down to where God intended for us to be. If he wanted us to be in Korea, we’d be heading to Korea. If he wanted us to live in Fort Worth, you guessed it, we’d be heading to Fort Worth. Maybe it’s because He wants us to be close to family or with our friends that will be moving there with us too. The exact reasons we are unaware of right now but we are so thankful for. All we know is that He wants us to be in South Carolina for the next tour so that’s where we’ll be.
Another thing to think about is how cool it is that we get to explore and see the world! I can easily say that we wouldn’t be moving around to all of these places if it weren’t for the Air Force nor would we be able to experience the amazing adventures this world has to offer.
If you’re going through a similar situation and could use some help to calm your nerves, here are some verses (sweet reminders) that always do the trick for me —
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
We haven’t received any orders yet so we don’t know when we’ll be heading to the east coast. We’re guessing in the December/January time frame. For now, we’re going to continue soaking up all Arizona has to offer (dog butts and all) until the Air Force tells us otherwise.