What is the first question I hear from folks when they hear that we were an Air Force family and lived in 18 places? First, after the look of either admiration or horror is the inevitable “What was your favorite assignment/location?”
How do we answer that one? After all we had assignments in Iceland and Panama and many “unfavorable locales” in some peoples’ eyes. I usually start out with “each was special in its own way” and provided opportunities for all of us. Some accept that; but others press a bit harder.
That is when I say, well “maybe Iceland” due to the opportunity to visit Europe, teenage kids attending a Maranatha mission trip to Spain at Spring Break through the chapel, junior high son admiring “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre in Paris, Model United Nations in Den Hague, Netherlands for the high school’ers. Or how about the experience the guys had on a “Space A” ride back in a KC-135 tanker of being right next to the “boom” operator as the tanker refueled fighters, etc, etc. By this time they have an incredulous look on their face and I have lost credibility. “No way” is the usual answer and when I have time to explain all of the benefits of military life overseas it is a great story! Do I need to mention the 3 hours of daylight in winter or the horizontal snowfall and ice pellets? Nah, they don’t want to know! However, if they talk weather there are wonderful stories of teaching my kids how to drive on real ice!
Then I think how about riding the waves with the kids in the Gulf while stationed at Hurlburt Field in Florida and the fifty foot high swing we built in the backyard for friends, family and us to enjoy (or try to maim ourselves; depending on your view :)! Then I jump to friends in Lubbock, TX while I was stationed at Reese and then beautiful Charleston AFB where I worked with one of the most professional, mission savvy groups in the Air Force.
Finally, our last assignment to the beautiful Pacific Northwest! We loved McChord AFB and there were so many things to do and great friends as well. I flew home a new C-17 plane (signed the door too!) and we had the mountains and Puget Sound nearby! Wow! Remind me to tell you about the retirement dinner and lady on a Harley someday too! Ha.
Wonderful memories but which was best? I don’t know maybe you could tell me? What is your favorite? Do you enjoy being near family, being overseas, or is there a favorite stateside spot with ocean or mountains nearby? Or maybe it is the people? What are your criteria for success of a PCS and the new locale? Let us know; we would like to hear from you.