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New Spouse Orientation – For Spouses, By Spouses

U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training New Spouse Orientation resource

U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training New Spouse Orientation resource

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --

Welcome to the Air Force family! We are excited for you and your next chapter of your Air Force journey. Under normal circumstances, the key spouses from the 737th Training Group (TRG) hold a weekly briefing before the Coin Ceremony (also known as Retreat). The briefing is especially for fiancés and spouses of graduating airmen. As you know, the rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic has suspended our normal ceremonies. However, the 737th TRG key spouses still wanted to reach out to our new Air Force spouses, answer your most frequently asked questions, and provide you with what resources are available to Air Force families. Our goal at each week’s briefing is to make sure new spouses feel welcomed, appreciated and connected. We hope the information below is helpful to you! 

KEY TERMS

PCS – Permanent Change of Station

DEERS – Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

RAPIDS – Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System 

Tri-Care – Tri-Care is the military health care system for service members and their families

Housing Related Questions: 

We highly recommend that when you receive your orders to contact the housing office at the base you will be locating to and add your name to the waiting list for housing.  You are not required to live on base but might find that this is the best option once you arrive at your new location.  Wait times vary for housing so the sooner you are on the list, the sooner you can move into your home should you choose to live on base.

1.  Is there a limit on the number of animals we can have in base housing?

Yes, there is a limit to the number of pets you may have while living in base housing. It can vary base to base, however usually the limit is two. 

2. What types of animals are permitted in base housing? 

Typically, dogs and cats are the only pets allowed in base housing. Again, it may vary base to base. You may contact the base housing office of the base in which you are PCSing and ask for their pet policies. 

3. Are there breed limits for base housing?

Yes there are breed restrictions if you live in base housing. Breed restrictions vary base to base. Please contact the base housing office of the base in which you are PCSing.  

4. Can we have firearms on base?

Yes, stateside only. 

Overseas Questions: 

1. Can we bring firearms overseas?

No, you are not permitted to move firearms overseas. 

2. Can we take our cars overseas? 

Most overseas duty stations only allow the government to ship one personal vehicle. If authorized and you want to take additional vehicles, you will have to ship them at your expense. There are some locations, however, that will not allow any personal vehicles.  You should have a sponsor at your new duty station to help answer any questions you may have. 

3. Can we take our pets overseas?

Yes, cats and dogs are permitted to go overseas. You are responsible for ALL costs of moving your pet(s). This includes but is not limited to; quarantine, additional vaccines, and the airplane ticket for your pet(s). 

4. Do we need a passport if we are moved overseas? 

Yes. You will need a Government issued passport to PCS overseas. If you plan to travel/explore once you are settled at the duty station you will need a civilian passport (e.g. the passport you purchase from the United States Postal Service). 

Tech School Related Questions: 

1. Does the 20 weeks of tech school include weekends? 

Dates that are given that include weeks and months are typically calendar weeks (Monday-Sunday). Dates that are given in the number of days, also known as duty days, are typically Monday – Friday. (e.g. a tech school that is 14 days, will actually be 3 weeks (5 duty days per week))

2. Can I move with my airman to tech school?

If you are married and on the military orders because the tech school is over 20 weeks, then you can move with your airman.  If not on the orders, we highly encourage you to not move with your airman.  You will pay for all of it out of pocket.  We have a key spouse that will often say “Tech school is like college on steroids.”  We recommend you stay home, save your money, and get ready for your first duty station.   

3. Can I live on base if we are not married? 

If you are not legally married, your spouse may be required to live in the dorms. Most bases require new airman without dependents, whom recently completed tech school, to live in on-base dorms. 

4. If I visit during tech school, do I stay in the dorms? 

No. You are not permitted to stay in the dorms. 

5. Will they have their phones again in tech school? 

Yes, they will have their cell phones again in tech school, but not typically during their training hours. Please keep in mind the best way to reach your airman in case of an emergency (birth of a child and/or death in the family) will be through The Red Cross. 

6. Can they take leave after tech school before going to the next assignment? 

Yes. Typically, they are allowed to use leave after tech school before PCSing. Just a reminder, this may be impacted due to COVID-19.

7. If I go into labor, can my airman come home from tech school for the birth? 

Your airman will need to talk to his/her leadership once they arrive at their tech school. Leadership will decide if your airman can take leave during tech school for the birth. 

General Questions:

1. How do I get a military ID? 

Your Airman needs to enroll you in the DEERS system. Once you are enrolled, you will need to make an appointment through your local RAPIDS Appointment Scheduler. Your airman will need to fill out DD form 1172-2 (Active Duty, Guard and/or Reserve). You will need the following documents: marriage certificate, spouse’s birth certificate, spouse’s Social Security card, spouse’s photo ID. On the day of your appointment, you will have your photo taken and will take your ID card home the same day. 

2. How do I get enrolled in TriCare/United Concorida? When will I get it? 

Your airman will need to enroll you (your children and step-children) into the DEERS system. 

3. When will they get their first assignment? 

It may vary, but usually within 30 days of your PCS. 

4. When do the movers come to move us to tech school or the first assignment? 

Once your airman has filled out the proper paperwork, the movers will contact him/her to set up the move. 

5. Will they go to our storage unit? 

Yes. You must provide the movers all addresses in which you need items packed and moved. 

6. Will the movers pick stuff up at two places? (ie my parents’ house and my spouse’s house) 

Yes. Provide movers with all addresses in which you need items packed and moved. 

7. What do I do if I have roommates and don’t want the movers to accidentally pack/move their stuff? 

Be there the day the packers and movers come. Make sure they know what to pack and what not to pack by clearly labeling items you do not want packed. We also recommend you put all important documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, etc., phones, electronics, keys or any other valuable items you do not want packers to take, in a safe place such as an empty closet or your vehicle.

8. What can I do to prepare for our first base?

Military OneSource (www.militaryonesource.mil), Military Installations (www.installations.militaryonesource.mil), Plan my move (linked from Military One Source). 

You can also check out Airmen’s Attic and the on base Thrift Shop.  Household items, toys, clothes, military uniforms, etc. at Airmen’s Attic are FREE.  The Thrift Shop offers similar items at a discounted price.  If you purged a lot of household items and need to replenish, we recommend checking these two locations first.  

9. Who do I need to know at our first base? 

Your first two contacts at your base should be the First Sergeant and the Unit Key Spouse. They will provide you with base details and information. They will also help you with any unit related information, events, etc. If you have a sponsor, ask your sponsor to connect you to these two individuals.  If you do not have a sponsor, ask your airman to connect you.  

There are multiple agencies on base that help support our military members and their families. Below you will find information and services from two of these agencies. 

The Military & Family Readiness Center (MFRC), also known as Airman & Family Readiness Center (AFRC):

The M&FRC/A&FRC offers information on relocation, local employment opportunities, personal/work life, personal financial education, local resources/services, and deployment planning. The M&FRC also offers Heart Link, an orientation to new spouses that introduces you to the military lifestyle while offering specific information about customs, tradition, mission and resources. Please contact your local M&FRC/A&FRC to register. 

Military OneSource:

Military OneSource is your 24/7 connection to information, answers and support. Their services are all FREE!  Your one source for your best MilLife. Military OneSource is dedicated to the greater military community – service members, military spouses and families. Military OneSource helps you take full advantage of all the benefits and resources you have available. All active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Component service members, regardless of activation status are eligible for Military OneSource services. 

Below are services that Military OneSource can assist you with: 

  • Confidential Non-Medical Counseling 
  • Spouse Education and Career Opportunities 
  • Document Translation 
  • Language Interpretation 
  • Mobile Solutions 
  • Education 
  • Adult Disability and Elder Care 
  • Adoption 
  • Health and Wellness Coaching 
  • Peer-to-Peer Support 
  • Special Needs 
  • Spouse Relocation and Transition 
  • Wounded Warrior and Caregivers 
  • Financial and Tax Consultation 

Be assured all personal information is secure when utilizing Military OneSources’ services. Each user is treated confidentially and with respect, regardless of rank. Military OneSource provides confidential non-medical counseling for all service members and military families. It is private, at no cost, and it is not reported to command. It is short term, up to 12 sessions. Examples of what this counseling can help with include; improving relationships at home and work, stress management, marital and communication issues, adjustment and deployment difficulties, parenting skills, and grief or loss. You can connect with Military OneSource 24/7/365 from anywhere in the world to arrange your session. Counseling sessions are offered via telephone, online chat, live video session (live), or face-to-face. Face to Face sessions are also available through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program at installations worldwide. 

Military OneSource can also help you with your taxes. MilTax is a tax service for the military. 

These FREE tax services include: 

  • Easy-to-use software for preparing and filing your taxes online. 
  • Free expert consultants trained in tax considerations for the military.
  • Made for military life. For example, complete and electronically file your federal return and up to three state tax forms. 

Other interactive tools and services provided by Military OneSource include: 

  • Language Services (Free translation and interpretation services) 
  • Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (Military OneSource is your connection to employment and education for military spouses worldwide) 
  • The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Digital Library (Provides service members and their families with access to free library resources via computer, any time and any place where there is internet access)

Connect to your best MilLife: 

We understand you may still have questions. If you find yourself with unanswered questions please contact the Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN). They provide peer-to-peer mentorship and support to all new military spouses from the beginning. MSAN is here to serve, advocate, educate, empower, support and connect new Airman & Family Readiness Center. 

To request a mentor: https://www.militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org/contact-us

Join the Facebook group: MSAN – New Military Spouse Support Forum 

To download the New Military Toolkit, Resources, Benefits, Webinars, Newsletters and much more: https://www.militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org 

Again, we wish you all the best and welcome to the Air Force family!