I hate goodbyes AKA the PCS blues.

All of my stuff is gone. We’re leaving for the airport at 0500 tomorrow. Last night was the last time my wife and I would be at the Community Club with all of our friends and coworkers here. I couldn’t stay. I left the club at around 2130 (930PM) and came back to my hotel room and went to bed around an hour after that.

I hate goodbyes. Its different every time you have to PCS, but its usually never fun. I’ve only had two PCS moves where it wasn’t hard to say goodbye…when I left Ft. Campbell way back when…(I really hated it there. The unit sucked, the post sucked and we had the worst Commander and first sergeant in the place.), and when I left recruiting. Even then it was hard to say goodbye to the friends I had made.

I’m also a bundle of nerves right now. I can’t relax. I can’t eat, my stomach is full of acid. When I get anxious like this I get the “hershey squirts” so you can imagine how uncomfortable I am. I have to concentrate though, since I have to try and find a way to solve a few things. Here are some of the reasons that this PCS is difficult:

[li]**No one is picking us up at the Airport: **Nope, nada. I was told we’ll have to take a cab. It’ll be 1830 when the plane lands. We’re going to be tired, jet lagged and cranky. Also we’ll have our pets, so I’m pretty sure its going to a roller coaster of stress for everyone.[/li][li]I have to find a place for my cats once we get there.: This is going to be a huge problem. We’ve got a reservation at the lodge on the post, but no pets allowed in the room. So I have to hopefully find a local animal shelter online today or an off post hotel that allows pets. Either way that is probably going to cost an arm and a leg. Of course if this was like any other PCS move I’ve ever done, the unit would have assigned a sponsor to help make arrangements stateside so this concern wouldn’t be paramount. Hell, this place is remote, but I had a sponsor that arranged for pet friendly lodgings ahead of time until we found permanant housing. [/li][li]I don’t have any information on my gaining unit.: I don’t know what to expect, so naturally my mind keeps expecting the worst case scenario. Apparently I have to in process at the Replacement Battalion from monday to wednesday and then they’ll cut my final orders to the 4th psysops grp. Thats off putting enough, but I also have idea what Battalion or company I’ll be put in. whether they are currently deployed or not. Whether they actually have a slot for my MOS or not or whether I’ll be the “extra guy”. (Though I was told by my branch manager that my MOS is in critical need there, so maybe it won’t come to that. I’ve had a few people here tell me som encouraging things about it. But still, when you don’t get any info from the unit its hard not to think of the worst case. Thats really stressing me out. [/li][li]**Its looks like I’m not going to get any support from Ft. Bragg when I get there: ** With no unit support this next week is going to suck monkey balls. I have to find a place to live even if its temporary, for my wife and the cats. Since from what I’ve been told the in processing starts on monday I’ll have to wait a week. I’ll be on leave anyway, but still. The personnel guy here screwed me by turning in my DLA paperwork late…so I may not be reimbursed any time soon for the extra expenses. I also have very little idea on where I can go to get some guidance on this stuff. Yes, I know I can go to the ACS and Housing offices on post, but i am not sure if they will be able to realy help until I in process. [/li][li] Even if we work things out tomorrow after we land, tuesday is Election day. I’m not confident that I’ll be able to begin to get anything done.: This may be less of an issue than I thought. We’ll still be jet lagged. Of course that means the wife is going to extra cranky so either way its going to suck for me. geez, if John “We’ll stay in Iraq for 100 years” McCain wins it will probably have a big impact on any plans I may have to retire in a year. I might be stop lossed. I believe the tuesday after is a holiday too. I don’t know how it will affect my processing yet. [/li][/ol]

Those are just some of the things that have my stomach full of acid right now. I’m trying to think of positive things to cheer myself up, but I’m a pessimist at heart. Its not easy.

[li]We should at least be settled in a place to live by Thanksgiving. With any luck our car will arrive by then or the first week or december with the rest of our household goods.: Thats would really help. Even if things suck for me, it will be relieving to know that the wife and cats are housed properly. We’re used to having quiet Turkey days. [/li][li]**I could be worrying over nothing. It might the best unit I’ve ever been in. If i’m doing my MOS I should be happy there. **: I’ve been out of my MOS for awhile, but if I’m back in it, Thats a good thing. Of course it depends on the unit I guess. [/li][li]At the very least, being back in the US means I can enjoy some things I’ve missed in Europe. Fishing, the History Channel, and a decent internet connection. (Duetsch telekom did stink in that regard): I do miss that stuff. [/li][li]**Even in places I’ve hated I’ve usually managed to make some good friends. **: I hate leaving friends when we move, but I do look forward to making new ones. Even in the hellish tour of recruiting, I made a few friends that I have today. I hope my wife makes some new ones also, and finds a decent job there. She will surely be upset about the friends we’re leaving here. I hope she can make some new ones to help her adjust. [/li][li]if things go alright maybe I can look forward to retiring next year. [/li]: Its persoanl, but I’m just feeling my age and the time I’ve been in. I look forward to having a less stressful job, to stop moving every few years and you know, have a piece of the American dream myself. I can’t stay in forever. I just don’t think I’ll be happy if I am compelled to stay in longer than I want to.

Well, thats whats eating me right now. I have to go help the wife pack a few things. But this last day here is going to rough. I just want to be able to sit down and relax and then sleep…because tomorrow is going to be long and probably give me new grey hairs. Any dopers that can offer information or advice on anything, especially on Fayatteville or Ft. Bragg, Hey, every little bit helps.

No advice, only some good thoughts heading your way. Good luck and I hope this posting is a good one.

PCS can be a PITA.

I always remember that for each batch of friends I left, there’s a new batch waiting for me at the other end. I just don’t know their names yet.

The logistics of the first few days are annoying. But the cats & the wife will survive. You’re a soldier; even 3 days sleeping in an airport is well within your capabilities, and you & I both nkow it won’t come to that. You’re whipping yourself into a frenzy here. Take some deep breaths & you’ll make the process a lot easier. And yourself a lot happier. I have complete confidence in you.

Wow, man, that. . . sucks! I can’t believe the Army doesn’t mandate a sponsor for something like this. Especially from coming from overseas.

I’ve had PCS’ in the past where I didn’t have any sort of instruction until I was at the off-ramp of the nearest Interstate to my next base–I ended up calling and getting directions from people who were supposed to be my sponsor, but didn’t even know I was inbound. But then again, I was single and pretty flexible. I can’t imagine the PITA factor now that you’ve got family and pets.

One question though: you PCS into a “replacement battalion”? When I PCSed, it was laterally from unit-to-unit, not up and down the food chain. . .

Good luck, man. If you were in the mid-GA area, I’d invite you to crash at our place.

ETA: Oh, I actually did bump into my sponsor–in Bagram, Afghanistan. He was assigned to help me PCS to Robins AFB.

Let us know how it works out.

you know, the very first time I PCSed (I was single) i had a sponsor. he really didn’t do anything but say “Hi, welcome to HQ Company. heres your room. Lemme know if ya need anything!”. but like you said, I was single and flexible. It didn’t take me too long to meet other guys in the barracks and people in the area, so i was alright. When you have a family and pets though, thats when you NEED a sponsor…badly!

I don’t know how it happens but I’ve seen it too. new guy shows up and NO ONE in the unit has any idea he was showing up. I had a soldier show up when I worked at the Puzzle Palace (Pentagon) with a pregnant wife. We got him straight, but I was pissed that no one had told me or my boss. Soldiers do not deserve that kind of treatment. No one does!

Word, brother. Neither have I. When i was told to go to Replacement I was like “I’m not a F***ing private! My orders say this unit! What the HELL?”. I spoke with a Lt. Colonel I know here though. She told me that she was at bragg when she was a Major and they made HER GO TO REPLACEMENT! I was flabbergasted. an officer!? (and shes a very good officer, at that!) Every assignment I’ve had in the past 15 years has been a pinpoint. This must be a sign of our overstretched military.

I appreciate that, man. I’m looking online for pet friendly hotels right now. Too bad I’m not going to Georgia, i’d take ya up on it!

I will. Wish me luck, man. I’m not above saying that being assigned to Bragg is a bit intimidating to me. I’m a signal guy thats been outside of garrison positions for more than a decade! Seriously, in the last ten or so years I’ve been to the pentagon, EUCOM HQ (which is like a mini-pentagon in environment in Germany), recruiting duty and the NATO School which is by far the most lax place ANYONE can go. Sure, there have been periods where i had to do “Army stuff” in that time, but its not like a high tempo place like Bragg. I see my blood pressure meds being upped in my future.

As i said before any advice, or suggestions you might have are completely welcome.

It sounds like you’ve never done overseas to conus before…I have, so here’s a few things that I thought of just off the top of my head. Since you’ll need a car anyway until yours gets there, rent one at the airport, people and pet transport solved.

You say you have reservations at on post billetting, right? Do they have any pet friendly units at all there? Even if they didn’t have any available when you made the reservations, ask again when you check in. They may be able to get you into one. They also almost certainly have a list of off post kennels. Failing that, whatever the army equivalent of the Family Support Center is should have one. Failing that, the base vet may have one.

I’m sure you plan to already, but use the week you have off to find an apartment. I have no idea what the rental market is like there, but I would think there’d be scads of listings around Fort Bragg. Did you fax a copy of your orders to the housing office already? Even if you didn’t, they should still be able to give you a list of off post rental possibilities, but don’t go solely by that. There’s going to be tons of stuff that they don’t have on their list.

As far as the job stuff goes, well, no useful suggestions there, just hoping you get into a good job. Good luck to you!

i’ve done it before…I’ve just had support on the other end, first. Of course i was single the first time i did OCONUS to CONUS, so as Tripler said, its more flexible. when all you have is the stuff in your dufflebag and suitcase its a lot easier. My orders should have been faxed, but you know what…our personnel guy who as long as i’ve worked here has been on the ball…took his stupid pills this week. Half of what i’ve done this week is stuff he should have covered but fucked up on. I don’t get it. He’s a good guy and usually on the ball. But he really screwed me with being off his game.

The second time i sent my family to the US first (and yes, though i have no children, I consider my cats as family, along with the spouse) to stay with in-laws. That made a lot of thing easier. because I can stand to stay in a crap hotel or in a crap barracks room while i look for appropriate housing. That didn’t work after awhile. Only married guys will know what i mean, but the wife says she doesn’t want to travel alone anymore. Now, I could be a real dick and say “I don’t fucking care. Go stay with your mom or one of your eight fucking sisters while i sort this out!”. But then we’ll argue, i’ll probably win (since really, the choice IS mine) but she’ll cry and all of that so really i lose.

sigh I have said it before to friends about PCSing…whatever choice she wants is almost assured to be what ever makes my life harder. Hell, a case in point in this move…she spent more time cleaning shit we didn’t need to clean while i was trying to outprocess that it took us until the inspectors came to move out. She worked for the same department the inspectors came from, too. They freaking KNEW her. They liked her. Also she never did what I said a year before about telling her department about a few broken things in the place. So guess what…I paid 150 Euros for them…because she didn’t listen. they told her, just sweep and mop and you’ll pass. After all they hire professional cleaners and painters to come in AFTER WE LEAVE!

Hell, when we knew when we had to move out of our place i told her to make a reservation (she worked in booking reservations for people) in a temp apartment here so we could stay there with our pets until wheels up day. she didn’t want to do that. She said “We can stay with Alice!” A friend of ours…only this friend has their own cat…and was formally my subordinate at work. Plus the place was small and i did not want to be crowded. Now guys, would you want to spend the weekend with 2 women (that believe me, you ain’t having sex with other the time, even if your married to one of them) and four cats, (three of which you just uprooted so they’re going crazy) in a small apartment? I’ll guess you’ll say no. So I asked my wife to make a reservation at the NATO lodge right across the street for me. I’bve been staying here since Friday so she can have her time with her girlfriends across the street. Only she wanted me to move out of here tonight and stay with them. At our going away party I asked the manager of the lodge (her former boss, and friend…they’re from the same town, for Pete’s sake!) if i could stay another day since we’ll be gone in the morning anyway. The wife is standing there the whole time saying “Oh no, thats impossible, students need the rooms, that are coming here.” while the boss guy is saying 'Yeah, I can hook you up for one more night". Finally i had to be a jerk and tell her “Honey, SHUT THE F UP! You’re only making this HARDER on me. Why are you opposed to me sleeping in a comfy room only 300 ft. away as opposed to Alice’s couch with 4 screeching cats? Because, remember I said we should rent a temp place and you didn’t want to.”

Dammit, I love her, I know she loves me, but she has a problem. she seems to make decisions on what will make me crazy. Her: Why didn’t you pack the GPS with our things that the movers took? Blah blah blah…you and your gadgets…blah blah blah!"

ME: Ok, we’re probably gonna have to rent a car when we get there, even if only to Look For A place To Live…do you know where anything in North Carolina is?

Her: Um…no.

ME: So why are you yelling at me for trying to make life less hellish?

I don’t want to make this a de facto pit thread on my wife, but this is one of the reasons I declare a VETO power that I rarely use on decisions that we have to make. I need to use it more. If I told you about the stuff she did with the car when we were in NJ you’d ask why i didn’t divorce her.

Its time to go. I have literally maybe an hour or so until I have to go tbed if i’m going to function tomorrow. and tomorrow I’ll be up at 0430 at the latest. By 0500 i should be getting in the van to the airport.

It will be a long trip. I have not been back in the US since 1 July 2005. I’ve found a hotel online that will take pets, so thats probably where we are going tomorrow when we land. I’ll sort out more details after we all (cats included) get some rest and recover for at least a day. I look forward to watching election results anyway…while i shake off jet lag.