It’s been a while since I’ve written about the process of getting started with the JAG. Not much has developed outside of getting our assignment until today. My husband received a phone call explaining that his packet was on it’s way and then went through some general discussion about the next steps. So for anyone wondering what happens once you get your assignment and it’s getting down to time to start moving forward this is what I learned today.
The Packet: Not totally clear on what this is, but we think it is the official documents for Will to sign stating his commitment. A.K.A. this is for real folks!
Time Between JASOC (JAG School) and Getting to Your Base: None. Well I’m half kidding. JAG’s are allowed a few days to get moved to their new base, but any additional days taken off to move are deducted from their allotted personal days for the year (a.k.a. leave days)
Your Stuff: The military will pay to have your things moved, and in the case that you do not have a place to live secured prior to moving they will pay to store your things and provide temporary housing until you find somewhere to live.
Getting to Your Base: The military will pay $0.23 per mile plus $120 per day for you to drive. They will also either pay for your spouse to drive or for a plane ticket. A day’s drive time is considered to be 350 miles. So to put this in an easy math equation: it’s 1,545 miles from where we live to Rapid City, SD. 1545/350 = 4.41 days. *This post was originally written in 2011 so be sure to check for the updated payment rates!
Finding Housing: When my husband’s packet is received we will be assigned a sponsor that will help us find housing. We have the option to live on base for free (receiving no BAH) or we can live off base and receive a monthly allowance for housing and living (BAH & BAS). The amount you receive is determined by the location of your base (cost of living is factored in) and your rank. I’ve heard mixed feelings on which way to go with this. The pros to living on base involve convenience, the tight knit military community, and general upkeep that you don’t have to deal with. The pros to living off base include getting to know the surrounding community better and the possibility to make more money if they place you are renting/own doesn’t cost as much as your allowance (you get to keep the extra $ that you don’t spend in some locations). If we were stationed somewhere in Europe I would feel strongly about living off base in order to force ourselves to get out of the comforts of the base and explore the town and meet local people. However, I think where we will live in South Dakota will mainly be determined by what kind of properties we can find to rent that will 1.) be considered comfortable and suitable, and 2.) be suitable for the dogs. Jim needs a fenced in yard and plenty of room to run.