Our first PCS in “The Pipeline”: newlywed thoughts on military life

We have settled down at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico for quite awhile now- since Chris finished dive school in May of 2017. We’ve been here for well over a year, and it has become my home away from home. I had been so anxious for our first PCS together. Chris had been training in Panama City and after completion he had been given roughly a month to get things together in San Antonio and head west to Albuquerque. For those who’s home of record was not in San Antonio, many used leave days to go home before moving to the Southwest.

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We were eventually able to secure family housing on base, which has been a total blessing to finally have a place together. They did give us the option to have a 3 bedroom place, but given that we barely have any furniture or kids in towe, a bigger house seemed unnecessary. Plus I’m currently trying to get Chris on board to live a more minimalistic lifestyle and embrace a simple life free of distraction and clutter. It’s a work in progress for the both of us.

Binx adjusted to life in Albuquerque quite well, but I ended up bringing him back up north once Chris started all of his other courses that were around the country- Paramedic, Airborne, Egress, & Freefall. He’s the best little traveler and I can’t wait until we can add a dog into the mix. But that probably won’t be until Chris gets assigned his unit after finishing the Pipeline.

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Life on base is pretty simple; there’s a pool, gym, commissary, bowling alley, etc. The typical things you’d see on a military base. I’m not used to the tax-free shopping, which is a big perk to living on base too. The one thing I have yet to figure out is a beast of confusion- Tricare. With so many logins, phone numbers, & websites, I still don’t know how to fully implement it with my employer sponsored healthcare. I made it to one appointment on base to meet my Primary Care Manager, but I get emails what seems like monthly stating my PCM has changed. So that’s something I need to get a better understanding of…one day.

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Living in family housing, we are so close to everyone else on the team. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie and Chris’ team members and wives have genuinely taken their time to get to know me, given the little time I’ve spent out there. It’s a special feeling and something I didn’t expect. It’s comforting to hang out with familiar faces each time I visit.

Being a new military wife has come with it’s challenges (mainly because we live apart), but it’s the best thing knowing we have a great support system. The little moments- attending team bbq, seeing a neighborhood kid looking to make extra money pulling weeds, or stopping all plans when you see your friends and pups at the dog park- are what make me thrilled for what is in store for our future together.

I wish I could spend more time in ABQ, but I’m grateful for the moments we do get, and find comfort knowing that there is so much for us that lies ahead. I frequently get asked how married life is, and to be honest I don’t think either of us knows exactly what that is yet. We are both so busy doing our own thing; we are lucky if we see each other once a month. But we both choose happiness at the end of the day. This truly is a thrilling chapter for both of us.

Chris recently finished another course- Freefall. And I have to say it’s the only one I’m kind of jealous he got to do! Skydiving every single day! However, it had been very stressful for him, which I’m sure took most of the fun out of it.

Now that Chris completed Freefall, he has a break until PJU, which he is slotted for February. This 6-month course is the culmination of all his training throughout the Pipeline. And it will be the final course he needs to pass before he is assigned an actual Pararescue unit. He will still have to report for work every day at Kirtland AFB before PJU begins, but at least he’ll have a break from bouncing around from school to school for a bit.

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I’m proud he’s made it this far, and will continue to support him through every bit of his journey to become a Pararescue Jumper.

While he’s busy training, I’m thoroughly enjoying every second of football season. And find it is going by way too quickly. But isn’t that just how it goes? The best things in life seem to flash before your eyes. So I’m up here in my Minnesota home, trying my hardest not to blink.

All the Love,

Rocky

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