6 things you'll miss about life in the barracks - We Are The Mighty
Military Life

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Most veterans lived in the barracks (or dorms for you Air Force types) at some point during their time in service. Despite the improvements to military quarters over the years, many people just can’t stand barracks life because of things like buffing hallway floors, the senior leader walkthroughs, and the early morning health and welfare inspections. Bottom line: barracks life is not everyone’s cup of tea.


 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Marines barracks party in 1967.

 

But be advised: When you finally leave to live off base or finish your term of enlistment, you may come to the realization that ‘barracks life’ wasn’t really all that bad. Here are some things you might actually miss about living in the “Bs”:

1. Free room and board

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Airman 1st Class Robert Ruiz, 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron, enjoys the comfort of his dorm room. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Anthony Jennings)

 

Remember all the money you saved during your time there? No worries about paying a landlord or making mortgage payments. You didn’t have to concern yourself about paying a power or water bill. Although a military lifestyle is tough, this feels like a small pass on adulthood.

2. Being close to PT formation

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Soldiers conduct physical training outside new barracks at Fort Bragg, N.C. New barracks include suite-like living quarters for Soldiers, where bathrooms and kitchenettes are shared with only a few others. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

 

Getting an extra thirty minutes or even an hour of sleep is something you take for granted when living in the barracks. You don’t have to deal with the stress of driving to base and trying to beat the morning traffic to the front gate. Waking up, brushing your teeth, and walking to formation from your room is pretty awesome.

3. It’s easy to borrow things

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Inside old school U.S. Navy barracks.

 

Need some shaving cream or laundry detergent? Just ask your buddy next door or on the rack beside you. Someone in the barracks would more than likely hook you up.

4. Living with your battle buddies

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Marines in front of barracks at U.S. Naval Base Key West, FL in 1963

 

Getting to live in the same building with your friends is fun. You can always find someone to watch the game, hang out, or play video games. Barracks life builds great camaraderie among the unit.

5. Barracks grill outs

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
(U.S. Marine Corps photo)

 

There was nothing quite like those grill-outs in the courtyard on the weekends. If your courtyard had a basketball or volleyball court, it made these events that much better.

6. Barracks parties

Admit it, some of the best parties you ever attended were from the comforts of your building. They were a blast, full of shenanigans, and sometimes unpredictable. Whether you enjoyed your time living there or disliked them, some of your fondest memories in service probably happened in the barracks.

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Soldiers hanging out in a barracks day room in 1968.

What are some of your favorite barracks stories? Tell us in the comments section.

Follow Alex Licea on Twitter @alexlicea82

Military Life

Here are the best military photos for the week of November 11th

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

Firefighters from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. put out a blaze during nighttime live-fire training, Nov. 9, 2017, at Moody AFB, Ga. Moody and the Valdosta Fire Department joined forces to prepare for the possibility of nighttime aircraft fire operations.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson

An F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron, takes off from the flight line for a training sortie at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Nov. 6. The 492nd FS recently returned from a six-month deployment to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Emerson Nuñez

Army:

A Soldier from the 1-214th Aviation Regiment checks his aircraft during a simulated crash exercise Nov. 6 in the Wackernheim training area.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from 1-214th GSAB was used as a prop to add realism to the environment with around 70 personnel responding to the incident, including elements of the Mainz civilian fire and rescue services and Wiesbaden Army Airfield fire and rescue services.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Photo by Paul Hughes

Spc. Matthew Williams, a cavalry scout assigned to 2nd Cavalry Regiment fires a Stinger missile using Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADs) during Artemis Strike, a live fire exercise at the NATO Missile Firing Installation (NAMFI) off the coast of Crete, Greece Nov. 6, 2017.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
(Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson, 10th AAMDC PAO)

Navy:

The guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) transits the Atlantic Ocean Nov. 7, 2017. The Oscar Austin is on a routine deployment supporting U.S. national security interests in Europe, and increasing theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Utah Kledzik

Sailors attached to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), participate in the Damage Control Olympics, a command training event promoting knowledge and safety. Blue Ridge is in an extensive maintenance period in order to modernize the ship to continue to serve as a robust communications platform in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Semales

Marine Corps:

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller cuts a cake at a Marine Corps birthday ceremony at the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., Nov. 9, 2017. The ceremony was in honor of the Corps’ 242nd birthday.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz

U.S. Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Marine Air-Ground Task Force-5 (MAGTF), integrated with 3rd Assault Amphibious Battalion, exit an amphibious assault vehicle while conducting their final exercise during Integrated Training Exercise 1-18 (ITX) on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., November 3, 2017. The purpose of ITX is to create a challenging, realistic training environment that produces combat-ready forces capable of operating as an integrated MAGTF.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Angel D. Travis

Coast Guard:

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Rich Bassin, a machinery technician on the National Strike Force’s Atlantic Strike Team, observes local Puerto Rican boat owners attempting to salvage a vessel in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Nov. 6, 2013.

The Maria ESF-10 PR Unified Command, consisting of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, U.S. Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Control Board, Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. and Fish Wildlife Service, is responding to vessels found to be damaged, displaced, submerged or sunken.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

Coast Guard members from Station Venice, Louisiana, medevac a cruise ship crewmember who was experiencing appendicitis symptoms near Venice Nov. 6, 2017. The crewmember was taken to to emergency medical services at Station Venice in stable condition.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Magee

MIGHTY TRENDING

An American is now a senior ISIS commander in Syria

In April, 2015, the son of a New Jersey pizza shop owner left the United States. His destination was an Islamic State training camp in Syria. Shortly after arriving, he allegedly emerged in a video posted to social media, beheading Kurdish fighters captured by ISIS. Now, Zulfi Hoxha may be in command of ISIS fighters in the country.


How Islamic State fighters survive the onslaught from American, Kurdish, Syrian, Russian, Iranian, and/or Turkish forces is baffling to many, but Zulfi Hoxha has managed to stay alive through it all, even after the fall of the ISIS capital at Raqqa and the subsequent collapse of the terrorist “caliphate.”

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Hoxha now goes by the name Abu Hamza al-Amriki, the last being a nod to his country of origin. He’s been seen in a number of pro-ISIS jihadist propaganda videos, doing everything from encouraging “lone wolf” attacks in the United States to actually beheading enemy soldiers captured in combat. At just 26, he’s being touted as one of the most dangerous recruiting tools of the declining Islamic State.

We used to joke around like, ‘We know you can’t stand us Americans.’ And he would laugh like, haha, ‘Yeah, we can’t stand you Americans,'” former coworker Joseph Cacia told Philadelphia’s NBC10. “But you didn’t think he was serious. You thought he was playing along.”
6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Only a few dozen Americans have left the U.S. to join international terrorist organizations. Hoxha is significant in that he is now a major propaganda star and is featured as a senior commander of the Islamic State forces. But since the apogee of ISIS’ rise to power in 2014, the group has lost the kind of success that would attract followers like Hoxha.

Having graduated from an Atlantic City, N.J., high school in 2010, youth like Hoxha saw ISIS in control of some 34,000 square miles of territory cut out of Iraq and Syria – a territory roughly the size of Maine. In the years since, the group has lost most of that territory, along with the prestige, money, and followers that kind of success attracts. In previous years, ISIS members like Hoxha were propaganda stars on social media, but after the worldwide effort to curb ISIS recruiting, jihadists are more likely to be found on dark websites than on Twitter.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Iraqi Federal Police hold an upside-down ISIS flag after retaking streets in Mosul.

Hoxha has had minimal contact with former friends and family back in New Jersey. He sent a message to one friend shortly after leaving the United States to tell him that he had arrived in “the Safe House.” He also told his mother that he was going to be training for three months. Now he is one of just a few Americans who rose to a leadership position in the Islamic State and other jihadist organizations.

Many of the others are dead, most killed by U.S. airstrikes.

Articles

7 tips for getting away with fraternization

So, you’ve got a fever and the only cure is a consensual adult relationship that violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice? It happens.


And by the way, it can happen among friends, but for this article, we’re going to talk about sexual or romantic relationships.

Related video:

Paraphrasing here from the Manual for Courts Martial: Fraternization in the military is a personal relationship between an officer and an enlisted member that violates the customary bounds of acceptable behavior and jeopardizes good order and discipline.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

That’s a mouthful, but it boils down to the intent of guidelines for any relationship among professionals: The appearance of favoritism hurts the group, and, with the military in particular, could actually get someone killed.

Also read: 13 Hilarious Meme Replies To Our Article About Dating On Navy Ships

But we’re only human, right? It’s natural to fall for someone you work with, so here are a couple of tips that can help keep you out of Leavenworth:

1. Don’t do it

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Seriously. Cut it off when you first start to feel the butterflies-slash-burning-in-your-loins. Flirting is a rush and it’s fun and NO.

Hit the gym. Take a break. Swipe right on Tinder. Do whatever you have to do to nip it in the bud before it gets out of control.

2. Be discreet

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Okay, fine, you’re going for it anyway. We’ve all been there (nervous laughter…).

People are more intuitive than you think. Don’t give them any reason to suspect you and your illicit goings-on. Be completely professional at work. Don’t flirt in the office. Don’t send sweet nothings over government e-mail (yes, it is being monitored).

3. Keep it off-base

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

Don’t be stupid, okay? Get away from the watchful eyes all the people around you who live and breathe military regulations.

4. Square away

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

The thing about military punishment is that you are usually judged by your commander first. If you do get caught, you want people to really regret the idea of punishing you.

Be amazing at your job — better yet, be the best at your job. Be irreplaceable. Be a leader and a team player and a bad ass. Set the example with your physical fitness and your marksmanship and your ability to destroy terrorism.

Be beloved by all and you just might get away with a slap on the wrist…

5. Plausible deniability

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

I would never tell you to lie because integrity and honor are all totes important and stuff, but…

If lawyers can’t prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were actually engaged in criminal activity, you could be spared from a conviction.

Maybe it was just a coincidence that you both happened to be volunteering at the same time. It was for the orphans…

How could you have known that you both like to spend Christmas in Hawaii?

It’s not your fault Sgt. Hottie wanted to attend a concert in the same town where your parents live, right?

6. Talk it out

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

If you can’t have a mature conversation with this person about how to conduct yourselves in the workplace or how you’d each face the consequences of being discovered, you really shouldn’t be getting it on.

You are both risking your careers and livelihoods because of this relationship — don’t take it lightly.

And whatever you do, treat each other with honesty and respect — you’re all you have right now.

7. Don’t go to the danger zone

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

I know you know this, but here’s the thing: REALLY DON’T DO IT (PUN INTENDED) WHILE IN A COMBAT ZONE.

This is life and death. Remind yourself why you chose to serve your country. Pay attention to the men and women around you who trust you and rely on you to protect them.

LOCK IT UP. You’re a warrior and you have discipline.

Did we leave anything out? Leave a comment and let us know.

MIGHTY MONEY

This meditation company is giving away free downloads to veterans

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Deployed Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, coalition partners and civilians go relax as they finish the largest Yoga session to take place in Qatar history July 11, 2015 at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.


A meditation company with an iTunes app is offering free downloads to veterans. Meditation Studios has developed 200 meditation tracks that can be downloaded through their app in the iTunes store.

Through a recent partnership with Give Back, the company created the Veterans Collection, a unique series of meditations that are designed to help veterans improve their focus, relieve stress, and encourage better sleep.

In a statement to We Are the Mighty, Meditation Studios said:

Please enjoy these complimentary meditations from Meditation Studio App. For more from this collection, download the app. The guided meditations in the Veterans collection will help to improve focus, relieve stress, encourage better sleep and generally bring more peace of mind. The mind can be a great source of distress when it’s out of control. When we can relax, pause or slow the mind down, it becomes a source of consolation and peace. As we learn to meditate, we learn to recognize emotions, thoughts and sensations without reacting to them. It helps us to respond more thoughtfully, without impulse or overreaction. This can be very comforting, giving veterans more control over the thoughts and emotions that accompany a return from deployment.

The downloads are available through the app, or through SoundCloud. The app, which is $3.99 and has high ratings, features unlimited access to all of the company’s meditations and courses; population and situation specific mediations; step-by-step “courses” with instruction on proper meditation; meditations in various lengths to fit into busy schedules; a section for tracking progress, scheduling meditations, and an in-app calendar.

The meditations offered by Meditation Studios are Self Care and Relax and Energize.

An uncontrolled study published in Military Medicine in June, 2011 found that meditation among Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom combat veterans with moderately severe post traumatic stress “may have helped to alleviate symptoms of PTSD and improve quality of life in veterans of OEF/OIF with combat-related PTSD.”

A similar study by the Army in 2013 determined that meditation could have a positive impact on PTSD, and noted that more research was needed.

The VA notes that meditation, when combined with other treatments, may “improve outcomes” of treatment.

Articles

This is why some sailors wear gold stripes, and some wear red

The short answer? Twelve years of good conduct.


In the Navy, there are many different ways to reward a sailor for their excellent work performance, like a promotion in rank or special liberty (time off). On the contrary, there are also several ways to discipline a sailor, for instance using non-judicial punished or Captain’s Mast.

A service member falling asleep on watch, destruction of government property or theft are just some the reasons why a sailor would get sent to stand in front of their commanding officer for disciplinary action.

If a sailor is found guilty of a violation, the 12-years of good service starts over. Punishments for violations can range from restriction to discharge, depending on the severity of the offense.

Related: These are weird Navy traditions and their meanings

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
The gold rank insignia of a Boatswain Mate Chief Petty Officer

Also Read: Yes, sergeant, actually that new academy cadet does outrank you

To rate the gold stripes, the sailor must complete 12-years straight of good service with no breaks starting on the first day they wake up in boot camp — not the day they entered basic training.

If the sailor does take a break from service, the period pauses until they return.

So if you notice a sailor wearing three or four service stripes on their sleeve (each stripe means four years of service) and they aren’t yellow, chances are they’ve been in trouble at least once

Humor

33 images that perfectly portray your first 96-hour liberty

For the first few months of military service, we go through some pretty intense training during the week, and maybe we have to pull duty on a weekend.


So, when a holiday approaches and the commanding officer awards your unit a 96-hour liberty, you’d better take advantage.

Related: 22 things every boot has done but will never, ever admit

Check out what many young troops do on their first 96-hour liberty away from the base.

1. When everyone is told, their 96-hour liberty has been approved at the same time.

Best news ever! (Images via Giphy)

2. How you caught a ride to leave the base.

Stuntin’ 101. (Images via Giphy)

3. What it feels like walking into your hotel room

All mine. (Images via Giphy)

4. What you look like drinking your first beer in months and can finally take a shower by yourself.

It tastes so good. (Images via Giphy)

5. How you looked properly preparing yourself for an evening out with the boys

Need to buff those floors. (Images via Giphy)

6. How awesome you felt drinking with your new military friends

I feel so cool doing a fourth wall break. (Images via Giphy)

7. That moment when you notice a female troop for the first time out of uniform, and she’s hot

Holy sh*t! (Images via Giphy)

8. After a few hours of partying, you start showing off your boot camp muscle gains

“I have the power.” (Images via Giphy)

9. Eating that first real hamburger after getting the beer munchies

So good. (Images via Giphy)

10. Trying to sleep after drinking way too much the first night

“I thought I was supposed to pass right out.” (Images via Giphy)

11. Waking up with a hangover and you need a quick pick-me-up to start the day

Coffee was meant to be ingested, but whatever. (Images via Giphy)

12. Thinking for something fun to do after you recovered from your hangover

I’m so bored. (Images via Giphy)

13. When you’re replying to all those Facebook messages for the first time in months

So many messages. (Images via Giphy)

14. When your boys invite you to come to the local dance club

Gotta practice. (Images via Giphy)

15. How you think you’re dancing at the club after a few drinks

Just like back at home. (Images via Giphy)

16. How you’re really dancing at the club after those drinks

How do I look? (Images via Giphy)

17. When you find some girl who actually said “sure”

It’s a new world record. (Images via Giphy)

18. What your conscience is trying to tell you before it’s too late

“Shut up brain.” (Images via Giphy)

19. Waking up next to that girl who said “sure” and she’s not what you remembered

Beer goggles are real. (Images via Giphy)

20.  Making your escape

Shh! (Images via Giphy)

21. Getting made fun of by your boys for hooking up with her the next morning

You had it coming. (Images via Giphy)

22. Your reaction

Damn. (Images via Giphy)

23. When the group plans an evening at the strip club after dinner

Cheers. (Images via Giphy)

24. But you really want to go now

Run! (Images via Giphy)

25. Then you get hammered at the strip club

Not that hammer, but whatever. (Images via Giphy)

26. When your guys find the first stripper who appears interested

“We so had her!” (Images via Giphy)

27. Then the gents get kicked out of the strip club

I guess we weren’t allowed to touch? (Images via Giphy)

28. Then someone drunkenly jokes saying “you’re not tough enough to get a tattoo”

That’s a good one bro. (Images via Giphy)

29. Then follows it up by saying “no balls”

Wait. What? (Images via Giphy)

30. Waking up the next morning with an unwanted tattoo

Sh*ttiest tattoo ever. (Images via Giphy)

31. Stay in the hotel room for the whole day and think about all the money you wasted

What was I thinking? (Images via Giphy)

32. Heading back to base after your 96 is up.

I don’t think I can make it. (Images via Giphy)

33. Look at all the photos you took the next day at work — that 96 was so much freakin’ fun

That was the best weekend ever! (Images via Giphy)What did you do on your first 96-hour liberty? Comment below.

Military Life

Why the US has a base 695 miles north of the Arctic Circle

Every military installation has its ups and downs. You could be assigned to a tropical paradise, but you can’t afford anything off-base. You could be assigned to a breathtaking foreign country, but learning the local language will take some time. Or, you could be assigned to Thule Air Base in Greenland, where there’s literally nothing but ice and rock for 65 miles (and, even then, it’s just a remote Eskimo village).


The multinational team stationed there consists of around 400 Danish troops, 150 American troops, and a handful of Canadians. Team Thule is charged with tracking satellites and orbiting debris using a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS), a remnant from the Cold War by being strategically placed roughly halfway between Moscow and New York City.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

The BMEWS is still manned and operated by both American and Danish troops. Denmark holds territorial claim over Greenland but gave them “Home Rule” in 1979 and Greenlanders voted for self-governance in 2008. Denmark still handles much of the defense of Greenland, however.

Troops at Thule are locked out from the rest of the world by the ice for nine months, so during the three “summer” months, everyone loads up on supplies that’ll last them the rest of the year. Thule is also home to the Air Force’s only Tug Boat, the Rising Star, which it uses for these resupply missions.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Just an average day at Thule Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

The Military One Source Pamphlet hilariously tries to downplay the roughness of Thule while also telling you that there are no ATMs, no commissary, the PX is extremely limited, and there’s all of one bar and a single “base taxi.”

But hey! At least every barracks room comes with free WiFi and it’s kind of accepted that everyone shelters-in-place during the four-month-long Polar Night where winds can reach 200 mph and the temperatures are -28.

MIGHTY MONEY

What are allowances and why do you get them?

Next to base pay, allowances are the most important part in the breakdown of your paycheck. They are funds paid to the service member to provide for specific needs that are not directly provided for by the military – for example, clothing and housing — and they are generally not considered taxable income.


6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

BAS:

Basic allowance for subsistence, or BAS, is intended to partly compensate the service member for the cost of food. These allowances are not intended to compensate the service member for the cost of feeding dependents.

Who: All service members, though service members utilizing the chow hall, deployed, or attending schools/training may not receive BAS as it is directly applied to chow halls or MREs (meals ready to eat).

How much: Officers rate $246.24 per month, enlisted personnel rate $357.55 per month.

BAH:

Basic allowance for housing, or BAH, like BAS, is intended to compensate the service member for the cost of housing.

Who: Service members who do not reside in military quarters or on-installation housing.

How much: BAH differs by duty station and rank. Additionally, there are several different types of BAH that impact the exact amount the service member receives.

BAH with dependents will be higher than BAH without dependents.

Partial BAH is paid to service members who live in government quarters without dependents.

BAH reserve component/transit (BAH RC/T) is for service members who fall within certain parameters that wouldn’t generally receive BAH (i.e. a reservist activated for less than 30 days or a service member stationed somewhere with no previous BAH rate set up, generally overseas).

BAH-differential (BAH-Diff) is authorized for service members who pay child support but don’t necessarily have a dependent living with them (this amount is determined by subtracting the amount of BAH without dependents from that of BAH with dependents).

BAH can be determined here.

Clothing:

There are several types of clothing allowances: initial, cash clothing replacement, extra clothing, and military clothing maintenance.

Initial:

Who: Officers and enlisted alike rate an initial clothing allowance.

How much: The allowance is directly applied to the bill when uniforms are issued.

Cash clothing replacement:

Who: Enlisted personnel yearly in the anniversary month of the service member’s enlistment.

How much: Varies by rank.

Extra clothing:

Who: Any service member in a situation where additional uniforms or specific civilian attire is necessary in order to perform duties (i.e. detachment commanders at an embassy require suits).

How much: For civilian attire, this amount ranges from $287.45 to $862.35 and depends on whether it’s the initial payment, and for how long the service member is going to be in the position.

Military clothing maintenance:

Who: All service members during and after 3 years of active duty.

How much: Varies.

Dislocation:

Dislocation Allowance, or DLA, is intended to partly reimburse service members for the cost of relocating due to orders or evacuation.

Who: All service members regardless of whether the member has dependents; except for National Guard members and reserve members who are reporting to or leaving active duty unless the member is activated for longer than 20 weeks at one location and is authorized to receive PCS allowances and have family members accompanying.

How much: Varies depending on rank and dependent status.

FSA:

Family separation allowance, or FSA, is paid to service members who have dependents and are given unaccompanied orders for more than 30 continuous days.

Who: All service members.

How much: $250 per month.

FSSA:

Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance, or FSSA, is program designed to help military families contending with issues or demands that cannot be met by current military allowances.

Who: All service members who meet the criteria.

How much: Varies.

Military Life

6 reasons why no one likes the most ‘moto’ guy in the platoon

Being “the best” in the military is a weird paradox. Of course, you should always strive to be the best at whatever you do. But, at the same time, you can’t put others down or set yourself to such a high bar that it screws over everyone else. There is a fine line between giving Uncle Sam the best version of yourself and stepping into “Blue Falcon” territory.


You can be an outstanding troop without brown-nosing. You can be a great leader without throwing your troops under the bus. You can be highly motivated without overdoing it — but it’s a tricky balance to strike.

1. They integrate their military gear into their civilian attire

Ask anyone who’s ever rucked more than 24 miles in a single march: The best feeling ever in the military is, after finishing a grueling ruck, taking your gear off and throwing it across the room as hard as you can. Why in the hell would someone willingly wear their uniform after work hours for any reason outside of sheer laziness?

There are only two types of people who wear combat boots with civilian clothes: FNGs who haven’t had a chance to buy civilian shoes and the overly-hooah.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Hell, no one wants to wear boots while in uniform. (Photo by Sgt. Audrey Hayes)

2. They force everyone to do more PT

Morning PT means its just another day in the military. It’s not designed as much for personal improvement as it is for camaraderie-building and sustainment. If you want to improve, the gym is open after work hours.

Do not get this twisted: Everyone should be sweating with everyone else. But remember, there’s a fine line. When you’re overzealousness legitimately breaks your comrade and they’re now on profile, you’re an ass.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

3. They always ask for more work

The one phrase every NCO loves hearing from their troops is, “what else should we do?” It’s also, coincidentally, the last phrase lower enlisted want to hear right before close of business.

If the mission is complete, that’s it — shut up and move on.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
There’s always more work to do. If you ask, you’ll find yourself being the only one not completely pissed off. (Photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza)

4. They step on others to get to promotion points

This applies to boards, schools, certifications, medals, badges, etc. They are all in limited supply and can’t be handed out like candy. Remember, it’s not a competition and your battle-buddies are not your enemies.

These things should go to the best and most deserving — not to the person who made everyone else look like sh*t.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
A key part of leadership is knowing how well those people you f*cked over will help you when the time comes. Remember that. (U.S. Army Courtesy Photo)

5. They parrot NCO sayings unironically

It’s a little bit funny when it’s coming down outside and an NCO turns to their troops and says, jokingly, “if it’s not raining, we’re not training. Am I right?” When a staff officer peaks their head out from behind their PowerPoint presentation and says it to troops who are soaking wet… not so much.

You need the rank and position to make those kinds of jokes. Otherwise, you’ll be glared at with disdain.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks

6. They have flaws and overcompensate for them

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes or slip up. Regular troops take the hit on the chin, learn from mistakes, and move on. Ultimately, nobody cares if the mistake doesn’t involve the UCMJ.

You don’t need to lose your mind because you accidentally saluted with the wrong hand. The officer will probably laugh at you for your stupid mistake and forget about it. You don’t need to stand outside their office all day to prove you can salute properly.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Just take your licks like a big kid and move on. (Photo by Sgt. Takoune Norasingh)

Military Life

7 do’s and dont’s of surviving toxic leadership in the military

The buzz word that seems to never leave the tips of the Big Military’s tongue is “toxic leadership.” It can be defined as the behavior of a leader who puts their own well-being first while destroying the well-being of everyone underneath them — the type of person who would stand on the neck of their troops if it meant a single “attaboy” from their own superiors.


Do not get this twisted. Toxic leadership is not “Sergeant said something mean to me one time!” It is not “Sergeant had to punish me when I messed up!” And it is not “Sergeant made me do military things!” Toxic leadership is like bad art. You can’t quite nail down how to perfectly define it, but when you see it — you know.

1. Do praise the good leaders

During my time in the Army, I’ve had the pleasure of serving under some damn fine officers and NCOs (a few of which I know read my articles years after I got my own DD-214 blanket.) Every single one of the good ones understand that respect is a two-way street. And every single one took strong stands against the toxic leadership that is “the scoliosis of the backbone of the Army.”

If you want to see the good leaders, shine a light on them. They’re out there. This is best and most effective means to cleaning the toxicity out of the military.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
And you’ll never forget the lessons the damn good ones taught you. (Author is on the far left. Image via Facebook)

 

2. When dealing with toxic leadership, don’t give up 

If you do find yourself under the boot of one of those slimy bastards, continue the fight. If you want to count the days until your blanket, that’s fine. If you want to put an end to that crap to help your brothers and sisters-in-arms, that’s better.

No one should ever hate their time in the military. We’re a family closer than most blood families.

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Good leaders aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty with their troops. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jeremy Laboy)

 

3. Do respectfully and professionally communicate with them

The first sentence of the U.S. Army and Air Force Non-commissioned officer creed is: No one is more professional than I. The Marines have “I am the backbone of the Marine Corps” and is a sentiment shared by every branch. These are the words they swore to live by. If they are worth a damn, they prove it every day.

Find out if what they’re doing is truly toxic or if there’s just a bigger picture at play. Even if you don’t owe it to them, owe it to the rank they wear.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Never forget, your superiors are still human. They may make mistakes, but they will still have human moments with you. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Aaron S. Patterson)

4. Don’t disrespect their position or rank

That being said, even if every fiber of your being is saying they don’t deserve their rank, you can’t lose your military bearing. Keep the formalities. Stand at attention or parade rest. Refer to them by their rank and don’t use expletives in reference to them.

It’s much harder for your concerns to be taken seriously if you come across as complaining to their peers.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
If you lose your bearing, you lose the fight against toxicity. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade)

 

5. Do Command Climate Surveys

The most mind-numbing briefings and paperwork lower enlisted seem to do is a Command Climate Survey. They seem to get filled with a bunch of fluff that won’t change things — or fluff that can’t be changed. But what actually gets the hosts of the surveys to sit on the edge of their seats is signs of actual toxic leadership.

They won’t bother listening to gripes and complaints. However, if you point out specific events and provide actual solutions: they do listen.

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Command Climate Surveys really are the most effective means, even if it doesn’t seem feel it. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James Vazquez)

 

6. Don’t put toxic leadership on blast

Keep your bearing. If you know the reason they’re not at morning formation isn’t because they’re “at Dental,” you don’t need to shout it out in front of the platoon. And whatever you do, don’t put a photo out of context on social media.

Use the open door policy to their superior. Explain the situation in a more controlled environment that won’t put a target on your back.

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
That, and blasting them on Social Media is an offense under UCMJ of online misconduct (Dog used to not single anyone out.) (U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Devin N. Boyer)

 

7. Do strive to be better than toxic leaders

To avoid sounding like one of those knitted pillows on Grandma’s couch, everything is a learning experience. It’s easy to look at the good leaders and follow their footsteps. But it’s much more critical to look at a toxic leader and say “When I’m that rank, I will never be like them.”

Watch them burn, hold your head up high and march forward. Right now, you’re the leader your unit needs.

 

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
These words stuck with me and can be found on the walls of the 7th Army NCO Academy. Never forget them.(Image via AZ Quotes)

When in doubt, make sure they receive this link: How to not be a dirtbag CGO

Military Life

Why the Army should reconsider turning down Detroit

The Army is mulling over where they can set up the Army Future Command. One of the locations that’s been on the tips of everyone’s tongues is none other than the Motor City — until recently. There are countless benefits that the city of Detroit stands to gain, but the Army would benefit far more if they gave them a second look.


So, why turn down Detroit? The primary reason that Detroit was removed from contention is because of the “livability scale.” As a Michigan native, I can assure you those claims are blown out of proportion. Yes, there are bad neighborhoods in Detroit, but the area most suited for the Future Command would be the really-nice suburb of Warren.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
‘Motown’ doesn’t just referu00a0to the cars made in Detroit.
(U.S. Army TARDEC Photo)

There’s historical precedent here. This suburb was once home to the Detroit Arsenal, where the Army manufactured its tanks until 1996. It’s still currently home to the Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. The Army chose to this location for two separate installations throughout history for the same reason they’re now eyeing the outskirts of Washington D.C.: it has an infrastructure capable of handling many people.

When many cities around the United States were created, the infrastructure had to evolve around them. Most cities east of the Mississippi River struggled to restructure themselves around a new need to support everyone’s cars — except Detroit. In recent years, the infrastructure has taken hits — there’s no denying that — but the city has been recovering far faster than anyone cares to admit.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
This is the I-75 heading towards Detroit on an average day. Traffic jams aren’t really a thing here.
(Photo by Sean Marshall)

Choosing Detroit as the center for the Futures Command also affords it many opportunities to work hand-in-hand with TACOM. The tanks and vehicles that are going to be used in combat are literally just down the street. Logistically, this means you can get a good gauge of where the Army is at with a quick meeting at your local Tim Hortons.

Another factor that disqualified Detroit (an excuse first employed by Amazon and seemingly copied by the Army) is the educational credentials of the potential workforce. To counter this, I show you the nearby city — one of Forbes’ Most Livable Cities — Ann Arbor. It’s home of also one of Forbes’ best Public Colleges, the University of Michigan. The workforce is available and highly educated, with 75.2 percent of the population holding a degree and a whopping 10.3 percent with doctorates.

6 things you’ll miss about life in the barracks
Ann Arbor is essentially the small town you see in every TV show. Except everyone you run into is probably a doctor.
(Courtesy Photo)

Detroit and the surrounding regions are making a strong comeback. The goal of Future Command is to detail how the Army will advance it’s technology into the coming decades. There really is no better place to look towards than the city that is leading the way.

MIGHTY TRENDING

6 ways you know you’re married to a veteran

Being married to someone who dedicated a portion of his life in service to our great nation is something of which I’m incredibly proud. I spent the better part of my adult life supporting his service and I would do it all again because I love him and believe his choice to join the Marine Corps was honorable and brave.


But even now, 18 months after his retirement, there are things that happen in our daily lives that make me smile because I am certain they’re completely foreign to my friends who are married to “civilians.” These are 6 such things:

6. You’ve ever had to say, “don’t you knife hand me!”

I might say this at least once a week. Okay, once a day. That knife hand is fierce and even my 5-year-old will employ it from time to time. Oorah.

(Image via GIPHY)

Related: 4 things you should never say to a military spouse

5. You are 15 minutes early to everything.

And even then, my husband is stressed out. After all, if you are on time, you’re late. I’m not mad at this one (most days). My teenager has also learned this life skill and will do just about anything not to be “on time.”

(Image via GIPHY)

4. There is green gear everywhere.

Even though he’s no longer active duty, we still have duffle bags, green socks that I swear multiply if they get wet after midnight, paracords, backpacks, and those little black, clicky pens. Everywhere. And don’t even think about trying to get rid of those green t-shirts. Just don’t do it.

(Image via GIPHY)

3. Your spouse, before bedtime, says, “I’m gonna go check the perimeter.”

Firearm strapped to his hip, my husband will go check the perimeter just to make sure we are all safe. I love this, but I don’t think any of my non-military spouse friends get this level of security each night. I’ll take it.

(Image via GIPHY)

2. When you can’t watch military films or TV shows…

We’ll settle in for a great movie or TV show that has something to do with the military. Then, like clockwork, he pauses the DVR. “First of all… that ribbon is in the wrong place. And look at those stripes! No way does an E-5 have that many years of service. Who is advising this film?!”

Every. Time.

Also read: This is why there’s no excuse for Hollywood to screw up military uniforms

(Image via GIPHY)

1. That face.

You know the one I am talking about. When a movie, TV show, or really great military-related commercial comes on and it touches your veteran. You look over and he/she is biting that bottom lip just slightly, eyes are welling a bit, but they are trying hard not to cry.

You realize it has reminded them of someone who didn’t come home or an experience they may never feel ready to share and you’re reminded of just how incredible your spouse is for signing on that line and agreeing to pay the ultimate price for our country.

And then you say a little prayer of thanks that your spouse is one of the lucky ones.

(Image via GIPHY)