The time spent between wanting orders and actually getting orders leaves room for dreaming, thinking and discussing where we are headed. We’ve been at our current duty station for almost three years, and have a case of wanderlust– we’re itching to start a new adventure in a new place. Daily I consider areas that I’d love to live and explore, sometimes stateside, other times I long for an overseas assignment.
We are an Army family, but being an Air Force veteran myself, I often look up duty stations in other branches because, why not? In my research, I’ve come across very cool military installations all over the world that I didn’t know existed. In honor of National Geography Week, let’s explore some of the more obscure duty stations.
Naval Station Rota, Spain
It’s no secret there are amazing bases in Italy, but very little is mentioned about Spain. Spain actually has two military installations — Naval Station Rota and Morón Air Base — about 1.5 hours away from each other. Living both on or off base are good options. If you want to immerse yourself in Spanish culture, living on base is the way to go. If you prefer to keep to he “American schedule” (i.e., no siestas or late nights) then on base living will be for you. Rota is known for being very family oriented!
Naval Support Activity Bahrain
An island in the Persian Gulf east of Saudi Arabia with over 7000 military personnel, NAS Bahrain is a bit of an unlikely jackpot of assignments. It is no easy feat to get an assignment here, but you’ll be happy you did! While families must live off base, there’s no shortage of amenities available to you, from the Navy Exchange and commissary, to movie theaters, sports facilities, pool, bowling alley and Navy College. The weather is great year round, with it rarely dropping below 50 degrees.
US Army Garrison Benelux in Brussels, Belgium
When thinking of European assignments, minds automatically go to the darlings of overseas assignments: Germany and Italy. However, there are many military families enjoying every moment of their time in Belgium. Families live off the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, but many amenities and activities are available to your family. They have a very active MWR, with many opportunities to travel to England, Spain, Germany and other surrounding countries.
It is no secret that Okinawa, Japan is on many Dream Sheets. While 50,000 military personnel are enjoying island living in Okinawa, Yokota Air Base is also a worthy assignment. From the family perspective, there are many opportunities for travel and adventure. On base housing is available. Yokota is more urban than Okinawa, most likely because of its proximity to Tokyo. If you’re looking to experience the full Japanese culture, then Yokota is the assignment for you.
Eglin Air Force Base
Welcome to Paradise! Eglin Air Force Base is nestled in Northwest Florida’s Panhandle on the Emerald Coast with the most beautiful beaches in the world. While not overseas, Eglin has great schools, is very safe and has good housing options both on and off base. Not only that, although it is in Florida, temperatures get down to 40s and 50s during the winter. There’s also a great sense of community among military families there! It was so natural and easy to make friends during our time at Eglin; I’d recommend it to any military family. There were plenty of family activities on and off base that were low cost or no cost.
During this National Geography week, I encourage you to do a bit of dreaming yourself! A great decompressing activity could be printing out a world map and marking all the places you have lived and would like to be stationed. If you have children, get them involved for a little geography lesson while talking about places you, your service member and the children would like to live. One of the great perks of being a military family is the ability to explore our world, learn new cultures and languages! What do you consider your “dream” assignment? Is there a duty station that you wish you could go back to?