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Moms Letters Introduction Page
Moms Letters Introduction Page

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Registered: April 2019
Posts: 175
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As an Air Force wife, Mrs. Patricia A. Gilchrest wrote letters home to her family from far away and exotic places. Her tales are sometimes humorous and sometimes heartfelt. Whether venting her frustrations or sharing some small detail from one of her children’s, her husband’s or her personal life, Pat paints a tapestry of life as an American living in different lands.

While reading these letters keep in mind the military has its own language. Spouses and children of military personnel are referred to as dependents. Civilians buy food at a grocery store. Military personnel shop at the commissary. Other items come from the BX (Base Exchange) or PX (Post Exchange) depending on which branch of the service. Liquor is sold at the Class VI store.

When you are sick, you go to the dispensary or the hospital if one is available. Where you live is referred to as your billet, your house, apartment or room is your billet, so when you see billeting think domicile.

A PCS (Permanent Change of Station) typically involves a move. Civilians pack up their belongings and move; in the military, it is not that simple.

When we were in the military moving from one base to the next involved deciding which mode of transportation the family would use. The choices included a POV (privately owned vehicle), ship, plane or train.

Regardless of the method of transportation, decisions about what went with you and what didn’t have to be made. Weight restrictions applied to travel by ship, plane, and train. Adults were allowed more weight than children under age 12.

It was always a “crapshoot” as to when the rest of your stuff would show up at a new posting, including a couple of pots and pans was always a good idea.

The remaining belongings are divided into three shipments. One is your car. The other two are hold baggage and household goods. Hold baggage are items you will want right away. The basics to be able to function for at least three months before the household goods arrive. Hold baggage is supposed to arrive before or shortly after you arrive. Theoretically, if your transportation is aboard a ship the hold baggage is supposed to be on the same ship. The car should arrive after your household goods. I am sure someone in the military actually received their belongings the way you are supposed to. We never did.

Don’t go anywhere without your orders or military identification. As with military personnel, dependents are also issued orders/authorization to travel. These orders are as important as your passport and military id. You don’t want to lose them! In fact, you need to put copies in with your belongings. Every box is supposed to contain a copy of the orders.

While reading these letters I have smiled and downright laughed. What I didn’t expect, was to find an insight into who I am. For that, I am forever grateful these letters survived. Thank you, Aunt Betty, for saving them, and thank you, Mom, for writing them in the first place.

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Anna Aspnes

ArtPlay Palette Bravura [ link ]
MultiMedia Flowers No. 5 [ link ]
ArtPlay Palette Archive [ link ]
ArtsyTransfers Archive [ link ]
ArtPlay Palette Wayfaring [ link ]
ArtPlay Palette Old World [ link ]
PaperTextures No. 5 [ link ]
ArtPlay Palette Document [ link ]
ArtPlay Palette Wayfaring [ link ]
· Date: Fri January 1, 2021 · Views: 104
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