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Married... Travel to first duty station?
Last Post 11 May 2016 01:04 PM by Rich32. 6 Replies.
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SuitcaseUser is Offline
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Suitcase

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10 May 2016 04:50 PM
    Hey, guys! Although I have just created an account, this forum has been an invaluable resource to me over the past several months. To everyone who posts here and contributes to the dialogue, thank you. It really helps. 

    Disclaimer: I have done my research on this forum, and it seems that the community here has yet to reach a consensus on the topic. I speak with my recruiter often, but he does not always know the answers to my questions and often just assures me that everything will be taken care of at Cape May. I understand that this is the case, but for my family's sake, I would like to understand as much about the coming months as possible BEFORE I ship out and this crazy adventure begins.

    Background: I am a male in my mid-twenties and am currently in the DEP with a ship date scheduled within the next few weeks. I am married and have a daughter who will be one year old by the time I ship out. I live in the western part of the United States. 

    Context: I know that I will accrue five days of leave during my 8 weeks at Cape May and that I will begin to use these days on the Saturday after graduation (i.e. my five days of leave will cover the Sat.-Wed. after graduation). It is also my understanding that travel days are provided based on mode of transportation and distance to be traveled (i.e. flying equates to one travel day, and driving equates to one day per 350 miles). I have read on this forum and elsewhere that the distance used to calculate the total number of travel days for an unmarried Seaman driving to his or her first duty station is based on the distance between Cape May and that duty station. However, there seems to be some disagreement as to whether or not the same rule applies married persons. Some are saying that if you are married, the mileage is calculated based on your home of record (i.e. where your wife and child are). 

    Question #1: Can anyone clarify whether the distance to a Seaman's first assignment (and, thus, the number of allotted travel days) is calculated from Cape May or from his or her home of record? I imagine it would be difficult for a single person living in the western states to relocate to an east coast duty station in the allotted five days of leave. I can only assume that it would even more difficult to move a family (especially a baby) across country in that amount of time, and I wouldn't want to leave my wife to make the drive without me.

    Question #2: I understand if you choose to drive to your first duty station, you cannot fly there and treat the travel days as extra leave. However, if I choose to drive to my first duty station, I will have to first fly back home to pick up my family and my vehicle. How does this work? Will I have to purchase my own ticket home? Would this be considered an abuse of travel days as I would have given myself a head start, so to speak? Alternatively, would the CG compensate for this by allowing me one day to fly home to collect my family and my vehicle and then calculate the additional travel days based on the distance between my home of record and my new duty station?

    I apologize for the wordiness of this post. However, there is sometimes a tendency in this forum to dismiss questions, telling the OP (sometimes in unfriendly language) to "figure it out" because "I'm not going to give you all of the answers", or simply to ask his or her recruiter. I have already been dismissed, to a certain extent, by my recruiter. As I said, I know that everything will work out and that I will understand it all when I get to Cape May. However, I want myself and my wife to be as prepared as possible. If anyone has been in a similar situation to my own (it seems like there would be a bunch of you, but I have no idea), please chime in! Any information will be greatly appreciated.
    BellsUser is Offline
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    Bells

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    10 May 2016 07:28 PM
    A YN is definitely going to know the answer, I've not come across this answer in the manuals.

    I would think that since your family is on your orders, they'll get the travel time and money from the home of record to the first unit.

    What I would assume, is that if you want to drive, you will get the travel time and money to do so, but not the extra day or money for the flight back home. But you MIGHT get dislocation allowance, (DLA), but I just can't remember if recruits get it out if Cape May, you'll definitely get it every move after that.

    It wouldn't be an abuse of travel days, you are using your 5 days of leave, and then the amount of travel days to get home and get your family where you need to go. From Cape May to Seattle, it's 9 days. How they work it, is they'll give you the money upfront, MALT and per diem for food and lodging, and then you'll just save your gas receipts, food, and hotel receipts. You won't exactly be turning these in, but they are just good to have in case you get audited. Just keep everything in a folder.

    So this "driving across country" money is given as an advance, and then you and your family will need to map out a route with budgety type hotels to stay at, and just be conscious of what you are spending. If you are budgety you can make money in the end.

    Another aspect of this is moving your stuff. With a baby I would just get it shipped, I wouldn't really mess around with a uhaul and the stress of that with the baby. Just bring some basic baby stuff, and anything else you'll need for at least a month and let the movers deal with the rest.

    I know it's hard not to think about it, and you can try researching the JTR for some answers, but the Cape May Administration staff is going to know the answers. When you sit down with them, just tell them you want the travel money in advance, and your DLA in advance if they give it to recruits.

    That way you'll at least have a cushion.

    If they do pay for your flight, it's going to be out of the central billing account since you don't have a government travel card yet. If you have to buy it on your own, just have them tell you what time you should make it, after having to get to the airport from the bus and stuff, and have your wife buy the cheapest ticket she can find. (with the airline, so that if you get held back or anything you'll at least get a credit, where as if you use kayak or Expedia or something, they might not give you a credit.)

    I wish I could be more help
    Take what you like and leave the rest behind.
    m1ashooterUser is Offline
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    m1ashooter

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    10 May 2016 09:30 PM
    I can't answer your questions but I can give you my experience of driving very long distances with a baby. A fold up play pen is a great thing to have to put the baby down for sleep and naps. Good luck at Boot Camp.
    MEcoastie89User is Offline
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    MEcoastie89

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    11 May 2016 10:12 AM
    Not sure about question 2, but for your first one they calculate travel days for everyone (married or not) based on the distance from cape may to your new duty station. I had to drive 800+ miles in one day since my first unit was close to cape may and my home of record was not. I could have started driving on my last day of leave but chose not too
    SuitcaseUser is Offline
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    Suitcase

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    11 May 2016 10:31 AM
    Thanks, everyone, for the responses! It doesn't necessarily make sense to me, but at least now my wife and I can better know what to expect this summer.
    MEcoastie89User is Offline
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    11 May 2016 11:32 AM
    They will have classes during boot camp that go over all your options and have yeomen to answer specific questions you may have.
    Rich32User is Offline
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    Rich32

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    11 May 2016 01:04 PM
    great post! i look forward to seeing more comments!
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