Welcome To Army Life

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

“Welcome to Army Wife life! Here is a packet of information that will tell you everything you will ever need to know about being an Army Wife!” Do you wish someone had said that to you when you first started this journey? You’re not alone! Every day, all across America, women are wishing they knew where to turn to get that “packet” of information of all things Army. Unfortunately, no such packet exists, at least not in printed form. We’ve decided to become your personal Army Tour Guides! We are Wendy and LaTasha. So far, we have a combined 22 years worth of experience to share with you.

There are countless things that military spouses need to know, and understand, about the military, but where do you start? It all seems overwhelming at first, but you’ve found a really good place to begin! If you’re wondering what that acronym you heard means, or if you’re curious as to what benefits are available to you now that your spouse has enlisted, we have those answers, and more. So let’s get started, shall we?

MEPS and Training

Now that your spouse, or significant other, has signed up for the Army, you’re probably wondering what happens next. Well, that really depends on how far into the process your soon-to-be soldier is. We are going to assume that your soldier has made it through Medical Evaluation Processing Station (MEPS), and has reported to their Basic Training (BCT) unit, or One Station Unit Training ( OSUT) unit. It is at at this location that your soldier will receive the training he* needs in order to either proceed on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) or to their First Duty Station (FDS). If your soldier has enlisted with an Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 11B, or Infantryman, he will go to an OSUT unit. Instead of going through Basic Training and then AIT, your soldier will receive all of the training he needs at Fort Benning, Georgia in his OSUT unit. If your soldier has enlisted with any other MOS, he will graduate from BCT and go on to AIT.

For now, we are going to concentrate on what happens during BCT/OSUT. Once your soldier arrives at the base,he will be in-processed and be issued all of the equipment he needs during BCT/OSUT. This gear is called TA-50 and it will include uniforms, boots, undershirts, socks, underwear, their a ruck sack (which is essentially a very large backpack with numerous many pockets), sleeping bag, e-tool (a small compact shovel), and numerous other items. It will be the soldier’s responsibility to keep all of these items in good working order during BCT/OSUT. They will also be issued sheets, a pillow, and a blanket for use on their bunk.

Military I.D. and DEERS

During in-processing, the soldier will need to provide the Army with information on their marital status and will have the opportunity to enroll their spouse in Dependant Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Once you have been enrolled in DEERS, your soldier will send you a copy of the enrollment form which will allow you to visit the nearest military installation to obtain your ID card. This can be done at any military installation, whether it be, to include Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, or National Guard/Reserve stations. If you do not know where the nearest installation is, you can should contact your soldier’s recruiter.

Once you are enrolled in DEERS and have obtained your military ID card, you will automatically have access to TriCare. TriCare is the Army medical insurance. Your military ID card, and the last four digits of your soldier’s social security number, will serve as your insurance card. You will need both of these for each and every visit to your Primary Care Manager (PCM), especially if you will be seeing someone on a military installation. Without your ID card, which will contain your soldier’s social security number, you will not be seen.

Health Care: Tricare

As for TriCare, you will have the option to enroll in either TriCare Prime or TriCare Standard. With TriCare Prime, 100% of your medical expenses are covered, to include, prescriptions, if you are near a military installation and get your prescriptions there. If you choose to, or are not located close enough to a military installation, you can get your prescriptions filled at your local pharmacy (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, etc.) you will have to pay for a small co-pay of between $3 and $9 depending on the type of medication. You will receive a letter from TriCare stating who your PCM (Primary Care Manager) is, and will be allowed to see this individual for all of your medical needs, without a co-pay. Under TriCare Prime, if you require the services of a specialist, under TriCare Prime, you will be required to get a referral from your PCM, and an approval from TriCare in order for those visits to be covered. Emergency care can be obtained from any Emergency Room, but any visits to an Urgent Care Center must be pre-approved by TriCare. You must also notify your PCM within 24 hours of receiving treatment/care in your local Emergency Room.

TriCare Standard is the Army’s HMO, essentially. You can see whatever provider you wish to see, provided they take accept TriCare, but will be required to pay a co-pay for all visits. Prescriptions are still covered 100% if obtained on a military installation, or are subject to the same $3 -$9 co-pay if gotten filled at your local pharmacy. You can still receive emergency care from your local Emergency Room, and Urgent Care Clinic visits are subject to the same co-pays as your PCM.

If you are pregnant, or have a baby anytime after enrolling in TriCare, you will have 30 days to enroll the baby in DEERS. Even before this enrollment, however, the baby will be automatically enrolled in TriCare Prime. To change this, you will need to either call TriCare or visit the TriCare office on your local military installation. If you have not enrolled your infant in DEERS during the 30- day grace period, your child will be dropped from the TriCare program and no further visits will be paid for. If you are enrolled in TriCare Prime, the total cost for the birth of your child will be paid for by TriCare, to include c-section delivery. With TriCare Standard, there is a co-pay of up to $25 for c-section deliveries.

Vision care is covered under both Prime and Standard. You will be authorized one visit per year based on your last visit. If you see your optometrist in February, your next authorized visit will be February of the following year. Only the eye exam is covered. TriCare does not cover contact exams, nor do they cover contacts, eye glasses, or lenses. Most military installations have eye glass centers on them, providing you with a low cost alternative to retail stores in the your local communities.

Dental coverage is available, but is not included in TriCare. Dental insurance is provided through United Concordia, and is available at an additional cost per month. If you sign up for dental coverage before the 20th of the month, your coverage will begin on the first day of the following month. If you sign up after that date, your coverage will begin on the first day of the month the month after the month following your sign up. For instance, if you sign up by the 20th of July, your coverage will begin as of 1 August. If you sign up after that date, your coverage will not start until 1 September. The first month’s premium is due upon sign up, and can be paid by check, money order, or credit card/debit card. You can get information about what percentage of each procedure is covered as well as enroll online by visiting the http://www.tricaredentalprogram.com

Now that we have covered the basics of what to expect as far as what you should expect during BCT/OSUT, we should cover some of the acronyms and terms you’re likely to encounter during these early days and weeks of Army life. We’ve covered a few – , BCT, OSUT, MEPS, MOS, AIT, – but there are many more you should expect to hear not only now, but in over the course of your soldier’s career in the military, be it two years or twenty.

Army Acronyms

LES – Leave and Earnings Statement. These are essentially pay stubs for soldiers. They are available on the DFAS website, or through Finance. https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx

DFAS – Defense Finance and Accounting System. They are the department that processes all pay- related activity, from allotments to BAH and BAS entitlements.

BAH – Basic Allowance for Housing. This is the money afforded to married soldiers to help offset the cost of housing in the local economy. Or, if you live on a military base, this is the money that is taken out in an allotment and given to the company that owns and controls the housing you live in.

BAS – Basic Allowance for Sustenance. This is money afforded to married soldiers, or single soldiers who do not have meal cards, to help offset the cost of meals purchased on the local economy. This is not an entitlement for families, it is meant for the soldier to help pay for their breakfast, lunch and dinner, which they would otherwise be provided free of charge were they living in the barracks and issued a meal card.

Allotment – A set amount of money deducted from the soldier’s pay after taxes, but before the soldier is paid. Allotments can be set up for everything from U.S. Debts (repayment of AER loans, statements of charges for missing/broken equipment the soldier is required to pay for, etc.) to car payments, mortgage/rent payments, child support, etc.

AER – Army Emergency Relief. This is a service set up by the Army to help soldiers when emergency situations arise. The money must be applied for, and in most cases, repaid over the course of several payments (payment arrangements can be made for as little as one month to eighteen 18 months, depending on the amount loaned). AER also gives out scholarships to families of soldiers for continuing education.

MFLC – Military Family Life Consultants. These individuals are civilian counselors that are available to soldiers and their families at no charge. They do not keep records, and uphold all required confidentiality commitments of mental health counselors except in accordance with mandatory reporting procedures (abuse, neglect, etc).

DFAC – Dining Facility. Your soldier may refer to the DFAC he will eat in while in BCT/OSUT. Available meals range from omelets and cereal for breakfast, cold sandwiches or hamburgers for lunch, or baked chicken and salad for dinner.

FTX – Field Training Exercise. During BCT/OSUT, your soldier should participate in at least one FTX. During this exercise, they will typically conduct a road march, set up camp, and complete some sort of training mission.

APFT – Army Physical Fitness Test. These tests include a two mile run, two-minute timed pushups and two-minute timed sit ups. The age category of the soldier will depend on how long they have to accomplish each item. The Army standard is 170, however, most units expect soldiers to achieve a much higher score.

*We are assuming the “he”. We know there will be a few “she’s” in there as well.

No related posts.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by | Shop Online. | Thanks to , and | Disclaimer: Links on this site should be assumed to be affiliate links where the owner may profit if you click the link.