Military families face many unique challenges and experiences, not least of which is having to move every few years. A military move is officially called a permanent change of station, colloquially called a “PCS.”
Anyone who has gone through the process more than once is intimately familiar with the unique experience. You know there are some cultural distinctions involved in having government contract movers pack up all your stuff, ship it across the country, and unpack it at your new place.
Here are 17 things you’ll only understand if you’ve PCS’ed multiple times:
You’ve lamented an impending move because you just finally memorized your current address.
You’ve contemplated signing yourself up for the television show “Hoarding: Buried Alive,”because you cannot fathom how you’ve managed to accumulate so much stuff since your last PCS.
You’ve congratulated yourself on your thrifty “scratch and dent” section furniture purchases because everything you own will inevitably be scratched and dented, so you might as well save a little cash up front.
You’ve wasted more almost full bottles of ketchup and ranch dressing than you care to admit.
You’ve dreamed about someday buying post-military “grown up” furniture.
You’ve found several of those colorful little moving stickers with the serial numbers still around from a previous PCS, and you’ve only bothered to remove them so they don’t confuse things with the current move.
You’ve spent at least one night sleeping in a nest of your least favorite blankets on the floor of an otherwise empty apartment.
You’ve requested an unpack at the destination, only to reconsider that decision after discovering mountains of wrinkled clothing on your bare mattress and the apparent aftermath of a hurricane on your kitchen counter.
You’ve opened a box at your new home to reveal a garbage can containing month-old trash. The movers are not joking about packing everything as-is.
You’ve discovered that your toilet plunger has been packed cleverly — unwrapped, snuggled in your fruit bowl.
Your favorite piece of furniture has arrived in splintered pieces and you’ve mused about the oh-so-luxurious replacement you’ll buy with that $30 reimbursement offer.
You own curtains in various lengths that you’d love to purge, but simply refuse, because they could totally fit perfectly at your next place.
You’ve unpacked the refrigerator manual from your last rented house. Oops.
At some point during a move as you're trying to get a question answered, you’ve wondered why it feels like you’re the first person ever in the history of the world to have PCS’ed.
You’ve rolled your eyes when someone says, “it’s so nice that they move you so you don’t have to do anything!”
You’ve looked forward to starting fresh at a new duty station, because regardless of the challenges, there will always be opportunities ahead.
NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.
The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.
Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.
Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018
How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."