Welp, it’s official. Orders are in hand (finally).
The Buchorn’s are headed back to Texas this fall and we are thrilled! Texas is “home” and we all LOVE San Antonio.
And yes, before you ask, we’ve only been here for a little over a year.
If you ‘ve been following me for very long, you know that in January, Jacey was officially diagnosed with Wilson Disease. This has proven to be a challenge in this area. Quality medical care is hard to come by and several of the specialists that she needs are more than 150+ miles away. The military has already paid for us to fly to San Antonio three times this year to see specialists and while that is all fine and dandy, it is not ideal. We don’t have these specialists within easy access for urgent needs and each trip is 3+ days of missed school. I’m really surprised that we didn’t get nastygrams from the attendance office last year over the amount of school she missed due to appointments.
So, after lots of family discussions, we decided to file an EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) Reassignment. In the military, the EFMP Program (both Jacey and I are enrolled) is a program that military families with special medical or educational needs are enrolled in. It basically codes the military member’s file so that when it comes time for orders, appropriate consideration is given to meet those needs. The program is not without flaws, but that is what the intention is. It failed us with this Holloman AFB assignment because it does not take into consideration chasing down a diagnosis (what we were doing when we got orders to NM), but only official diagnoses. Well, the reassignment request is basically a request to move to a base where the needs can be met if they are not currently being met. There are TONS of requirements and medical justification needed to even apply for the program, in addition to commander approval. After tracking all of that down from 8 different specialists between J and I, we were ready to apply. On June 21st, the package was officially submitted. Bryan is in a very small career field and while they can ask you to cross-train to get EFMP Reassignment, we knew that being this close to retirement, that wasn’t ideal. We submitted the package without checking the “willing to cross-train” box and figured we would take our chances (Bryan’s commander also supported that decision in his recommendation letter). On your application, you get one base “request”. We had already done extensive research and knew that there were only 2 bases that could support us easily and 1 more as a maybe. We chose JBSA Randolph in San Antonio, because Jacey already has 3 specialists there that are amazing and my oncologist from here at William Beaumont/Fort Bliss, whom I love, had recently PCS’ed there, so I would get continuity of care as well.
Of course, the logical choice could not be what the Air Force does. Pretty quickly, we got approval for the reassignment and a RIP for Creech AFB (Las Vegas, where we lived previously) came down. Uhhh, having been there, we knew they could not support us (even if on a personal level and career level, it would have been great). One of our needs is a Wilson Disease Center of Excellence and the closest one to Vegas is in Los Angeles. Bryan immediately got on the phone to the Nellis AFB EFMP Office to find out how they approved us. Imagine this, they didn’t actually READ the packet and only read the specialist sheet that simply has checkboxes. Sure, Vegas has the specialties we need, but NOT the level of need. Sorry, sir, we will get those orders canceled. Back to the drawing board. So, we wait. And wait some more. Finally, on August 22nd, I get this…
Our original RNLTD (report no later than date) was 30 September. We requested to delay it until 30 November, so we could take care of all the specialist appointments that are already on the books and move Jacey during Thanksgiving break. Thankfully that was approved.
As life would have it in the Air Force, it can’t all be smooth. It took FOREVER for our orders to drop, one hiccup after another. They FINALLY dropped Friday, so now we can actually go to TMO this week and get our movers scheduled. In addition to the already craziness of a short(er) notice PCS and our day to day life, they then decided to send Bryan TDY for 30 days in the middle of it. He will get back to New Mexico 2 days before Jacey and I “plan” drive out. Originally, our plan was for us all to leave the same day, but the TDY definitely put a kink in that. Bryan will have to stay for a couple of days to finish all the out-processing I can’t do with a POA and handle his final out. Oh, and guess where they are sending him TDY. Yep, you guessed it. San Antonio. Air Force logic. Sigh. We are trying to count the TDY as a blessing since it means he can house hunt while he is there, but it still sucks. I handled our entire PCS from Florida to Nevada because Bryan was TDY and I swore I wasn’t going to do it again. I guess Uncle Sam had one last parting shot for me before retirement. LOL!
The plan as of now is for Jacey and I to arrive before Thanksgiving. Bryan may arrive before Thanksgiving. but it may also be a couple of days after. It all depends on how many more kinks get thrown into the ever-changing plan!
Just pray for my sanity, please. I’m going to need it. :-)