Command Sponsorship: noun k?-?mand ?spän(t)-s?r: When a Soldier receives assignment orders to move overseas, he or she will receive orders which are either Accompanied (with dependents) or Unaccompanied (without dependents). Family members must be Command Sponsored to be eligible for a fully funded move overseas. The Soldiers new command must approve Command Sponsorship. http://www.2cr.army.mil
Just about four months ago my entire life plan changed. For someone who is a very much a planner, you can perceive that some stress has been experienced in the proceeding months.
So, what happened you ask? It was not one single event but a series of events that have brought me to where I am today. The first event was that the love of my life asked me to marry him. This was not a stressful event, this was a very welcome and relieved event. (It had been almost a year of talking in circles about getting married- me ready and him not so sure).
The next event was really the game changer. See, we had planned to wait to get married until my current employment contract ended in June of 2015 and then I would join him at whatever his next assignment would be. (We were already aware that he would be PCSing in October of 2014 since his request to extend his current assignment got denied).
BUT (as I am quickly learning) the military had other plans for my future husband. Only a few weeks after our engagement, we found out his next assignment would be a special duty assignment to Hawaii. To say we were thrilled would be an understatement…We were literallly shaking with joy and excitment (and I was dreaming of all the cute sandals I would have an excuse to buy again after living in Europe for nearly 4 years).
Once the hype of the new assignment died down we started to face the reality of putting about a 12 hour time difference and half the world between us for as long as a year. But we mostly shrugged it off because in the nearly three years we’ve been together we’ve already faced several obstacles: Living in different cities the entire relationship, a deployment, and me getting laid off and having to move to another country for work. We are master communicators and we have a strong relationship. We knew it would be a challenge but in order to support both of our careers this separation seemed like the best option.
It wasn’t until a friend of ours mentioned something about his new orders needing to reflect me as a dependent and issues with command sponsorship (a term I have now come to despise) did we start to get concerned.
This is where the real problems start to come in to play:
We were initially told that his orders needed to be cut reflecting him having a dependent.
Okay, easy answer, push the wedding up by 14 months (this was not exactly easy but we did it fairly painlessly and quickly)
Next we were told that if I did not report with him we would have to file for separation pay since I would not be coming with him
If we waited to get married until our original date of Oct. 2015, I might not be eligible for certain benefits and (here’s that word again) I may not get command sponsored until our assignment after Hawai’i (at least 3 years from now).
Then we found out that even with our wedding now happening this August we still might not be able to put me on his orders and several other things which at this moment I can’t remember all the details but resulted in us making two major decisions:
I broke my contract with my employer, leaving at the end of this school year instead of next year
Traveling to Denmark to “elope” in April so that we could start all needed paperwork with enough time for the military to process everything.
Along the way we kept hearing the term “Command Sponsorship” get thrown all around.
“She has to be command sponsored in Germany in order for your orders to Hawaii to reflect your dependent”,
“Whatever you do, DO NOT command sponsor her in Germany or you will loose your special duty assignment and have to stay in Germany another year (there is so much irony in this statement, it’s ridiculous- since the extension to stay in Germany being denied was what started the whole special duty assignment process anyways)”
“You won’t get TMO, TLA, BAQ, COLA, ABC, blah, blah, blah…without command sponsorship”
“Well this is USAFE and they do things differently at PACAF, I’m not sure that how it works there, ask your sponsor (A different use of the word sponsor but makes things very confusing in my “new to military terms” head).”
“Oh wait, you want to keep your assignment to Hawaii? Oh yeah, don’t command sponsor her here”
So that brings us to today, it is April 24th, I have been legally married for a little over 48 hours and pretty much everything we have been told up to this point doesn’t make any sense. We spent almost 8 hours on base doing what we can to get me “into the system.” And once again we having that frustrating term thrown in our face.
As far as we stand now this is what we think might happen:
I will not be command sponsored in Germany
We will need to do sponsorship once he is in Hawaii
The government may not pay to fly me to Hawaii, so we would have to pay out of pocket
Our TLA would only be for a single non-dependent (meaning we also have to pay for accommodations for me)
If we do get a flight for me, I will have to come from my “point of origin” which means I have to fly myself from Germany back to America
BUT, if I get a flight I might also get a TLO (second shipment of my belongings that bave been in storage for almost 4 years-YAY!- and also possibly our dog).
So whenever we do finally get to paradise we hope to be able to kick off our shoes, dig our feet into the sand and breath in the sweet and salty air of starting our new life together. –M.W.