Wanting to retire in an area that boasts lots to do in the outdoors, we thought Fort Knox Kentucky was that place. We were getting close to the end of our Army career but knew there was one more PCS to go thru. Well, DA dangled that olive branch that if I went to Korea for a year, I could most likely come back to Fort Knox (which was common back then). BOOM! Done deal! Do a year in Korea, come back to Fort Knox and drop our retirement paperwork. Exactly what we wanted, we loved the area, houses were pretty affordable, the hunting and fishing were great! Joy started to look for houses…………….
Since I was on the E-8 list, DA wanted me to attend the First Sergeant Course at Fort Bliss, Texas while enroute to Korea. Since we were basically living from paycheck to paycheck, I really needed those PCS orders in order to get an advance of my TDY enroute. When I finally got the orders, I could not believe what I was reading. TDY enroute to my next duty station, Korea, with a return PCS to Fort Riley, Kansas. WHAT!!!!! Not the plan! OK, easy, just submit DA 4187 to get it changed.
At the archery range on post, I was telling another guy who was also getting ready for archery season about where we were headed after Korea. He told me that I would love it at Fort Riley, that as far as outdoor opportunities, it actually was better than Knox. Well, I think I just said thanks for the info but I am going to get it changed.
Well, the first 4187 was not approved. While in Korea I think I submitted one every month to no avail. E-8s were desperately needed at Fort Riley. The house hunting stopped, looked like we were heading to Kansas.
The only thing that we knew about Kansas was what we had seen on the Wizard of Oz and a couple trips thru it on I-70. We decided to do a DITY move to make a little money. I drove the U-Haul towing the pickup, Joy drove the van towing the boat. Included in this convoy were 4 kids, the dog, the cat, the cockatiels, and the fish. We only broke down once!
We received transient housing in a place called Will Hall. When I signed in, since I had been in Korea for a year, we were bumped to the top of the housing list, only about a month to wait. This was when 1st ID HQ had been sent to Germany, so on Fort Riley there were two separate maneuver Brigades under different Divisions. And guess what……….? No one needed E-8s!! So, I was assigned as a staff guy at the G3 plans section until an E8 slot opened up on the hill. (The “Hill” refers to Custer Hill where all the combat units are located). In order to work at G3 plans, I had to be a battle staff graduate. So, I was slotted to attend the next Battle Staff Course at Fort Bliss, which turned out to be a couple of days before we received our on post housing. We had put all of our household goods in storage. The day before I departed to attend Battle Staff, we loaded up the U-haul to make it easier on Joy and the kids to move into the house. This is how I left them, new post, new area, new schools, new house, and a packed U-haul that they would unload by themselves…………….
That was 19 years ago, and we are still here! We love Kansas! Although I must admit that I was not real fond of Fort Riley while I was on active duty, I love it now! There is so much to do around here. Sure, you will put some mileage on your car, things are spread out a lot. Milford Lake is awesome, the hunting and fishing is incredible, the amount of public hunting areas is unmatched anywhere that I know of. Great shopping and eating places. Awesome people.
My next few blogs will focus on different things that we enjoy here in Kansas and how we do them.
So, if you stumbled upon this because you are on our website looking for a place to live because you will soon PCS to Fort Riley, don’t be sad, be HAPPY! Scott