Sunday, April 18, 2010


We have been told, and it has been what we have witnessed, that most JAG's should expect to be deployed after their first 2 years. Deployments can be to Afganistan, Iraq, Germany, D.C., I'm sure even other places, but most are to Afganistan and Iraq. Plan on a 6 month deployment plus a few weeks of training before they officially head off for deployment. You do recieve a family seperation allowance during this time so you're pay will go up. Dependents can stay at the base or can go live with family/friends but the government will not pay to relocate you at that time. I know people that have left to go live with their parents to save money or to have help with their kids but I personally don't plan on moving when/if Top Gun gets deployed. I'll likely visit family but I have children in school and they move around enough as is being in the JAG.

Once the JAG arrives at his new base he is put in what they call a bucket. This is a 6 month time period where their name is put in a bucket. It essentially means that during that time period they are eligibale for deployment. So Top Gun was placed in the January-June bucket. Technically he could be told on the very last day of May that he is going to deploy and then he would be gone for 6 months. But once June comes we know he's "safe" until the next time he's placed in a bucket.

UPDATE: There are not just 2 buckets Jan-June and June-Dec. It can be any 6 months at a time. Top Gun just informed me that roughly JAG's are placed in a bucket once every 2 years.

Living On base verse Off base

You will receive a BAH, basic housing allowance. That dollar figure will be determined by base location, rank, year's of service, and whether the JAG has any dependents. With this allowance you can live off base and rent a house for less than your BAH and pocket the difference. Where as if you live on base the BAH goes directly to the housing office. So even though I live in roughly the same kind of home on base as the Major and Colonels do, whose BAH is likely $3000+ and our BAH is $1500+, the entire BAH is given to the housing people. Essentially if you live on base no matter rank, year's of service, etc. ALL of your BAH is forfeited.
As a JAG, Top Gun and I have never heard of you having to live on base when first starting out. If you stay in and you become a SJA (usually they're Colonels) then you are required to live on base.
The decision to live on or off base is completely up to you when first starting out. It'll depend on where you are stationed. We have chosen to live on base to start off so we could better get acclimated to the military lifestyle. I wouldn't have changed that decision. With that said, wherever we head next I plan on living off base b.c our BAH will be higher and we'll likely be able to afford a nice home and have some extra BAH left over.