We have orders.

For my civilian friends: This is a momentous occasion. “Orders” are the paperwork that are issued for any military move – be it a transfer to another duty station, deployment to a war zone or leaving the service. They are the golden ticket that lets us set our pack-out dates with the moving company and buy plane tickets, among other details.

Everyone in the military is used to the anticipation for orders. Once we know we are moving, we anxiously await the orders to confirm where and when we are going. We rejoice when they arrive. We email family and friends and announce it on Facebook. We celebrate that our next step is finally certain, often after months of waiting for confirmation.

Orders make it real.

And this, my friends, is very, very real.

This set of orders means retirement is happening, and happening soon. There’s no turning back now.

Orders are usually three or four pages and include the names of the spouse and children, plus all kinds of military gobbledygook, dictating where the money comes from for your move, whether you are authorized to ship a car, the date you must report to your next duty station, etc., etc.

Most of it is meaningless to anyone other than those who process the paperwork.

This set of orders, though, gets right to the point with these words at the bottom of the first page:

“The people of the United States express their thanks and gratitude for your faithful service. Your contributions to the defense of the United Sates of America are greatly appreciated. You are released from active duty and, on the date following (01 December 2016), placed on the retired list.”


4 thoughts on “It’s really real now

  1. Congratulations on orders! We just received our RFO to head your way. Simultaneously excited and boggled by logistics. I can only imagine that’s doubled in your case!

    1. Anne – are you coming to Stuttgart? Let me know if I can be of any help. Happy to answer any questions here or via email if you’d prefer!

      1. Yes, email, please! We have a few other friends who are there, but I have a few questions for you, too. You have mine. At your leisure between looking at trailer floor plans 😉
        (confession: I’m doing the same between post and bookoo. OCD real estate checks. At first it was just at night when V was TDY. Now it’s … Yeah, more often. I assuage my guilt by telling myself we have to know what to store and what to pack. I think it’s a natural way for Army wives to figure out what lies ahead!)

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