Moving to Hawaii! HELP ME!

Iris - posted on 04/19/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My husband is graduating AIT this week and has recently found out that we're moving to Hawaii. I am so excited!



My main concern right now is not schools or where we're going to live. We really don't have much control over housing until we get there and my daughter won't be going to school for 3 years and by then we may be living somewhere else. This will be our first move so we are completely clueless when it comes to, well, EVERYTHING!



My husband has been trying to get a hold of someone from his unit at Wheeler Army Airforce Base. His MOS is 15U (he works on chinook helicopters). Every number he's tried calling either just keeps ringing or no one answers. He really wants to get a hold of his 1st Sergeant so he can get the ball rolling for our move over there but we've had no luck so far. The clock is ticking!



Is there anyone out there who might be able to help us or provide us with ANY pertinent advise for our move?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

C. - posted on 04/22/2010

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Hahaha.. Iris, Keep on them about your Command Sponsorship (aka COLA).. We were there for NINE WHOLE MONTHS before my husband deployed and didn't see a penny of our COLA. We were struggling paycheck to paycheck. We are still struggling paycheck to paycheck. The Army STILL has not paid us ANY back-pay and my husband left the beginning of Sep. '09.. And yes, he TRIED.. He could only do so much, as the Commander that was there at the time was not the Commander that made his NCOs let my husband take leave to come and get us. The first Commander was very family oriented. The second Commander didn't see how we didn't have any money, even though we had LOTS of baby items to buy (our son was 5 months when we went out there), which are very expensive when you cannot get them on base.



@Tamara J.. They only let you use the items from the "lending closet" for one month and them you have to return them. It also took us almost 2 months for our items to arrive, even though we were promised one month on the paper my husband signed. Thankfully, my husband had some great people in his Unit that gave us a table and chairs and my husband was able to find a bedroom set and living room set for real cheap b/c someone that lived close to us was moving back to FL and couldn't take it with them (my husband only went with the intent of getting the bedroom set, but they asked him if he wanted to living room set, too).. But other than that, we literally had nothing until our furniture arrived.

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Jeska - posted on 05/03/2010

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oh, i also forgot to mention that we are 6 hours behind you currently! that's from the east coast for anyone else who would like to know.

Jeska - posted on 05/03/2010

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Hey! I'm here in Oahu and have been here for over a year and a half. I had no problems with plan tickets or getting our stuff(&cars) shipped over here. However, the cars took about a month and our household goods took about 6 weeks. So the sooner you can send out your household goods the quicker you'll have them when you get here! Yes, the cost of living is more expensive here but you will have no problems really as long as you stick around the commissary, nex/pex, and military gas stations. If you can't get to the commissary, Foodland is your best choice to go to for groceries next. You'll want to get their little membership card and then you'll be good to go. As someone mentioned above, don't be too prideful to get WIC if you need it. That's what its there for and it will help a lot too. As for flights with a kid I would say bring tons of stuff for them to do and/or benadryl if necessary! lol Coming from the east coast it starts at around 11 hours, however I like connection flights because its nice to get out and stretch for a little while versus an almost direct flight. I'm not sure if you have the power to decide on a connection or not though. All in all, I love hawaii and if I could stay here forever I would! If you need anything before you get here or now just let me know! You can find me on fb and ask me anything! Its easier to know people before you get here! I also just start a group too call Oahu Military Mommies and you're welcome to join that as well and ask all of us plenty of questions that are already here. Good luck with your move! :)

Cassie - posted on 05/01/2010

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Hi, I am also here in Hawaii. We just moved here last month. And everything when great, we didn't have a sponsor though. We rent a car online, and picked it up at the airport. If you guys know your base, and all your papers are done, then there is no need to call them. Just get your ticket's and come, then you will deal with everything else when you get here. Like looking for a house on base, or off base. And you have to call their lodging, to reserve a place. When you get here that's when you go he goes to his shop, then housing office, and other places that he needs to in process.

C. - posted on 04/28/2010

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Whether you struggle or "bank a lot of money" also depends on what rank, whether or not your Command Sponsorship is being paid to you and whether you know how to find a good deal at a store. The local stores are more expensive than the Commissaries, regardless of their "military discounts" (we didn't find them much of a discount when we were there). You're better off going on-base. It's cheaper on-base and I have found that the produce is a little bit better on-base (a little, not a lot.. In our experience out in HI, unless you go to a produce stand, the produce will most-likely either be too ripe/going bad (we rarely bought fruit anywhere due to so much of it being moldy.. and that was on- AND off-base) or not ripe at all). And yes, coupons help.. But coming from an avid coupon clipper, w/o the COLA, WIC and depending on your husband's rank you can still be struggling.. So make sure you keep on them about the Command Sponsorship. Oh.. And not to mention the gas prices.. When we were out there, gas was almost twice as much as it was back home.. All the more reason to keep bringing up the COLA.

Tamara - posted on 04/27/2010

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If you shop local you can sometimes find a lot of great deals. Sign up for reward program at the local grocery stores (foodland, safeway, starmarket). Many places do offer military discounts as well. Hawaii can be expensive but Some people will either struggles or end up banking alot of money while stationed there. Wic is a good program too if you need it. Clip coupons too. =)



If you need anything just let me know.. I have more links on all things Hawaii. =)

C. - posted on 04/26/2010

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@Iris.. Yes, you definitely don't want to be scraping by in Hawaii of all places. It's just too expensive. One thing that did help us a little bit, was getting our son on WIC. That did help a little, but when we were there, they didn't have pureed baby food on the vouchers. We were told they would be getting them on there in October '09, so I'm sure they have them now if you need those. But if your daughter is old enough to eat other foods, you should be good. Our son was only on WIC a month and a half after his first birthday, so we didn't get the full benefit of the WIC vouchers on regular foods. Good luck! Let me know if you need anything else!

Iris - posted on 04/26/2010

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I just want to thank everyone who has taken the time to respond to my inquiries and especially those who've responded more than once! This is all new and exciting but I don't want to let my lack of knowledge and information put my family in a tough spot, especially financially.



@Tamara, thank you SO MUCH for all of the information you provided! I've got a nice long list of phone numbers so that my husband and I can try to get a hold of someone in command at his unit.



@Amanda & Sarah, that is so refreshing to find people willing to go out of their way to help a total stranger. I appreciate it VERY much! I know as time goes on I will have more questions so I will definitely be bothering you guys (and when I say "bothering" I will be doing my best to try NOT to bother you I promise)!



@Christina, I would be LIVID if the army didn't reimburse me like they were supposed to. I can't believe you and your son are still not on your husband's orders. That's just ridiculous! I will be sure to be on my husband's tail to stay on the ball so that we can try to avoid situations like the ones you've been in. I hope we get our COLA and TLE and all of that good stuff because otherwise we are screwed! We definitely can't afford Hawaii without help from our government!

C. - posted on 04/26/2010

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@Iris.. It's fairly common, unfortunately. Well, my son and I were supposed to be placed on my hubby's orders, too when we got our physicals done. They never put our names on there and almost 5 months after I gave birth, my husband was finally able to come home and fly back with us (I have Erb's Palsy in my left arm, so certain things are impossible to do). Even after we got to HI, they never fixed the paperwork.. It's still in Limbo as far as I know.. They keep telling my husband that they keep "losing it". But maybe that's b/c my husband went to his Commander (this was the first Commander he had in HI, which is more family oriented than the one he has now) and his Commander made the NCOs let my husband take 2 weeks leave time (my hubby had to pay for both of our tickets out of pocket ad they never once paid us back and it's been a year and a half already) to come out to SC b/c he had never even met our son, all b/c they "lost" our paperwork 4 times.. And then after we got there, they lost it another 6 times, just about.. Just be sure to keep on their tails about it and if your husband needs to, he may have to go to his Commander, or he may even have to go higher, unfortunately. But keep on them about it, b/c if you do what my husband did (give them a few weeks and THEN ask them about it b/c he's a little too trusting) they will most likely lose all your paperwork and then you'll have to get everything faxed over again and go through that whole mess.. Again.



Handling the time difference.. Let's see here.. My son was 5 months when we arrived in HI. It was difficult the first week or so with him being on a totally different schedule and me being sick (I was the lucky one that caught a stomach virus, but I'm sure that was from my niece b/c we had seen her the day before we left.. It just took a day and a half for me to have to throw up- Thank God). We were on the east coast, so I ended up getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning for the first week and a half. But just gradually go to bed a little later so you can start getting up a little later, if you don't need to get up that early, and gradually shift your daughter's meal times. Everything should be alright. Good luck!





@Donna, though I love how encouraging you are to Iris (no really, I do. It's a breath of fresh air knowing that one person I have heard of had a decent experience). I am all for the military. Both my husband and I come from military families (parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins..) But one thing I do know is the difference between branches. And the Army is not good with keeping up with one's paperwork. So while I love to hear of the good experiences (yours is pretty much the only one that I've heard about this so far, maybe the second- but that's about it), newbies also need to be warned about what COULD happen so they know what to do if they ever find themselves in our previous situations. I am sure that I am not the only one that would like for someone to learn from my experience instead of going down the same path we did. That's why there are so many people on here trying to help her, as negative as it may seem to you, we just don't want her to go through the same crap that the Army put us through!

Donna - posted on 04/25/2010

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You will love it.. was there for 7 years...it is NOT over seas but it is considered overseas, you do not need physicals, shots or anything.. you can not get on the list for housing until you are on the island unless that has changed in the last few years..they will put you up in a hotel though..housing is fine, schools are fine.. I had 2 kids graduate from there..the military will help you with whatever you need help with dont worry..it will be a smooth move,, try not to listen to too much negativaty..cant say enough good about hawaii and our move there...Idid it with 4 kids..

Iris - posted on 04/25/2010

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Ok so my husband finished all of the paperwork before he left his AIT. It was tidious, time-consuming work but after a good bit of scanning and e-mailing he was able to get our physicals and medical history and turn them in to the EFMP coordinator. I have to have a tuberculosis test done before we go apparently but that's the only thing.



My husband now says that we have to wait on his EFMP stuff to get approved and come back so that my daughter & I can be added to his orders by name and it not just say his name + dependants. He said his new orders will be printable via his AKO account. Then we have to take his new orders to travel at Fort Stewart so that we can tickets for my daughter and myself (my husband already has his).



Chris (the hubby) also mentioned that he already scheduled for our furniture and such to get picked up and shipped out. What's this about paperwork getting messed up? Is this something we need to worry about AFTER we've already arrived in Hawaii? I really hope they don't mess up our paperwork! I can almost count on it though because when it comes to paperwork & the army we haven't had the best of luck. Is it me or is this common?



I know Hawaii is a big time difference. Does anyone have any advice for how to handle it with a little one?

C. - posted on 04/22/2010

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No, unfortunately you can't continue to use their services after a month is up. The rate of how many service men and women that get stationed in HI is so great, they won't allow you to b/c other people need it and they only have so much sets to offer people. That is one thing I am sure of.. My husband tried and they told him he couldn't. Pretty sure he would have much rather have used that than nothing while waiting several months for our stuff to get there (they didn't ship our stuff until after my son and I moved out there with my husband.. Which was several months AFTER my husband had already been stationed there).



@Iris.. Tamara mentioned a very important thing to remember.. The time difference. For our "Spring Forward", Hawaii is 6 hours behind EST. For our "Fall Back", Hawaii is 5 hours behind EST. They do not have DST out in HI.

Tamara - posted on 04/22/2010

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oh no know they only allow one month. But I think you can also have i don't remember what it's called when you have a few items sent head of your things. But I have met a lot people who had the hhg good get there with in a month. to it really depends on a lot of things.



To the OP. your husband can do it while he is outprocessing from AIT. He needs to be the one to set everything up. You getting command sponsorhsip can be done while in GA, don't wait til you get to Hawaii.



Remember if he is calling someone in Hawaii he has to take the time difference into consideration. like where I am at it's 1030 am here but 430am in Hawaii.

Tamara - posted on 04/22/2010

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It may be expensive you you also get cola since the cost of living is high. some places in Hawaii do give military discount as well. The army does have a lending closet for you to use until your items get here.

Melissa - posted on 04/22/2010

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Keep in mind it takes longer to get your things in Hawaii. I think it took close to 2 months for our items to arrive. Hawaii is great. I am currently on the marine base and the beaches are to die for! Also most things in Hawaii are more expensive such as eating out and big ticket items so plan for that shock. Hope you like it... the only thing i miss is not being able to take weekend road trips =)

Tamara - posted on 04/21/2010

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If you are near a military instation you may be able to go to transportation if you have a copy of your husband orders to get packed up and shipped out. the Army will pay for your ticket since you are moving. I think they will reimburse you if you move on your own. Your husband may not be able to talk to his new unit until he gets there. You all need to get things done before you leave to hawaii like setting up transportation and what not. Get your overseas clearnce done ASAP since his report date is approaching really FAST! We are no longer in Hawaii but I was born and raised there so if you need anything just let me know.



There are also more information and links about Hawaii at www.armyspousesonline.com.

C. - posted on 04/21/2010

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It's not just Arizona, Sarah.. I had to go to the Charleston AFB here in SC, and they messed our papers up, too.. We had to get them redone. Sorry.. Forgot to mention that earlier.. Probably would have been helpful to know. Anyway, it's b/c the Army and Air Force's overseas clearances are different, so they aren't exactly sure how to fill out the papers (at least that's what we were told almost 2 years ago.) So try to make the appointments soon just in case you have to go back another time, Iris. It can be, and probably will be, frustrating.. But you're not the only one going through it, so hang in there.. Everything will work out. Not entirely sure where the AMR housing is, but if I remember correctly, it's a good half an hour away from WAAF. We lived on Helemano, and it's 15 minutes away. Houses in Helemano are newly renovated old Officer's quarters. Schofield tore down all their old houses (the ones that were added after WWII) and put up brand new housing and Wheeler an Schofield are literally right next to each other. Their housing is really nice, too. The new houses on Schofield have central A/C. Helemano only had 3 A/C units (one per bedroom and one in the living room.. It got hot when cooking and showering). Mendonca Park, which is right outside the gate of Schofield, also has the A/C units. But, hopefully you'll have nice housing to choose from. If you have a chance to get Schofield, it may very well be worth it. Their gym is much nicer and they have daycare there- Unlike the gym at Helemano. Anyway, sorry.. This is what I get for staying up.. I keep talking/writing! Good luck :)

Sarah - posted on 04/20/2010

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sorry i said airforce lol.oops my mistake i should reread what i write.but it seems like you got all the right info i had to do all that where are you coming from...if arizona be carefull with the airforce when they do your paper work they messed up on mine and i had to do it all over it sucked.

Sarah - posted on 04/20/2010

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ok here i live in amr..army housing in hawaii i have a 3 month old.we are not airforce but army but maybe my husband can help.and when you get out here you might want to look into amr they have brand new homes that are great.and we are kinda close to where your husband works but i have been out her for year now and i know how it feels to move around.

C. - posted on 04/20/2010

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(See above comment, too, please) Oh, and you and your child(ren) are going to need to get physicals done and get the overseas clearance paperwork signed and faxed asap. I know it's part of the US, but they still consider it overseas.

C. - posted on 04/20/2010

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My husband was working at Wheeler Army Air Field.. He's deployed now, but we're moving back there when he comes back in September. Try calling the base operator (the operator is actually ON Schofield, but they have numbers for Wheeler as well- they are right next to each other, after all) and see if they can give you a different number than what you have. If I remember correctly, the number is 808-449-7110 for the operator. If it's not, let me know and I'll look in my phone (don't have it on me at the moment).

Iris - posted on 04/20/2010

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My husband's report date is actually his birthday, May 13th. We are hoping that I can go with him as soon as he leaves for Hawaii but I don't know how this all works so I don't know if I'll get to or if I have to wait here in GA for awhile and then meet him in Hawaii.



Does anyone know how I would go about helping him get in contact with someone in his unit? He said the numbers he was given either keep ringing with no answer machine or he's left messages but hasn't been called back and no one answers when he calls. I don't know. I know since these are his last couple of days at AIT he is super busy and has a lot he's trying to get done - like outprocessing - so that he can come home to our daughter & I as soon as possible.

Amanda - posted on 04/20/2010

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Stay on them! If they say they will call you back, CALL THEM back! Its rough, but you can do it! Have your hubby ask around at work! When are you going to be on island? I am currently on Schofield with my hubby and son so if you need anything....

Dr. Virginia - posted on 04/20/2010

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I friend of mine is leaving for Hawaii in July with her husband. They have lived there before while he was stationed there and loved it. Try reaching her on Facebook. Her name is Stephanie Cross-Hughes. Hope this helps!

Tamara - posted on 04/20/2010

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First you and your child will need to be command sponsored since Hawaii is an overseas duty station. Command Sponsorship is just informing the Army of your dependents. He or you could fill out the DA Form 2083-R.



get your EFMP screening done (even if you do not need it) It's used to make sure they have programs to to cater to your needds.. Identifies family members with special medical and/or educational needs,

-Documents the services they require

-Considers those needs during the personnel assignment process (especially when approving family members for accompanied travel to overseas locations).

-Involves the personnel and medical commands and the Department of Defense educational system overseas.



The Army Will only ship one POV so if yo have or want your second car shipped you can check these sites for quotes:

www.shipmyvehicle.com

www.a1autotransport.com

www.matson.com



This site has more info on shipping you car: http://www.sddc.army.mil/sddc/Content/Pu...



We sent our car a head of time like 30 days prior to moving just so we will have a car when we got there.



For housing you can check this out: http://www.armyhawaiifamilyhousing.com/

North Regional Office (you can contact them to be put on the list)

Serving Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Helemano Military Reservation

215 Duck Road, Building 950

Schofield Barracks, HI 96857

Hours of Operation:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday l 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday l 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Telephone: 877-487-4323

Facsimile: 808-275-3729



Hotels: If you all know when you will be getting there make sure you book a hotel:

Inn At Schofield

http://www.innatschofield.com/



Make sure you have all of your medical records for both you and your child. the same goes for dental. It makes it so much easier.



If you need anything else just ask.=)

Larissa - posted on 04/19/2010

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Congrats on the orders to HI! We just moved from there. My husband is in the Navy, so things will probably be a little different for you Army folks.



Your husband should be assigned a sponsor who will help you with the move and any questions you have. You can request a welcome packet by emailing acs@mwrarmyhawaii.com. The welcome packet is VERY useful! This link has a LOT of information for incoming Army personnel: http://www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/site...



I would try calling those numbers again when it's early on hawaiian time. The lifestyle there is very laidback, and the only way I got anything done was to do it in the morning- afternoons can be ghost towns because no one wants to work when they live in such a beautiful place!



From experience, here are a few things about military moves to the island. Shipping pets can be complicated, so if you have any, you should read up on the requirements. The Tripler Army Medical Center is fantastic, although if you are just getting a prescription or something like that, use the medical clinics because the hospital can get very busy and crowded. And take advantage of every military benefit possible, like the exchanges, commissaries, MWR, etc.



Housing is always the big question when it comes to moving to Oahu. We lived in base housing that was pretty new, and we loved it. If you can get a nice place in a military neighborhood, I suggest that. You'd probably get a smaller place out in town for the same BAH! If you decide to live out in town, keep in mind that H1 (one of the main highways) can be very congested, and in my own opinion, full of people that can't drive. :P



I hope those links help a bit! Good luck with the move!

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