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getting married and going through flight school


New Member
Hi. I'm currently making my way through TBS, looking to get married and I have some questions for the spouses. My girlfriend (soon to be engaged) is excited to come to Pensacola with me, but I have some questions regarding what it's going to be like for her as my fiancee. I don't want to have to rush things but I know the military doesn't recognize fiances, so I was thinking it might be better to get married sooner and do a bigger ceremony later.. Also, she is a full time English teacher, and she's going to do one more year of teaching after this up in CT, and then go down to Florida with me. What kind of work could I expect for her to find down there? Is there a chance she'll be able to continue teaching? I don't want her to have to sacrifice an entire career for me, but I know she's flexible. The other uncertainty that bothers me is moving around in between phases. If you are married is there anyway to lock down a location for a longer period of time? If you have any other advice I'd appreciate it. Thank you.


New Member
Not really my own experience, but my buddy got married just before he came down to pcola last year. His wife is also a teacher and was unfortunately unable to find a job. From what I understand the schools here are looking to cut back, not hire more. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I hope this helps.


Solidly part of the 42%.
I'm IN Pensacola and my wife IS a teacher. She isn't working right now. The counties here are actually closing whole schools. There are positions that open from time to time of course, but she's not going to waltz in and take a job the day you get here.

Locking down a location...When you get to MATSG-21 you get to write on a little card which primary location you want to go to. You don't even have to be married. All you have to do is choose Whiting Field. In 4 months I haven't seen anybody involuntarily go to a primary location they didn't want (to include Oklahoma). Want to lock it down even more, go helos after primary. Boom; API, primary, advanced all in one general location.

Oh yeah, and let me save everybody the time and give you the classic AirWarriors line even though you're not going to listen anyway: Don't get married until after your first major deployment. If it's meant to be she'll still be there even if you're not married. Search for manatee for amplification.


Self aware since 2014
Just get married when you are ready. Don't rush it because you want the benefits. Though if you just wanted the benes you should have gotten married before TBS. BAH in Quantico is almost 1500 bucks for a non-prior with 1 dependent.

What company are you in? (I'm a brown bagger in Delta)


Now with even more awesome!
I was in a similar situation. My wife has not been able to get a teaching job in 2 years, due to the timing of Flight school moves and the current economic situation. Some places she was able to get other jobs (making less $), some she was not.

We got a quickie courthouse wedding before coming to P'cola largely so that we could have all our junk PCS'ed down. Then, we had a big wedding with the fam about 2 months later. I recommend it, mainly because your real wedding will be just about you and you won't be worried about florists, caterers, picking up Aunt Edna from the airport, etc. Then, you have the big wedding and the pressure's off and you can just party.

Another recommendation: leave your gf where she is for as long as you can. It's a good preview for deployments to see if she can hack it, and she can make all that bank. I pitched it to my wife way back when and she wasn't too keen on the idea. I think her exact answer was "Like Hell!".

Just my thoughts on the situation. . .


A bit of bad news... a lot of wives out here are teachers and on the whole, most of them don't work. Some of them sub from time to time, but the Milton subs don't make more than about $60/day from what I hear. If she's willing to drive to Pensacola, she might make about $80/day, but it's hardly worth it. She could try to work for Kaplan (I did that), but the student pool is a bit scarce. The job market out here is terrible. This is the only reason I really recommend getting married first - health insurance is super hard to come by around here. I was lucky enough to get a job back in my field which was in clinical research up at the hospital, but it took me a few months and a lot of frustration. I only got the job because it's rare to find someone with experience in that field out here and they made room for me when they didn't really have any.

It's really going to depend a lot on your financial situation and her willingness to bite the bullet and take a back seat for a bit. I had a blast out here, but I kept busy and was one of the lucky few to find a good job with decent pay. There are a lot of really unhappy spouses here who stay home all day and pine after their husbands, then get upset when he finally comes home and has to study. Flight school is a lot of work and she has to be willing to stay out of your way quite a bit. Make sure she's ready for that before you move her all the way out here.


"I live vicariously through myself."
If you are sure you want to get married, I would recommend getting married as soon as you can. My fiance stayed up in Seattle while I was in API, then when I moved to Corpus for primary, she moved down here with me. We waited until after primary to get married up in Seattle. Looking back on it, I really wish we would have just gotten married in the courthouse before API and just had the big ceremony after primary. We would have made an extra 400 bucks a month plus she would have had healthcare (luckily she didn't need it). Up in Seattle she was making 21 bucks and hour and couldn't find a job paying over 10 down here for the same field. So, the raise in BAH would have helped offset that a little.


My wife and I got engaged while I was at TBS and she moved down to Pensacola with me. We were there for almost a year and she was fortunate enough to get her own third grade classroom in the Escambia district that year. We moved to Corpus the following summer and since we were only going to be there for 6 to 8 months, she took a job in the Flour Bluff district subbing. She was offered a full time job but didn't take it because she didn't want to leave the kids in the middle of the year. After advanced, I was able to take almost a month of leave and that's when we got married. Now that we're out in SoCal, it's been a little tougher for her. She's subbing at a private school and is still looking for a classroom job next year. Looks like the recession finally caught up with us in the peoples' republic of california.

As far as getting married in a hurry just to get BAH or health care, I would advise against it. I've seen plenty of guys over the years do the courthouse thing just for convenience and try to justify it with the financial benefits, but it usually doesn't end well. Have her come down to pensacola and see how you guys do living the military lifestyle for a while. The training command is obviously different than the fleet (no deployments or getting shot at), but flight school provides just enough stress to make things interesting and it's long enough for the novelty of military life to wear off.


Cobra Wife
If she has a job right now I would suggest she stay with her job. The recession is making teaching jobs impossible to get. In North Carolina there is a hiring freeze. Plus, all NC teachers took a pay cut and NC is in the process of raising the maximum number of students allowed per class in order to cut down on the number of teachers needed. If usmarinemike says they are closing whole schools in the Pensacola area, then that is really bad news.

I did not have a good job and moved down to Corpus with my husband (then fiancé). Like dexter's wife I did not want to leave a classroom of kids mid-year. So, I did subbing in Flour Bluff and worked in day care in Pensacola. We lived in Corpus for 7 months and Pensacola for 8 months. Now that we are stationed at New River for several years, I got a classroom job.

Wings before Rings is another standard motto. If she has benefits with her job now, then getting married for the benefits is not worth it, in my opinion.


Over to the dark side I go...
I would recommend either getting married ASAP or waiting to live together until after wings. If she moves with you as just a gf, she is giving up her career and family/friends for you without any security if things don't work out or something should happen to you. Not trying to be a downer but you know stuff happens. I did the long distance thing from OCS to wings with scattered long visits. For us, it was a good thing and really strengthed our ability to handle workups/cruise. I was once told to not make big decisions like this when in intense training like OCS (or TBS), as your head may not be in the best place. I tend to agree with this. Good luck with whatever you go with.


New Member
If she's already got a job with benefits, it's not necessary to hurry up and get married---especially, if she's not going to be moving in with you for over a year.

As far as teaching jobs go in the Milton (Santa Rosa County)/Pensacola (Escambia County) area, Santa Rosa County pays 5K more per year. Escambia County is the poorest county in FL, so that gives you a good idea of what their school district is like. Subbing in Escambia County pays $68/day, if you get a long term sub job it pays $136. Subbing in Santa Rosa County paid $72/day in 2007 (that's based on personal experience, I can't find their current rates). When I subbed in Santa Rosa County, I was lucky to work 2 days per week. Tutoring might be a good option for her as well because it can pay $20+/hr.

Good luck to the both of you.


Professional Javelin Catcher
Don't think I'd say Escambia is the poorest in FL - there's quite a few that are well down that line (some with unemployment in the 25% range). Escambia just might not pay teachers as much as some other counties do. Santa Rosa makes out better due to not having to support as much metro area (relative term) as Escambia does, plus there's oil/nat gas revenue coming in from the north end of the county.


Marriage Before or After OCS?

Hi all,

I posted this in Spouses Corner section, but it doesn't look like there's been too much activity over there, figure I'll get mroe views here...

I just pro-rec'ed yesterday for SNA, finally ready to start getting things underway. I know it's still a ways off for OCS and beyond that, flight school, but in other news I recently got engaged (it's been a big month for me haha). My question is regarding when to get married...already did a ton of searching on the site, but still have a question or two.

My fiance and I have been living together for a good while now, she comes from a military family (her father is currently an active duty Marine helo pilot) so she knows what military life entails and already has a support system to help her through deployments, etc. We've discussed marriage quite a bit and are dead serious and ready for it, and we are trying to figure out when to get married.

Assuming (always a gamble trying to figure out the Navy's timeline, I know) I class up in the fall, commission by end of year, we are thinking wait until Christmas holiday of next year to have a big wedding. This way I'll likely be done with API and Primary, and may be getting ready for Advanced or already in it. Over that holiday break, I've heard training typically suspends on federal holidays so it will be easier to set a date then. Of course, all is still subject to the needs of the Navy.

My real question is, if we're this serious and confident, would it be advisable to get married legally so she can start takign advantage of my benefits and we can earn BAH and separation while I'm in OCS? We were planning on legally marrying when I enter flight school anyway, so all things being equal, why not do it earlier? She is currently covered under her father's policy, has no job (going to grad school online so she can stay covered under her father's plan, and she's not tied to any particular location...also makes moving around with me easier once we're married and I'm in flight school). If we're married and I'm earning BAH and Separation pay while in OCS as an E5 with a dependant, she would live at home at her parents place while attending school online...basically we'd pocket the cash over the course of 2 1/2 months...possibly more if we decide to continue the arrangement when I go to API, since I won't really have much time for her then anyway. She understands all this and it makes sense on paper (she'd be one of the few spouses who "gets it" when it comes to Navy scheduling and training pipelines, etc). And again, we're talking some serious cash amounts...could go towards funding that big wedding or even just giving us some cushion.

At this point, I'm looking for reasons "why not" to do this. Again, this decision assumes she is compatible with military life and is good with everything from the outset, but would there be any drawbacks to marrying legally before OCS as opposed to directly after? I'm thinking process-wise, legal hurdles, administrative difficulties in getting a security clearance, etc. To that note, would it be advisable to legally marry after getting my final select, after my clearance goes through, etc? Any advice would be great, thanks in advance

Looking forward to serving,


Space Cadet
Without getting into the merits of marriage at this stage of your career, if you are dead set on marrying this girl, doing it before OCS would be a good idea money wise. You'll probably clear about $5k (if you really do live in NYC, double that) more than your single classmates. I know more than a few guys who did the shotgun marriage to get benefits for their soon to be spouses. And I'll be going to a wedding next month for a guy that got the justice of the peace wedding over OCS winter break and is doing the ceremony now. It's not uncommon.


Well-Known Member
Also with regards to location don't get too comfortable with your wishlist until it is final. My wife and I were newlyweds when I got to Pensacola and all of the previous gouge told me that married guys are a lock to stay at Whiting for primary so I put it #1 on my wishlist. I ended up going to Vance for primary and Corpus for advanced. We ended up having fun at each place but the point is, make sure your wife/fiance knows that everything is up in the air until you actually get orders and everything is based on the needs of the Navy/Marine Corps.