Air Force Capt. Brenna Dicks is scheduled to PCS on Nov. 8 from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. But PCS orders for her husband, Capt. Larry Dicks, are delayed by the shutdown. (Courtesy of Capt. Brenna Dicks)
The government shutdown came right in the midst of one Air Force couple’s permanent change of station move — and could mean a longer separation than they expected.
While Capt. Brenna Dicks, a B-52 radar navigator, is preparing for her final day at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on Nov. 8, her husband, intelligence officer Capt. Larry Dicks, is arranging to stay there and couch-surf.
The Dickses were informally told a few months ago that they would be moving from Minot to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Brenna’s official PCS orders came through about a month ago — before fiscal 2013 funds ran out and the government shut down.
But Larry’s orders haven’t come through yet. And that means his PCS can’t move forward until the budget stalemate is resolved. The shutdown put all PCS moves for which orders were not issued by Oct. 1 on ice, although PCSes that were underway before Oct. 1 are continuing.
Larry initially was supposed to move Dec. 2. That would have meant three weeks apart, Brenna said, during which time she would start getting the new house in Louisiana set up, and Larry would stay with a friend at Minot.
Now, however, the Dickses have no idea how long Larry will be couch-surfing. Brenna said they haven’t gotten much more information besides PCS orders are on hold.
“He is stuck for another Minot winter, perhaps,” Brenna said. “We don’t know how this will affect his [PCS] date if it keeps going. Will it move back two weeks? Will it delay it a month? It’s kind of a waiting game right now.”
Brenna said she feels fortunate that her orders came through when they did, because the Dickses had already begun to sell their home. If both their orders had been put on hold, she said, the military wouldn’t pick up their household goods and they couldn’t close on the sale of their home Oct. 15.
“If I hadn’t gotten my orders, we would be in a pickle,” Brenna said in an Oct. 14 phone interview, as the Dickses packed up their home.
Brenna said she and Larry feel fortunate that they’ll eventually end up at the same base. And they are used to military separations.
“You have to be very flexible, as a military couple,” Brenna said. “We’ll figure out this challenge as well.”
Friends at Minot are looking out for Larry, she said, although he may have to move from one friend’s place to another to avoid wearing out his welcome anywhere.
“No one’s going to leave you homeless,” Brenna said. “We have a lot of good people we’re working with, willing to help us out.”
The Air Force said it did not know how many airmen’s PCS orders are on hold because of the shutdown, now in its third week.