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A Navy Wife's Testimonial

Trisha wasn’t excited to learn that she and her husband had received orders to Guam. The two were coming from a three-year assignment in Japan and were now moving to another, even more isolated location made her nervous.

“I was concerned about how far it was, and I worried they weren’t going to have what I needed,” she said. “I had it built up like it was unpopulated - like I was moving to the jungle.”

Trisha set her hesitations aside and took a proactive approach to the move. She scoured the internet and learned everything she could about Guam. From moving her three dogs to booking a rental car and house hunting months in advance, she did everything possible to ease the process.

“We hit the ground running because I’d been in contact with people on island,” she said. Some challenges associated with a move to Guam are unavoidable such as waiting for household goods or a spouse’s upcoming deployment, but Trisha took charge and combatted those challenges head-on. She conducted research, asked questions and planned ahead. She even found a realtor who helped the couple find a home in a good neighborhood – an experience Trisha describes as “flawless.”

Because CSS-15 and the submarines are forward-deployed, Trisha’s husband was underway shortly after arriving on island. A lunch invite from her Ombudsman promptly followed her husband’s departure. From then on, she embarked on island exploration and community involvement.

“There are just so many opportunities out here,” Trisha said. “There’s hiking, snorkeling, diving, volunteering; and this is stuff I do every week. It’s just part of my life now – getting out and doing things.”

Those interested in a team sports, from volleyball to kayaking, have the opportunity to compete internationally due to Guam’s location. The opportunities don’t stop on Guam. Trisha has visited Singapore and the Philippines in the past year alone, thanks to Guam’s proximity to Asia, the affordability of commercial flights throughout the region, and the availability of MAC flights.

Like any location, Guam has its challenges. The steep cost associated with travel to the mainland USA is often recognized as one of the most significant. “Traveling home is not easy and for the amount of money it costs, I’d rather see something else,” she said. That said, she knows of many families who frequently utilize MAC flights to travel to the mainland. Families with children also benefit from the acclaimed DODEA schools, McCool Elementary and Middle School and Guam High School.

“The schools are awesome,” she added. “There are people who enjoy the climate or different aspects of the island, but they come back for the schools. That’s saying something.”

As for Trisha’s initial concern that Guam wouldn’t have everything she needed to live comfortably? It has become an afterthought.  “Guam has lots of conveniences that I wasn’t expecting, and you can order anything else you need online,” she mentions casually before shifting gears from perceptions of Guam to the reality of Guam.

“Guam is a unique place. There are challenges that come with it, but because of how awesome it is, all those challenges are worth it,” she says. “If you come in with a good attitude and are excited about being here, it can be the most memorable experience in your military career or your life.”

When asked what advice she would share to Sailors and families headed to Guam, Trisha stresses that a tour in Guam is what you make it. To make it a positive one, she suggests contacting your Ombudsman as soon as possible, saving money and doing your research. It’s a big move, and she admits “it can be difficult, but life on Guam isn’t a struggle”.

She quickly follows with, “Do it once. If nothing else, come out, enjoy the experience and culture and let yourself begin somewhere new.”