RAF Sgts Posting "Culture Shock"

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by shiny_arrse, Jun 23, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Fellow ARRSERs,

    The latest edition of the RAF Families Federation magazine "Envoy" has an article written by an RAF Sgt about his experience of a posting to Herford which I thought gives an insight into RAF attitudes regarding postings.

    The article is on pages 14-15 on the following link. http://view.vcab.com/?vcabid=geaSeejpcSccheen&count=14/06/2010%2011:34:46-2

    Enjoy :D !

  2. Can you cut n paste it into the thread? Can't open the link on my blackberry. Cheers.
  3. Crab Sgt writes an article pointing out the pitfalls of a posting from a crab point of view, what's the problem?
  4. Welcome to our world!
    Sometimes i do envy our crab colleagues their ability (like our neighbours who have lived in the same house for 12yrs) to stay in one place, must be good for the kids.
  5. msr

    msr LE

    My name is Sgt Mark O’Brien,
    I am 40 years old and am
    married with two daughters
    aged nine and four. I have been in
    the RAF for twenty-two years and
    have previously served overseas at
    Bruggen (single) and Brunssum
    (married/accompanied). Posted from
    Waddington to HQ 1(UK) Armoured
    Division at Herford in Germany last
    August I share my experience of the
    pitfalls of a Service move abroad in an
    attempt to warn others…
    I was fortunate to visit Herford two months
    before my posting to undertake a handover
    with my predecessor and begin to prepare
    for our move. Despite this, the process of
    moving to a new unit, a new country and
    in most respects a new Service, has at times
    been ‘emotional’. Apart from the unavoidable
    stress and chaos of physically moving house,
    the financial impact of the move was the area
    that was felt most.
    It began with our shock to discover
    disturbance allowance had hardly changed in
    the four years since our previous move and
    we knew immediately that it would be not be
    enough to meet the costs of our foreign move.
    On leaving the UK, most utility companies
    were very accommodating, however, the
    need to settle all utility bills at the same time
    was a severe drain on resources. We wrongly
    assumed our mobile telephone contract
    would be easy to transfer as it was with
    T-Mobile. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case
    and we ended up completing the remaining
    months of the contract as it was cheaper than
    cancelling it early.
    On arriving in Germany our cars consumed
    finances and a great deal of our time.
    The need to purchase, and then have
    professionally fitted, continental headlights,
    warning triangles, jerry cans and first aid kits
    were all additional costs. Vehicle insurance
    and breakdown cover were considerably
    more than in the UK, as it was for the house.
    The process of opening a bank account
    brought further costs as did getting telephone
    and internet connectivity to our new home.

    Discovering that not all UK telephones are
    compatible with the German telephone
    network was just one of the minor problems
    we encountered.
    If I thought I would get respite at work
    from the seemingly endless time spent in
    the process of handing over money for little
    visible gain, I was mistaken. On registering
    for membership of the Sergeants’ Mess I was
    presented with a bill for nearly £200. I was
    informed that it was common practice in the
    Army to pay for the Christmas function and
    draw tickets over the course of the year and
    I was in arrears! I was also informed that my
    monthly bill would be four times that which
    I was used to paying. Compulsory Mess and
    Branch charges now cost me between £50
    and £60 a month.
    There is a great deal of information available
    to personnel and families moving abroad, but
    it doesn’t help the fact that the initial outlay
    is approximately £3,000. The following is a
    list of additional information both me and my
    work colleagues would have found valuable
    during our moves.
    Preparing to Move
    Mobile Phones: Even though we were
    with T-Mobile (German telecom) we couldn’t
    transfer our contract to Germany. We ended
    up paying the remaining three months on
    the contract rather than the cancellation fee
    which was larger. We discovered that we can
    still use our ‘free’ texts by sending them via
    the Internet.
    utilities: Most companies were helpful and
    understanding but some did enforce charges
    for breaching fixed-term contracts. This
    process took many calls to 0845 numbers,
    numerous letters and a great deal of patience.
    Paying all outstanding bills was another
    significant drain on funds.
    Insurances: Insurances cannot be moved
    from one country to another, even if you
    intend to stay with the same company.
    Household possessions had to be insured
    when in transit between homes. We didn’t
    go with the suggested policy that came
    with the moving documents. By shopping
    around we found we could get better cover
    for considerably less.
    Car: Ensure you get proof of ‘no claims’
    entitlement as your new insurer will require
    this. Via the internet and telephone we
    arranged insurance with a German insurer
    prior to our move. Cover started on the day
    we left the UK and payments didn’t start
    until we had a local bank account. Despite
    shopping around our premiums were still
    nearly double what we paid in the UK.
    For those with personalised number plates,
    be aware that you could lose them. Advice
    from the DVLA and the BFG registrations
    department has been inconsistent and at
    times contradictory. People with personalised
    plates are at times being told there is no
    guarantee they will still own them on their
    return to UK. This was regardless of how
    much they had paid or how long they had
    owned them.
    Moving: The MoD provides flights from
    Birmingham to Germany. Our new quarter
    is ten miles from the garrison so we needed
    to keep both our cars. As a result we were
    unable to use the MoD option so travelled
    by ferry. Some of the travel expenses can
    be claimed back but the majority, including
    the ferry costs and pet passports, cannot.
    European breakdown and insurance cover
    were unavoidable expenses incurred here.
    Once in Germany
    Telephones: Arriving in Germany, we
    found our house telephone wasn’t compatible
    with the German network – we ended up
    buying a new set of phones.
    german Telephone/Internet. Usual
    connection fees required, up to €200 and
    we found the standard monthly costs slightly
    higher. However, internet speeds are far
    superior to those we had in Lincolnshire.
    Pets: Not an area that affected us, but
    passports, insurance and jabs are a significant
    unavoidable expense.
    Medical: For family members with
    existing medical issues the continuance of
    treatment and supply of medication is far
    from straightforward. The demise of Military
    hospitals has seen medical support being
    provided by a mixture of military and German
    civil agencies. Work colleagues and their
    family members have been vociferous in their
    criticism of the efficiency of the system.
    Problems ranged from difficulties with
    prescriptions to individuals missing vital
    treatment. In a rare display of inter-Service
    unity, colleagues unanimously pointed the
    finger of blame at the military element of the
    support systems. So far, my only personal
    contact with the medical services was when
    my wife and children were due their annual
    dental check. Unfortunately, the Dental Centre
    was unable to carry them out, or even give
    a future date when they could. They did
    suggest using a local German dentist but we
    would have had to pay for this and would
    not be able to reclaim the money. Fortunately,
    we had forgotten to cancel our UK dental
    arrangements so my family use them when
    they visit the UK.
    Single Personnel: One of my colleagues
    who is single lived in his own house in the
    UK. On being posted to Germany he was
    informed that the Officers’ Mess was full so
    he would be living in a flat for the duration
    of his tour. Rather than leave his house
    empty for two years he arranged for it to be
    let. He then discovered that as he was single
    he was not entitled to have his furniture
    transported to Germany at public expense.
    He could however have it placed into
    storage in the UK for the duration of his tour
    and have that paid for, despite that being a
    far more expensive option.
    My family an I are now well settled into life
    in Germany and it is a great place to live.
    Many of the activities we do and places
    we go will be very familiar to people who
    experienced RAFG. However, many things
    have changed. Even though it is only four
    years since I was last overseas, some things
    have changed dramatically, greatest of these
    is the value of the Pound against the Euro.
    Germany and the rest of Europe is now a
    very expensive place compared to UK. My
    advice to anyone moving overseas is begin
    saving for the move as soon as possible and
    do not rely on disturbance allowances or
    future LOA to cover costs.

  6. hmmmmm....i was a crab brat, and the longest we stayed anywhere was 3yrs (in germany funnily enough)
  7. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    I thought he was just warning people who haven't been abroad since the old RAFG things have moved on

    Didn't think it was an article about the RAF's attitude to postings he accepted it and dosen't appear to have a problem with the posting just warning about some pit falls
  8. MSR,

    Thanks for the cut and paste (should have thought of that myself).


    Who said anything about a problem? I just thought it was interesting.

  9. In fact they should copy and paste it into the Patchpedia, it seems fairly informative and decently written.
  10. possibly edit the name out?
  11. Not much point as its on the internet already.
  12. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Overseas postins are 3 years IIRC with an option to short tour to two years

    In the UK i've known people stay at the same unit virually their whole time
    All depends on trade and aircraft type They used to nick name Wittering the triangle because the Harrier lads did Wittering - Guttersloh - Wittering - Bleize - Wittering.....
  13. Some good points raised with some useful advice.

    He was lucky he had a handover two months before his start date at least people knew he was turning up in Germany.
  14. The reason I abandoned my offers of scholarships to join both the army and the air force was mythen girl friend's descriptions of her family's treatment as members of an RAF family. Being told on a Thursday that dad is moving from Leuchars to Gutersloh on Monday seemed to be pretty typical.

    Met plenty of folks who backed up the stories of hideous treatment of families particularly working wives. Over the years I've met plenty of USofA military folks who have been 'transplanted' with minimal personal disruption. The UK mil is way out of step with UK civilian expat and foreign (USA) military treatment, enough for one to posit that retention is not a problem.
  15. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer

    It does seem however, that if he was able to commence HO/TO 2 months prior that he would have been able to ask and get the wealth of information that helps people move from UK to BFG.

    I accept that there are some costs to pay, I had to pay them as well as everyone else, it also appears that so does he. Unfortunately, he appears to be a little too willing to pay straight away rather use things such as the Tax free option (Mehrwerkstuer - spelling? Can't remember!). He could have also got his car up to BFG standard in the UK (which is definitely cheaper!) brought it across and straight into testing.

    I know it is easy to point and say where he went wrong. My point is that he seems to be surprised at the volume of things one has to do when moving abroad. There is tonnes of literature and advice out there and he had 8 weeks prior to posting to recce and book in advance - so a little bit of sympathy - but not much.

    As an L2s article - fine, well written without too much bleating.

    As this is the NAAFI Bar: Typical Crab - soft cushy lifestyle can't hack paying his mess bills - now he knows what it is like to be in a proper mess not in a Premier Inn with a bar and a one-armed bandit in the corner.