You can breathe that sigh of relief now – your soldier has just graduated from BMQ!
But wait… there’s more training yet to come. A lot more.
I bet you’re hoping that in the next few hundred words or so you’ll get an account of exactly how the coming months of your life will play out. Unfortunately since there are so many trades within the Canadian military, each with their own training requirements, there is no one clear answer for this. What these next few paragraphs can offer you however is some guidance through the murky waters of entering into further the Canadian military life.
I know you all feel like you’re already a part of Canadian military life and in a big way you are. You’ve stood by while your soldier was away in Quebec during their BMQ. Maybe some of you had to stand by for a much longer time than anticipated; in fact you may have already been through the equivalent of a deployment. However the complete military life doesn’t truly get off the ground until your soldier arrives at his or her first posting.
This is not to say that BMQ, and being the spouse of someone in BMQ, is not real military. It most certainly is. But BMQ is a beast of it’s own kind; there is no other experience like it.
First things first – your soldier will most certainly not have the weekend following BMQ off. Graduations happen on Thursday afternoons for every BMQ course and the following morning at o-dark-thirty your soldier will be getting on a bus headed to wherever they are posted.
How will you know where they are posted you ask? The day before or the day of graduation your spouse will get an official posting message telling them when and where to report.
So, now that your soldier is at their first posting what comes next? Well, if they’re within driving distance of your home you can safely plan a visit. Once basic is completed, assuming they are not immediately on another course, your soldier will once again have most of the liberties of a civilian life. They will have weekends off almost always and once they are dismissed for the day their time is their own again.
Now to figure out how long this posting should roughly last you’ll need to figure out what courses your soldier will be doing before they’re posted out. Some trades have relatively short training courses, that last less than six months or so, while some have years of training. Some trades will have your soldier jumping from base to base for the next few years while other trades will have them in the same location for years on end. Get your spouse to ask through their chain of command how many courses they have to complete and how long each is scheduled to be.
Make sure that you don’t overlook time spent on PAT platoon though. Oh, no one told you about PAT platoon? Personnel Awaiting Training is where our fine young men and women report while they are waiting for a course to start. No one, not even your spouse’s chain of command, can tell you, even roughly, how long they will be on PAT for. It could be weeks, it could be months, if they’re taking a French language course it could be more than a year.
So, now that you know how long your soldier will be at their current posting, or you at least have some vague concept of it, you can figure out your living situation. The rule of thumb is that any posting lasting longer than 100 days qualifies you to move your family and effects through the proper military channels. Do not, I stress do not, try and go around the proper military channels for moving. That is bad news for not just your soldier but you as well; fines, repayments and a bevy of other unpleasant things await those who say “screw the military… I’ll move myself.”
Unfortunately if your soldier will be at a posting for less than a hundred days you will not be entitled to move.
How do you go about moving in the military you might ask? I might tell you that that’s an entirely different article. But one thing I can tell you is that now that BMQ is done the hardest part is over. Sure, some training schedules may have you stuck doing the long distance thing for a while longer, but the brutal separation of basic is at an end and your lives can return to at least some sense of normalcy now.