USAGPAN 2019 - page 8
Hey everyone, I've been scouring the forum for any and all information on USAGPAN, and I decided to start a thread for the potential 2019 class! Anyone out there also interested in applying? I... Read More
Nov 11Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 17; Likes: 16Your rank depends on how long you have been a nurse. Basically, your nursing experience is calculated into a certain amount of constructive credit. This will be done during your accession process. Having your CCRN will provide you with an additional 6 months of constructive credit. I came in as a 1LT.
Nov 14Joined: Nov '18; Posts: 1Hi, I've looked over this thread and i have a question for ya'll...I'm a nurse practitioner but I'm looking to become a crna through the army. I need to work 1 year in icu to meet that requirement but I'm considering joining the national guard in the meantime to get some idea of military experience. Any thoughts on that?? I read it will be harder to go active if i get accepted to usagpan? And will i have to wait 2 years in the guard before trying to get into the program? All input appreciated!! Thanks
Nov 14Joined: Sep '16; Posts: 27; Likes: 11I personally would just direct commission by getting accepted into the program. I don't think having military experience makes much of a difference before applying for the program. Plus, I am not 100% sure on this, but I think if you are a NP and join the army as a NP, it may be a lot more difficult to attend the program. I could be completely wrong though.. but they may just try to keep you in the guard or reserves as a NP and not want to release you to let you go back to school and go active. I would just really focus on getting your ICU experience and applying to the program and not join the guard or reserves.
Nov 15Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 17; Likes: 16Hey all, I am sorry for the delayed response. I received some of you direct messages, but unfortunately I cant message back due to allnurses' new rules...
Here is a short list of advice I have created over the summer. You can take it or leave it. Just some things I learned as a direct commission.
- Your orders will seem very confusing. Verification of your name, SSN, rank, AOC and constructive credit is a good place to start. Your initial rank will determine how much you get paid now. Your constructive credit is also important because it determines how soon you will be able to promote. Your recruiter, if he or she is worth a damn, will help walk you through your orders. Do not be surprised if corrections will be needed down the line.
- When you receive your orders, your recruiter should assist you with calling the closest housing office in your region. An individual at this housing office should provide you with guidance on setting up an account on Home Page | Move.mil and walk you through the online application.
- When setting up your online account, write everything down! Your username and password will be super long and impossible to remember. You will also have over half a dozen security questions to remember as well.
- When setting up your move, elect for the partial do it yourself (DITY) move. You'll likely cram a lot of stuff in your car(s) regardless of the Army shipping most of your goods. Your reimbursement is based off the weight inside your vehicle. Weigh your vehicle before and after loading it up with your stuff. A certified weigh scale (e.g. CAT scale) at a gas station will do the trick.
- Do not be surprised if you experience a serious time crunch with setting up your move. Your orders may come at the last minute and you may only have a week or less to report to your first active duty assignment. Unfortunately, the packing/shipping appointments are booked out three weeks or more. So you may need to set up a releasing agent. He or she will be at the house when the movers package your household goods. This will take some planning on your part. Your agent must be present at all times during the packaging of your goods. This will take a MINIMUM of two days. The packing timeframe all depends on the amount of stuff you are shipping. Your releasing agent will also be responsible for giving the movers written permission to ship your goods. For example, I designated my mother-in-law as my releasing agent.
- Your goods may take 1-3 weeks to reach San Antonio. This all depends on your current location and the busyness of the moving season.
- You will be notified when your goods reach a storing warehouse in San Antonio. Initially, you may not be able to be present for the shipment of your goods to your new home. In this case, you may opt to assign a receiving agent or continue to store your goods until you are ready to receive them at your new place (you are authorized a certain amount of days for you goods to be stored).
- If you are married, and you TRUST your spouse, set up a financial power of attorney ASAP. You will be gone a lot during your initial military training and your spouse may have to make a lot of decisions on your behalf while you are away. Having a financial POA will prevent a lot of barriers and will empower your spouse.
- Save ALL your receipts. You will be reimbursed a set amount based upon the Army's mileage calculator. Regardless, keep all your gas and lodging receipts. When you get to Fort Sam, finance should help you fill out a DD Form 1351-2 (travel voucher). They should help walk you through the form. REMEMBER, be nice and they will be nice to you!
- A quick note on dislocation assistance (DLA). When filling out your DD Form 1351-2, the finance person may or may not tell you to check the box that says DLA. If you are single with no other dependents, you are not entitled to DLA with your first PCS move. However, you are entitled for DLA if you are married and/or have kids and you uproot them. CHECK THE BOX REGARDLESS. PCS'ing is very expensive and DLA amounts to be a couple thousand dollars. Check the box and let finance determine your eligibility.
Nov 15Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 17; Likes: 16Reporting to Fort Sam/In-processing:
- Finding a hotel on base may be difficult-especially if you receive your orders last minute like I did. The various training courses that occur at Fort Sam perpetually fill the hotels on base. If you have pets, I recommend the following hotel: La Quinta Inn & Suites San Antonio Downtown (100 W César E Chávez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78204). There is no additional fee for pets. There is free breakfast every morning too!
- Ask for the Texas military hotel tax exempt form. This will save you some serious change. The Army will only reimburse you a set amount of money (lodging + food) for each day-so saving some money now will mean more money in your pocket down the road.
- One of my classmates chose to stay at an Airbnb. This may be a good option for you if you need an extended amount of time to look for housing. A situation in which this may occur is if you want to live on base. The waiting list for housing can be months to a yearlong. However, this is RARELY the case. From my understanding, on-base housing becomes available much sooner than the estimated waitlist time. One of my classmates only waited a week. However, you have no say in what housing becomes available. By no means will you be living in a slum; however, some on bases houses/neighborhoods are nicer than others.
- Another con of choosing to live on base is the loss of your basic allowance for housing (BAH). In exchange for your BAH, you will pay zero rent or utilities when living on base. However, BAH is a serious chunk of change. If you are good at managing money, some of your BAH can end up in your piggy bank. This all depends on where you choose to live and what your standard of living entails.
- Your commanding unit at Fort Sam is Bravo Company, 187th Medical Battalion. However, you may or may not have the opportunity to take permissive temporary duty (TDY). Permissive TDY allows you up to 10 days to search for housing. For your future reference, if you are gifted with enough time to take permissive TDY, you must report to the housing office with your DA Form 31 (leave form). However, this will not really apply to you. You will need to report to Bravo Co ASAP once you arrive to San Antonio. There is a lot of paperwork involved with in-processing. Especially since you are new to the Army. Regardless, you are entitled to be reimbursed for a maximum of 10 days of temporary lodging allowance/expense (TLA/TLE). It is essential that you keep your hotel receipts! You have to prove that you actually stayed at a hotel in order to receive TLA.
- If you live near a base, buy your uniforms now. Again, if your recruiter is worth a damn, he or she should be willing to help you! I suggest buying three sets of operational camouflage pattern (OCP) Army combat uniforms (ACUs). Commonly, people will just call this uniform OCPs. You will want two sets for garrison and one set for the field. I liked pairing my pants and tops together and labeling them as one set. I did this using a permanent marker on the tags. I did this because every uniform piece is slightly unique. The camouflage pattern, the overall darkness, and even the fabric may slightly differ from piece to piece. The Army is all about uniformity. Having a top that doesn't perfectly match your pants in the real world may not be noticeable. In the Army, even subtle discrepancies in your uniform will cause people to develop a slight eye twitch at the sight of you. For example, walking around with worn-in, faded pants and a brand-new top is a big no-no.
- Look up AR 670-1. This will provide you with guidance on what you need for you uniform. Each OCP will require: a name tape (last name) placed over you right chest, U.S. Army tape over your left chest, and an American flag on your right arm. An easy way to remember the placement of the tapes is as follows: you hold the Army dear to your heart and you raised your right arm to the flag when you swore in. You will need the U.S. Army Medical Training patch as well. This is placed on your left arm. Your rank will be in the middle of your chest. I strongly suggest getting your tapes and rank sewn on to your uniform. I found the wear of the uniform much more comfortable after doing so. This was especially true for the patrol cap (PC). Pin-on rank doesn't feel great on your forehead. If you decide to sew these items on to your uniform, remember that everything needs to be sewn on. For example, you can't have sewn on name tapes and Velcro rank. The rule of uniformity applies to everything. Embrace this fact.
- The Army Service Uniform (ASU) is another uniform you will need to purchase. I strongly suggest using the website Marlow White. They have awesome packages that really simplify your purchasing quest (there are a lot of pieces that go into the ASU). DO NOT have them tailor your uniform. Go to a reputable tailor to obtain your measurements. While at Fort Sam, I suggest going Kim's. They will measure you for free. They will also ensure your uniform is tailored to regulation and fits you well. You want to look lean and mean in your uniform.
- Another important point to consider is the cost of all these uniforms. You will receive a one-time reimbursement of 600 dollars for your uniforms. I easily spent $1,500 dollars on my uniforms and tailoring. Set the money aside now!
Nov 15Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 17; Likes: 16For those who personally messaged me with questions, please send me your email address and I can email a response. Hang in there! The transition is stressful, but I assure you that learning comes quickly and you will adapt.
Nov 15Occupation: ICU RN Specialty: 9 year(s) of experience ; From: TX, US ; Joined: Sep '07; Posts: 31; Likes: 11To add a couple of pointers...try your best to be in San Antonio before your home goods arrive. More things than normal tend to get "lost" or broken when things end up in storage for awhile. If you're there when things get loaded into the truck and are there when they are removed from that truck to your home, it saves the extra jostle of unloading into a warehouse (with who knows how many other peoples' things) and being reloaded at time of delivery (not to mention, you're not at the warehouse to supervise).
In terms of field uniforms, it can save a lot of money to see if anyone is selling an old uniform. Look on Facebook, join (or have your spouse join) a wives page or 2 for Fort Sam, and just ask if anyone is selling a used uniform. In your first 3 years, you're only going to be in the field for less than 20 days total. No need to buy a brand new uniform for that