Face It & Embrace It: 29 Palms is My Favorite Duty Station

I’ll never forget when my husband, Reece, called me from the shared phone at Officer Candidate School with the orders to our first duty station. After months of excited anticipation, compounded by months of separation, I could not wait to find out where the first stop of our Naval adventure would take us.

We had submitted our list of preferences to the detailer – glamorous and exciting places like Italy, San Diego, Key West, Spain, Hawaii. If it sounded tropical or exotic, it was on there!

However, looking back, I can just envision the detailer at his desk, looking at this extravagant list, having a good chuckle at our naïveté, and then throwing our preferences in the trash.

(I’m sure that’s not actually what detailers do, as I know they try their hardest to make everyone happy, but I can’t help it!)

First Stage: Shock

“Lauren, I got my orders. We’re moving to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms,” my husband shared.

“Great… where is that? It sounds tropical!” I asked.

“Ya, it does, but I’m not sure where it is… pull it up on Google maps.”

From my comfortable spot on the couch, I hurriedly pulled up Google maps on my laptop and searched for 29 Palms.

The Earth view started to pull up, and I froze a bit. Had I accidentally typed planet Mars into Google maps?

I double checked my search. No, this was indeed 29 Palms, California. I zoomed in. How could a place that looked like Mars have a name that sounded so tropical?

“Well,” I stammered to my husband, “it looks… interesting. But definitely not tropical.”