If you recently received orders to Restone Arsenal, congratulations! Many will tell you that this is the duty station they never want to leave.
PCSing to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama
Though our family didn’t move to the north Alabama area on orders (we moved here during the ETS process), I did reach out to a handful of active-duty families to get their takes on housing, FRG options, general community camaraderie, and much more. I hope this is not only super helpful information but also sets your mind at ease that the Restone Arsenal area is nothing like the stereotypes you may have about our state if you’ve never visited. It’s pretty stinkin’ great here, and I feel fairly confident you’ll think so as well.
About On-Post Housing
About Living Off Post
Donna B.: “We knew that we wanted Madison City Schools, but the rental market was really high. We have 3 kiddos, so a house with enough bedrooms in MCS was going to be $500-700/mo higher than senior officer BAH. We ended up buying a house and are so happy we did!”
Lauren O.: “While we have lived on many Army posts, we never considered living in on-post housing at Redstone because we have school-aged children and off-post had so many better options for our family. Madison had a reputation for the best schools and a wonderful community. It was a no-brainer to choose to live in Madison!”
Brooke S.: “There was limited on-post housing available for us, and none for large families. We’ve lived on-post before: Leavenworth (two times), but typically we live in the surrounding community. Schools were the #1 priority for us, which brought us to Madison City (and purchasing a house over a FaceTime with our agent). It was crazy, but we are so glad we did that!”
About the PX, Commissary, and MWR
Fox Army Health Center
In-Processing and I.D. Cards
Brooke S.: “One-Stop Support Center was really great for in-processing, and the ID card office is superb.”
Camaraderie & FRG
Brooke S.: “There isn’t FRG here, and that has really been the thing that’s been hard to get used to. No coffees or things of that nature. It’s just very civilian. Not bad, just different. It’s nice to mix in with the regular community on such a daily basis. Two of our boys, win 13-year-olds, are part of the JS2S club at school that is closely tied to all MCEC events and activities. They also regularly give tours at Discovery Middle School to new students who arrive and give them the scoop for the school day, etc.”
Donna B.: “It is very different here than other Army posts. Perhaps it is because there are so many civilians, perhaps covid has played a role, but I don’t really see/feel the camaraderie that exists elsewhere. We were very lucky to already know a friend’s family from a previous duty station and several of my husband’s friends that PCSed here at the same time. We take care of one another, but without them, I’m not sure I would have any Army friends.
Megan F.: “There is not as much FRG involvement here, but that may be due to the fact that there is such a small number of military personnel working here, as well as the pandemic making it hard to get together. I feel like most of the spouses already know one another because we were all at TPS at one time (a lot of active duty military here are test pilots). There is a Facebook group for TPS spouses that really helped me get connected with many of the families that were already here and helped a lot in finding housing, schools, churches, etc.”
Lauren O.: “I attended PWOC a few times since I had been involved at other posts but wasn’t able to continue attending as I started working at Asbury Weekday. The PWOC at Redstone seemed to have a wonderful community of women!
I have been involved in many FRGs over the years but Redstone doesn’t have much of an FRG presence. My husband, a test pilot worked at AFTD. I worked hard to contact the families and spouses and connect people. As new test pilots moved to the area every 6 months after Test Pilot school, I would help plug their wives into the community!
While I was unable to attend the Spouse’s club at Redstone but a fellow Army wife and friend was very involved and enjoys her time with club.”
About Living in the North Alabama Area
Kaci M.: “We love the community and the many options the greater community offers for family fun. The involvement of people within the community, especially Madison, is truly wonderful. This is especially evident in the sports leagues. Our short time in T Ball has been wonderful. All of the conveniences of a larger city are also here, which makes life wonderful for a military family. The airport is ten miles from my house, along with an up-and-coming Trader Joe’s and Homegoods. What more could you want?”
Lauren O.: “We love Madison! It was a wonderful 3 years for our family and we would love to be stationed there again one day!
The Huntsville area has so many great options not only for families but for young soldiers and couples as well. It is up and coming, hip areas, filled with great outdoor activities, the arts, and much more. It has definitely been one of our favorite spots to be stationed at!”
Megan F.: “We really love the Huntsville area! I love that you can walk around downtown, go to restaurants, bars, parks, and I’ve never felt like I was in danger or in a bad area. There are so many museums and activities for the kids, loads of trails to go hiking/walking/biking. I’m a huge fan of the mountains, so I love that I can just run over to Monte Sano park and go hiking. We are also pretty close to so many big cities (Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta, Chattanooga) that have a lot to offer. So many cool day trips to small towns and little gems all over northern Alabama.”
Other Things to Note
Lauren O.: “Our family loved the bowling alley and even hosted one of my daughter’s birthday parties there in the private bowling room. It was wonderful!
My girls’ school, Columbia Elementary, always had special events for military families and children of active-duty soldiers. Whether it was Veteran’s Day, a Military families breakfast, or April Month of the Military Child, they made an extra effort to show support for the military. The whole community was a very welcoming one!”