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Ramstein AB

This is our second time stationed in Germany. The first time around we were single airmen working at Sembach and living on Vogelweh in the dorms. Workplace was great and there were so many things to do during your free time - especially travelling! Sembach was very laid back, as was Vogelweh, yet there was a lot to do! Medical care at Sembach was never an issue! It's a whole different story the second time around! Husband works at Ramstein and we live off base with our children. Some of the problems we've encountered are because of poor decision making on our part - like oil heating in our home which is very expensive! But the area is so inundated with Americans due to there being several bases in the immediate area such as Landstuhl, Vogelweh, Kapaun, Pulaski, Kleber and Daener Kasernes, Sembach, and Ramstein. Vogelweh and Sembach have been scaled down in recent years - making it necessary to go to Ramstein for most everything such as shopping at the only BX. Since we are AF and my husband is based out of Ramstein - we go to Ramstein dental and medical clinics. It's hard to get care because there are so many people and there is a lack of providers due to PCS and deployments. Don't get pregnant here! If you are seen at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center - the only American medical facility for labor and delivery - it's not the best care. The pregnancy orientation was a joke and my doctor changes every other month - so it's in no way consistent. At least stateside we had the option of going to a civilian hospital and having a civilian provider who stayed put! It could happen that you think you're delivering at Landstuhl and when the time comes to deliver - you have to call to see if there's room. Of there is no room - you are sent up the street to a German hospital which may be good but there is the language barrier. The last thing you want to worry about is not being able to communicate with hospital staff during labor! It definitely takes some getting to used to when pumping gas or shopping for alcohol, coffee, and cigs. All of that is rationed - so be prepared to pull out your ration card. No pay at the pumps here. You have to go inside and show your registration, gas card, and military ID just to pay. Unless you are high ranking, mil to mil, or your spouse is able to find a decent paying job - travel is hard because it's expensive! Conversion rate headaches, trying to find an Esso station or pay the exorbitant cost out on the economy make for rough travels. And our oldest daughter lives in the States - so airfare for her to visit is through the roof! Space A is extremely hard to come by because this is such a popular destination and a major base. Husband and I are counting the days until we leave!

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