Military Monday- Heather: Fort Irvin, CA


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: Heather Fox @

Branch of service: Army

Where currently stationed: Fort Irwin, CA AKA: NTC

How long have you been there: 2 years

Previous duty stations: Fort Hood, Fort Carson, and in the process of being at Fort Benning.

I need to preface the following questions in order to help with understanding life out at the Irwin.  It has a very bad reputation, and is a little intimidating to live here.  The experience is what you make it, and anything can make you miserable if you allow it to.  With that being said it is very secluded here, and the closest small town (Barstow) is 45 minutes away.  Barstow only has a small Walmart, a small theatre, an outlet mall, and some food options.  Other than that there is nothing there to do, or places to shop.  The closest Target is 1 hour and 15 minutes away.  This is in the town of Victorville, which is the far better option to shop than Barstow.  There is a full-blown theatre, mall, Bed Bath and Beyond, and also your sanity.  No, I am not exaggerating here. I often refer to Post as “The island” because it feels like you are stranded on one while being stationed here.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

The schedule that the guys work out here is insane.  Their work schedule is based off of Rotations, and your life will revolve around them as well.  There is little down time, but you usually get at least a 4 day weekend off every month.  Sometimes those 4 days are all that you get off, but you learn to make the most of it.  Different jobs obviously have a little different schedules, but the heart of it here is the rotations.

Favorite restaurant in the area: The food options have expanded drastically since being stationed here.  When we first arrived there was a Burger King, Popeyes, Taco Bell, Manchu Wok, and Einstein Bagels.  There is also the food court in the PX.   As far as “Restaurants” go there is a place called Shockwave.  They are currently in the process of shutting another restaurant down and remodeling it into another one called Fort Irwin Samuel Adams Grille.  Over the past year they have added a Subway, Pizza Hut (YAY DELIVERY) and a nicer Starbucks.  Shockwave also delivers now because they are trying to keep up with Pizza Hut.  It has been a nice addition.

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
I am going to break this up into 3 things on Post, and 3 things off Post:

Off Post:
1.) We love hitting up Las Vegas for anything from shopping to gambling.  You can always get a great deal on hotel rooms, and it is a great escape from the island.
2.) Make the trip to Seaworld in San Diego.  Military get free tickets once a year.
3.) The Beach! 
On Post:
1.)They recently upgraded our track, and added a huge/nice playground. 
2.) Fort Irwin now has a splash park for the kids.  It is really nice, and useful with the hot weather.
 3.) There are 2 rather large pools on Post. The Sandy Basin pool is only open in the summer, and has a cute little kiddie splash area.  The Oasis pool is covered during winter season, and then opened up during the summer, so that is something fun year round if you enjoy swimming.

Favorite duty station so far: I would have to say Fort Carson.  Though I do really enjoy Fort Irwin as crazy as that sounds.
Who is your hero? I don’t have a hero.  I have several people that I admire and respect but the word “hero” to me takes away from their imperfections.  People are people with a little bit of Hero in each of us.

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station? The long drives to do anything cool, and the grueling schedule.

How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?  I feel like the community here is really strong.  You cannot help but to run into your neighbor or someone that you saw at the commissary that one day.  It is such a small post, and so far from civilization that you are almost forced into harmony in order to stay sane.  Plus, it is more fun to get along right?
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?  The post is great at putting together activities for the families.  Most of the time they are completely free as well. They are putting together a Haunted House in one of the Gyms on Post that is always a good time.  You can also enjoy a lot of stuff for the holiday season that goes on in Las Vegas (3 hour drive, and worth every minute).  We do the Cactus lights each year, and our girls love that!

What is the overall feel of the community/area/base? Everyone knows everyone.  It is very small town here.

Have you joined any groups on base? Outside of the FRG I have not.  There is plenty of opportunity to do so though.  If you are new to the area, then I would suggest going to the spouses meet and greet.  They give you tons of information, and are very helpful.
I would also add their Facebook page.  They are always adding information about upcoming events, and issues that are happening on Post.

If you are a military spouse or military member and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at}  Duplicate stations are welcomed!


  1. Nice to "meet" Heather and her family!

  2. Thank you to Heather and her family for their service!!

  3. This is a great post and such a cool opportunity to hear about different places. :)

  4. Do you need anyone to write about Fort Rucker, AL?

  5. Very cool, I love hearing about different places.

  6. We just went to the USO Sesame Street thing from her picture! FT Irwin looks like a great place to be!

  7. This is so neat to read and get an idea of what life is like!

  8. I always look forward to these posts. It is great getting to hear about all the different families & their military experience.

  9. This is such a neat idea. Love this.

  10. I'm glad that Fort Carson was her fave ;) I have definitely heard of Irwin being referred to as an island!


I love to hear your thoughts! XOXO

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