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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey, what's up everyone? Well, here in less than two months my family and I will be headed up to Kodiak for a couple years. My wife is USCG, and we'll hopefully be able to get on-base housing. The only research I've done is look to see what you guys have been saying and searching Wiki type stuff.

I am a working man, and my trade for the last 4-5 years has been line-work. When the economy went down I lost my job, and after working low paying jobs for a while my wife took on a huge responsibily and joined the USCG. I am prior-service and it's great to be back in the military family.

So, what's the life like in Kodiak? This will be the smallest town I've lived in since I was in school. I grew up on 300 acres and went to HS in a 2000 population town.

How are jobs? I'll probably be looking for blue-collar work. I also saw that UofA has a branch there, and we're taking this opportunity for me to go back to school.

As far as vehicles go, do we need a 4WD/AWD or will our FWD Volvo be fine?

I've heard the fishing and hunting are awesome in Alaska as well. I'm not a big hunter but the wife and I love to fish. We're used to wade fishing off the beach, so this will be way different. My wife is a professional chef (USCG and prior) and is totally stoked about the fresh seafood. We lost that when we had to move to Arizona.

If we end up not being able to get into base housing, what does the availability of rentals look like?

Is there anything else we need to know before we head up there? Thanks, ya'll.
 

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xxbrittonxx said:
Hey, what's up everyone? Well, here in less than two months my family and I will be headed up to Kodiak for a couple years. My wife is USCG, and we'll hopefully be able to get on-base housing. The only research I've done is look to see what you guys have been saying and searching Wiki type stuff.

I am a working man, and my trade for the last 4-5 years has been line-work. When the economy went down I lost my job, and after working low paying jobs for a while my wife took on a huge responsibily and joined the USCG. I am prior-service and it's great to be back in the military family.

So, what's the life like in Kodiak? This will be the smallest town I've lived in since I was in school. I grew up on 300 acres and went to HS in a 2000 population town.

How are jobs? I'll probably be looking for blue-collar work. I also saw that UofA has a branch there, and we're taking this opportunity for me to go back to school.

As far as vehicles go, do we need a 4WD/AWD or will our FWD Volvo be fine?

I've heard the fishing and hunting are awesome in Alaska as well. I'm not a big hunter but the wife and I love to fish. We're used to wade fishing off the beach, so this will be way different. My wife is a professional chef (USCG and prior) and is totally stoked about the fresh seafood. We lost that when we had to move to Arizona.

If we end up not being able to get into base housing, what does the availability of rentals look like?

Is there anything else we need to know before we head up there? Thanks, ya'll.
fellow Coastie here... spent 3 years in Kodiak and might be going back in 2012... yes, get base housing and jobs can be tough to come by... but you guys will get cost of living allowance that will help offset... you don't HAVE to have a 4x4 up there, we had an Accord and 2wd Ranger and was fine... besides, you can find a "Kodiak Beater" for while you're on the island... anyway, feel free to PM me with any other questions and as suggested look up TSCheezy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
fourflys said:
fellow Coastie here... spent 3 years in Kodiak and might be going back in 2012... yes, get base housing and jobs can be tough to come by... but you guys will get cost of living allowance that will help offset... you don't HAVE to have a 4x4 up there, we had an Accord and 2wd Ranger and was fine... besides, you can find a "Kodiak Beater" for while you're on the island... anyway, feel free to PM me with any other questions and as suggested look up TSCheezy...
Nice to see a fellow Coastie on here. Thanks for the info. We'll probably just bring our Volvo since it's a bit older and we wouldn't be too worried about the "Kodiak Crud" rotting out the bottom of the car.

The COLA will be nice and I'm going to try to do the majority of our shopping on base. It's been ten years since I was in so are the prices better at the commissary?

Thanks again!
 

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re: commissary
I haven't been there since 2002, so I really wouldn't know... when I left there was Safeway grocery and Walmart... not sure if anything new has sprung up... and yes, I would never take a brand new car to Kodiak...

enjoy it, I really did...
 

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Weed is soo expensive in Kodiak booze too. If you like offroading Kodiak is awesome great fishing 4x4 helps especially for saltery cove. Decent skiing and biking great local brewery. Coast guard mps are dicks. Have fun don't get a dui.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
chugachjed said:
Weed is soo expensive in Kodiak booze too. If you like offroading Kodiak is awesome great fishing 4x4 helps especially for saltery cove. Decent skiing and biking great local brewery. Coast guard mps are dicks. Have fun don't get a dui.
LOL...isn't everything expensive in Kodiak? I'm not a weed kinda guy, and we couldn't partake anyway since the wife is military. We were both a couple lushes back in the day when my wife was a dance club bartender, but now we're more the drink at home kind. Plus I have a CDL so my legal limit is half the norm, and a DUI would screw my wife's career even if I got it. I'm not big on micro-brews, but what's the local one? I'm sure I could find something I like. Hopefully, the beer will be cheaper on base.

fourflys said:
re: commissary
I haven't been there since 2002, so I really wouldn't know... when I left there was Safeway grocery and Walmart... not sure if anything new has sprung up... and yes, I would never take a brand new car to Kodiak...

enjoy it, I really did...
Thanks again for the info. The base looks badass and looks to have more than most other CG bases. My wife is ranked #1 in her class and this was our numbe one choice so we're pretty stoked.
 

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xxbrittonxx said:
Thanks again for the info. The base looks badass and looks to have more than most other CG bases. My wife is ranked #1 in her class and this was our numbe one choice so we're pretty stoked.
Kodiak is one of the biggest bases the CG has... BTW- what school is your wife in? which unit is she going to?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
fourflys said:
Kodiak is one of the biggest bases the CG has... BTW- what school is your wife in? which unit is she going to?
She's FS and going to the Alex Haley. She got her BA in Hospitality Management and minored in Culinary back home. But in the world today with immigrants manning most of the kitchens there's not a lot of money to be made and benefits are unheard of. Along with the added travel and lure of an actual career the CG was a perfect fit.
 

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Bummer FS aboard a med endurance cutter. That's a shitty job, up before everybody up after everybody. And you're out at sea for extended periods doing circles. I really enjoyed the work on the buoy tender but I would have hated a white hull.

BTW ISC kodiak and the airsta and the haley and the morganthau and the spar combine to make the biggest installation in the Coast Guard. Best thing about being stationed in kodiak as a husband... The auto hobby shop is superb everything your heart could desire for auto tinkering if you're into that sort of thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
chugachjed said:
Bummer FS aboard a med endurance cutter. That's a shitty job, up before everybody up after everybody. And you're out at sea for extended periods doing circles. I really enjoyed the work on the buoy tender but I would have hated a white hull.

BTW ISC kodiak and the airsta and the haley and the morganthau and the spar combine to make the biggest installation in the Coast Guard. Best thing about being stationed in kodiak as a husband... The auto hobby shop is superb everything your heart could desire for auto tinkering if you're into that sort of thing.
Well, we'll have to see how that all plays out. She's not a sranger to long hours, and even now in A School she's working 11-12 hour days 6 days a week. She wanted a medium or high endurance cutter for her first station, and I think she'll do fine. She's a bit of a rockstar when it comes to cooking. They just picked her and another guy to work an admiral's change of command dinner in San Fran in a couple weeks. Shes a mix of Peruvian and French/Cajun decent so cooking is in her blood.

Oh, don't you know I've already spyed the autoshop. I haven't had one of those since I was stationed at Ft. Hood, and I used the crap out that place. Definitely, looking forward to that. I might have to break down our bike frames and let my wife have her way with them in the paint booth. She took state in HS for her paint job on a fender. What can I say... I married a one of a kind.

How's the gym on base?

fourflys and chugachjed - What's your rate and current station?

What do people do in the winter when there's no sun? That's going to be weird.

Does the aurora borealis make it that far south?

A huge thanks for the replies.
 

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We are waaay south of the arctic circle, so the shortest day here has 6 hours of 'sun' (it's low angle, like 11 degrees, but it's there).

Yes, we get the aurora. It needs to be clear skies to see it so that's a problem regularly. :)

I can't specifically tell you what the jobs market is like since I have not tried to look for one recently, but in general I would say it's not depressed like the lower 48. There is a job service office downtown that will have all the listings and they are great at getting applications to those hiring. If you are flexible, I would certainly think you could try your hand at any number of things up here.

The Kodiak campus of UAA is a community college and offers Associates degrees and credits would also transfer to the rest of the UA system. It's a small but active place and all the basic courses are offered.

A 2wd will get you around, but a 4wd can make life a lot easier in the winter when we get bad ice or they fall behind clearing snow. Town is sort of hilly though the base is pretty flat. Studded tires are a good idea in any case. We drive a Subaru with all season tires and that car is super. They do salt and gravel when needed, but the roads can get gnarly. Just bring your car up and buy a beater 4wd here if you need it.

Lots of fishing to be had, either along the rivers for Dolly Varden (trout-ish) or salmon in the summer or saltwater fishing off a boat. The base has ~22' skiffs you can use, I believe. I usually just put a gill net out and catch my salmon that way. I'm not a big hunter or fisherman. I just want to grab the animal and be done with it and go for a hike or ride instead. :)

Housing is really tight/expensive in town so if you can get base housing, definitely start with that.

Overall I love this place and won't be going anywhere soon. It's small but not tiny, and the town is generally buzzing thanks to active industries and a general frontier mentality. And remember, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing.
 

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xxbrittonxx said:
fourflys and chugachjed - What's your rate and current station?
I'm an HSCS (corpsman) and am currently in college for Medical Administration in San Diego... but I could be coming up there to be the clinic supervisor in 2012...

being a cook on a cutter can be one of the most frustrating jobs there is... someone will not like your food at least once a day regardless of how good it is... I've so many really good FS3's get burned out after a coupe months and start cooking slop because they figure people will complain either way... so, tell your wife to keep her head up!

The gym was REALLY nice when I was there last time and, yes, the auto hobby is great!

it sounds like there is a trail coalition that TSChezzy is a part of... that would be awesome to be involved in...
 

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Ha my rate is civilian. There's a tattoo on my leg that reads FTCG. Although I'm less bitter about it now that the Post 9/11 GI bill is kicking in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
fourflys said:
I'm an HSCS (corpsman) and am currently in college for Medical Administration in San Diego... but I could be coming up there to be the clinic supervisor in 2012...

being a cook on a cutter can be one of the most frustrating jobs there is... someone will not like your food at least once a day regardless of how good it is... I've so many really good FS3's get burned out after a coupe months and start cooking slop because they figure people will complain either way... so, tell your wife to keep her head up!

The gym was REALLY nice when I was there last time and, yes, the auto hobby is great!

it sounds like there is a trail coalition that TSChezzy is a part of... that would be awesome to be involved in...
That's awesome. You never really know who you're going to talk to on here.

As for the frustration, she's a pretty tough girl, and the only thing I've ever seen get to her is the separation from us. Which is now going on 5 months. It's really hard to make the food taste perfect when you're cooking with the huge amounts they do. She told me that one of her mixers could hold four of her. I think she'll be way more in her element when she gets to independent duty, and only has 12+ people to cook for.

I'm really proud of her and how well she's done. She wasn't the only one with formal training, but she was the only one with college behind her. So she had a lot to prove and she's done it well. I've instilled the "quiet professional" mentality into her that I learned when I was in, and her instructors have definitely noticed.

If there is a trail building group I'll have to check into that. I'll definitely have time to donate.

tscheezy said:
I can't specifically tell you what the jobs market is like since I have not tried to look for one recently, but in general I would say it's not depressed like the lower 48. There is a job service office downtown that will have all the listings and they are great at getting applications to those hiring. If you are flexible, I would certainly think you could try your hand at any number of things up here.

The Kodiak campus of UAA is a community college and offers Associates degrees and credits would also transfer to the rest of the UA system. It's a small but active place and all the basic courses are offered.

A 2wd will get you around, but a 4wd can make life a lot easier in the winter when we get bad ice or they fall behind clearing snow. Town is sort of hilly though the base is pretty flat. Studded tires are a good idea in any case. We drive a Subaru with all season tires and that car is super. They do salt and gravel when needed, but the roads can get gnarly. Just bring your car up and buy a beater 4wd here if you need it.

Lots of fishing to be had, either along the rivers for Dolly Varden (trout-ish) or salmon in the summer or saltwater fishing off a boat. The base has ~22' skiffs you can use, I believe. I usually just put a gill net out and catch my salmon that way. I'm not a big hunter or fisherman. I just want to grab the animal and be done with it and go for a hike or ride instead.

Housing is really tight/expensive in town so if you can get base housing, definitely start with that.

Overall I love this place and won't be going anywhere soon. It's small but not tiny, and the town is generally buzzing thanks to active industries and a general frontier mentality. And remember, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing.
I looked into the Kodiak College UAA, and luckily they do have the program I'm looking for. So that's awesome, and it looks like it's all going to work out well.

As for the weather, it sounds like it's a lot like where we're comming from, Flagstaff, AZ. Our first winter here we got over 120 inches of snow. We were second in the nation for snow fall. First place went to North Dakota, I think. :eek: This winter has been relatively mild. But our volvo made it through just fine. So I'll probably pick up some snow tires here and ship them with our stuff since they're probably three times as much in Kodiak.

I have to say those pictures and especially the top video are amazing. My daughter and I watched them together, and it's hard to believe we're going somewhere so beautiful.

chugachjed said:
Ha my rate is civilian. There's a tattoo on my leg that reads FTCG. Although I'm less bitter about it now that the Post 9/11 GI bill is kicking in.
Haha... I wont ask. But we do have to watch what we do. The CG doesn't have a need for people so they're quick to let you go for small infractions. So we just watch what we do real close since my wife is planning on making this a career.

TSCheezy - is there a trail building group or is it just you and you're wife doing all the work?

Also, I know how expensive things are there, but is the seafood cheap at least?:D

And is there a good bike shop in town? I used to try to do my own work on my bike, but I always seemed to mess something up. I can fix anything on my autos, but I can't work on a bike. :rolleyes: It's really a lack of bike tools and knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, I need everyones opinion on something. I'm looking into shipping our vehicle to Kodiak, and I'm worried about the damage the salt will cause. In the beginning we were just going to send our volvo, but the shipping company wont accept anything that has leaks. Well, our volvo has over 170K miles and leaks are just part of a high milage vehicle. SOOOO... now we're either going to ship my little truck(only a two seater and not really a family vehicle) or buy something used and not leaking. But we're worried about the effect of the salty mist that we've heard will freeze to the bottom of the car and rot it out. Well, how bad is it? If we buy something worth worrying about is there anything we can do to combat this?

Please help.
 

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I would not worry about the salt. They salt the poo out of the roads here so your car's undercarriage will be covered in the stuff when you drive around town anyway. Give it a good rinse with a hose when it shows up on the barge (or drive it in the rain a few times- not like you can avoid that anyway) and you won't be any worse for wear.

I wonder what they mean by "leaks". Everything leaks. A couple of oil drips wouldn't be a deal breaker. They probably just don't want a few quarts on deck. Wipe up the obvious stuff and throw it on the barge. You could also tie an oil absorbant diaper to whatever is leaking and it will arrive without any stains on the deck.

islandtrails.org is the local public access and trails advocacy group and I'm on the board of directors. That said, I generally build my own trails. There are official channels, and then there are chain saws. :D

The seafood is free when you catch it. No one really buys seafood here.

There is a bike shop, though it is pretty limited in size and the owner can be a little grumpy. If you buy a bike from him, great. If you bring him a beater to fix, not so great. If you bring him ebay parts to put on a beater, really not great. I have every tool you could need and I'm a very good bike mechanic, so let me know if you need work done. I do it for everyone else. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
tscheezy said:
I would not worry about the salt. They salt the poo out of the roads here so your car's undercarriage will be covered in the stuff when you drive around town anyway. Give it a good rinse with a hose when it shows up on the barge (or drive it in the rain a few times- not like you can avoid that anyway) and you won't be any worse for wear.

I wonder what they mean by "leaks". Everything leaks. A couple of oil drips wouldn't be a deal breaker. They probably just don't want a few quarts on deck. Wipe up the obvious stuff and throw it on the barge. You could also tie an oil absorbant diaper to whatever is leaking and it will arrive without any stains on the deck.

islandtrails.org is the local public access and trails advocacy group and I'm on the board of directors. That said, I generally build my own trails. There are official channels, and then there are chain saws. :D

The seafood is free when you catch it. No one really buys seafood here.

There is a bike shop, though it is pretty limited in size and the owner can be a little grumpy. If you buy a bike from him, great. If you bring him a beater to fix, not so great. If you bring him ebay parts to put on a beater, really not great. I have every tool you could need and I'm a very good bike mechanic, so let me know if you need work done. I do it for everyone else. :)
You would think that it wouldn't be a big deal, but every article I see online says that if there's any visible leak the vehicle will be denied. Now this could go either way. They could be that anal or kinda lax, but I don't want to show up on my ship date and get screwed last minute, you know.

Other CG that we've talked to advised us about the mist that will freezes to the bottom of your vehicle rotting it out at the same time. They told us that if we bring a car we care about to get an undercoating on it. I'm sure it couldn't hurt, but is it that bad?

They salt the roads here too, and we've never had a problem that I can see.
 
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