assignment satisfaction key wish list

The Army Wish List and First Duty Assignment

It sounds so nice! Fill out a wish list of your top three locations to live and the Army will “do its best” to accommodate your request. Well, let’s clear one thing up right now. There’s a very good reason why it is referred to as a wish list.

It’s a Wish List, Not a Guarantee

I’ve seen many military spouses be very disappointed when their soldiers did not get one of the duty locations notated on their wish list.

With first-time enlistments, I would actually be quite shocked if the Army actually even looked at the list when making decisions about the soldier’s first duty station.

I’m more of the belief that if the soldier was given the first duty location of his dreams, it fell into the pure luck category more than anything else.

Changes Announced in 2022

Changes were made in 2022 that allowed some new soldiers to choose their first duty station. This is seen as a recruiting incentive in the same way an enlistment bonus is. There is a list of duty stations to choose from and this list can be updated at any time. If your soldier is adamant about being close to home (or far away!), then be sure to ask the recruiter about this option.

Stacking the Odds In Your Favor

Of course, the wish list should be completed because, after all, you never know. Maybe you’ll be one of the spouses who is deemed lucky with a soldier who gets choice #1.

How can you increase your chances of getting lucky? There’s one main tip.

Your soldier has an MOS. He may have an MOS that is at nearly every Army post there is or he may have one that is only at a handful of posts.

If your soldier lists posts with units that don’t need his MOS, then he really just wasted his time in completing the wish list at all. Do some research ahead of time and be sure that his MOS fits the duty locations that are chosen.

This also applies to schools or programs that your soldier may be attending. For instance, there are only a few airborne units.

While those that graduate from Airborne school are not guaranteed a spot in an Airborne unit, it usually works out that way. If your soldier is attending Airborne school, make sure the wish list contains posts that have an Airborne unit.

With Ranger BN and Special Forces, these guys are only stationed at certain locations. Unless things have changed drastically, a Ranger BN assignment really is the luck of the draw.

Rather than choose your wish list based on the best locations, be sure to choose based on the best choice for your soldier and his MOS. And remember, the needs of the Army will trump all else.

Your soldier can access his wish list on the HRC website under ASK (Assignment Satisfaction Key).

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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13 Comments

  1. Hey Stacey, I’m new to this whole Army thing. My husband is in AIT right now. How do you know which bases need his MOS or not? My husband is 35F and we were told that he is needed on almost every base so I figured we were in the clear when we choose our wish list. But again, how do you find out if his MOS is needed on a base or not?

    1. Most MOSs will be found at most posts. Typically, it is additional training that may limit where he can be stationed (such as being airborne qualified, pilot, instructor, special operations, etc). I would guess (and I literally mean *guess*) that his MOS would be found at most posts.

  2. Hi Stacey… I am not sure how to find what bases need my husbands MOS 88H. I have typed in numerous options in my search engine to find the bases that are most common for his position and nothing really comes up as far as locations. I dont want to waste our time picking a wish list of locations that doesnt apply to his job. Any and all tips would be helpful that way I can research the schools for our son, local attractions of the town/city as well as housing markets and pick 3 locations that best suit our needs as a family as well as for my hubby’s MOS 🙂 Thanks so much! Your site is so helpful. God Bless

    1. The majority of MOSs are found at most main posts. It is more limited for those with additional training such as airborne, pilot, SCUBA, etc.

  3. What are some of the bases where SF soldiers would be stationed? My husband leaves for training in September and I was just trying to get an idea where we could end up IF he’s one of the few who make it thru.

  4. Hi Stacey, My husband is almost done with his airborne training which is the last step until we find out where we will be living. He is going to be a 91F, do you know where this limits us too? I know you said airborne does limit your options, so I was just wondering if you knew where those locations were? I am extremely new to this, and to be honest terrified. Please let me know! I appreciate it so much!

    1. So what first duty station did your husband got after his AIT? Just curious bcoz I am going for same MOS, shipping for basic in a month. thanks.

  5. Hello Stacey I’m trying to find out which bases my husband can go to, he will be a 13R? Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Stacey, my son is going into basic on Jan. 11,2016. His MOS is 35m. When should he fill out his “wish list”? Thanks for all you do.

  7. Anyone know what duty stations are for 88H. My husband is about to leave for AIT and I wanted to look into housing options.

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