Bex Valentine, and her husband, Mike Enever (serving)

How long have you been an army family?

22 years.

Time in Tampa?

Just over two years, we arrived in August 2020.

How many other military families live there?

It’s tri-service; there are five families and around 20 deployed personnel.

What’s your quarter like?

Fantastic! We had to find our own place to rent, which has pros and cons, but we found an apartment we love overlooking the sea.

Are there any employment/ training opportunities?

Yes. Spouses can apply for a work permit but in our time here, only one spouse has done this.

What about schools/ childcare?

Children go to local US schools of their parents’ choosing. There are currently no younger kids here but for any family who needs it, there are childcare/ nursery options locally.

Where do people tend to get together and who supports you?

We get together on the water with paddleboards, in local parks for dog walks and for meals out. We’re a small group but make every effort to meet up each week.

We have admin support from the National Support Element team here in Tampa, as well as the British Embassy in Washington DC.

How do you find the cost of living?

Some things are quite pricey, especially food, travel and visitor attractions. Other things are really reasonable and it’s rare to pay for things like parking or drink refills.

What are the best and worst things about Tampa?

The travel opportunities are amazing, both in-state and across America and living somewhere with such a different culture is wonderful.

The wildlife in Florida is so interesting and there are many places you can get out to see it. Alligators, manatees, dolphins, raccoons and armadillos never fail to disappoint!

As with any overseas posting, there are cultural differences that can be tricky to get your head around, and things you miss from home, cheese and good sausages being top of that list for me!

The humidity can also get right in the bin.

Would you recommend it as a family posting?

Absolutely, especially if you like sunshine, getting outdoors, amazing wildlife and travel. We’ve found Tampa and the US in general to be a very welcoming place, with excellent customer service to boot.

Want to share your experiences of army family life? Get in touch by emailing

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