I will let Fencer talk about her twin that is at Dover. However, for my DS in the 130 with her other twin he is gone frequently, but not so much when you compare it to other airframes.. DS leaves for a 4 a month deployment in a few weeks. His last long deployment (5+ mos) was from Feb 2016-Aug 2018. I would say on average he is TDY about 10 days a month. Typically he will do a week out to somewhere overseas and than come back for a week and do a short 3-5 days out. The rest of the time he is flying, sims or at his desk job.
~ Caveat, because he is gearing up for a long term deployment they have been flying him non-stop to get certain types of ratings upgrade and currency aspects for the deployment. This will be true for when he returns because they want him to go SoS and some upgrade C130J schools that are TDYs and not held at Dyess. Held at Little Rock and Vegas. On top of that he will have to get re-qual for flying back state side. So for him it really will be Aug. before he is back to his normal schedule.
As far as overseas for the 130J, both are very sought after assignments. Ramstein and Yokota. I know that DS has to place his dream sheet in when he returns and Ramstein will be his top choice, I believe it is than Little Rock with Yokota being the last.
Stateside the bases are Little Rock and Dyess. DS really enjoys the mission there so as far as I know the only complaints he has are more about Abilene, and in a funny way. Abilene does not believe in sewer drains for the roads, thus they flood constantly. The other is about all of the pickup trucks everywhere!
~ Katie our DIL is very involved with the spouses within the unit, plus, she is a Mom of a 1 yr old and 2 dogs so she is quite busy herself.
Personally as an AF wife that has been at great bases like Elmendorf to bases not so great like Almagordo or Mt. Home, I personally would be happy in Abilene, except for the fact that Dallas is 2 1/2 hrs away. However on the flip side it is a decent size city.
~You have restaurants a plenty to choose for your night out in any price range. Do you know how infuriating it is to see an Olive Garden commercial and know you have to drive 70 mins to go to one? Not saying it is a great restaurant, it is just the idea that it is 15 mins away if you get the hankering. SJAFB got an Olive Garden only 5 years ago?
~Abilene also has a decent size mall and lots of other shopping centers that include stores like Dilllards, Bed Bath and Beyond, even Hobby Lobby. Not saying that shopping is a must, but for me when I buy the kids things for birthdays, holidays and anniversaries I like to make sure they can return them nearby.
~ I will say they have one HUUUGGGGEEE WalMart. It puts my super walmart into the small category. I think that is because they don't have a lot of grocery stores there so it is a default grocery store.
Finally a positive we have found is that although Abilene airport is very small, from a price point aspect it is not expensive to fly into there from VA. We fly direct to Dallas and then hop to Abilene. We have done the fly to Dallas, rent a car and drive to Abilene and that usually is the exact cost or more. We stopped doing that because we stay with the kids and it makes no sense to rent a car for 5 days just to have it sit in the driveway since the kids always drive anywhere we go in their car. The airport is about 15-20 mins from their home.
I hope that helps.
PS. He does own a home. They purchased a 5 yr old home when they got there. The market is very hot there because many of the townies work with oil companies. They decided to purchase in a specific school district for re-sale value. IOWS, it is where everyone wants their kids to go to school.
They wanted a newer home because he did not know how often he would be deployed and didn't want anything breaking down for my DIL while he was away.
There is a ton of new construction all over the place. DS has stated that the next time they come back they will most likely buy new construction.
Most developments do not have home owners associations.