Posts Tagged ‘soldiers’

He’s Deployed… Again…

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been busy.  When hubby is home, I tend to want to do more with him.  With him leaving, I need to have an emotional and creative outlet.  So here I am again, facing our third deployment.

And wow, have things changed from our other deployments.  During the first, I had one toddler.  The second I had two toddlers and a kindergartener.  Now, I have 3 in school (5th, 2nd, 1st) and a preschooler!!  While I don’t think any deployment is easy (being separated from your loved one never is), with each stage of our lives, it gets more challenging.

Drop off was this morning.  My husband has yet to deploy with a unit.  That means that our deployments consist of us driving him to the airport and saying good-bye there.  No rallies or grand send-offs with our Army family – just us.  My oldest K (11 1/2), she started crying first.  She remembers the last time and what it’s like to miss him.  She’s also old enough that she understands world events and even goes to school with children whose parents didn’t return from deployments.  She has sadness and fear in her eyes.

R (8 1/2) is my only son.  He has been insisting for months that Daddy can’t go to war because he’ll get killed.  How to do calm his nerves, but in the same breath have to understand that there is a chance that his father could get killed?  We kept telling him that while it is dangerous, Daddy was going to do his best to stay safe and that we just keep praying to God that he does remain safe.

Then the last two A (almost 7) and T (almost 4) are sad to see Daddy go, but just don’t have the grasp of exactly what is going on.  This is also the first time that T has ever seen her father leave for more than a weekend. She didn’t want to let him go at the airport.  I haven’t seen her hug him that long and hard since she broke her arm!!

I’ve also changed.  I’m older and a bit more cynical.  I put on a brave face and try to keep my tears to myself.  My faith has gotten me through this twice and I know it will do it again.  It will take me a few weeks to get used to sleeping alone; without his arms around me as a drift off to sleep.  And then, before long, we will get into a routine that doesn’t include him.  But in the end, we look forward to having him back to learn our new routine!!


I’m so Blessed to have Two Families!

I am very close to my family.  My sister is one of my best friends.  I talk to her and my mother almost daily — even living overseas.  So I am very thankful for the inexpensive “call around the world” phone plans!!  And then there are those family members that I don’t get along with as well.  I love and respect them, but we dont’ always see eye-to-eye.  Just like my Army family. 

And just like my biological family, I try my best to support and help them any way I can.  I have friends that are like my sisters and some like my mother.  Soldiers that remind me of uncles, brothers and fathers (although, the older I get, the less parental figures I find and the more parental I get).  We try to support each other emotionally.  We pray for each other, give hugs when needed and remember important events. 

We also help each other when things are needed.  Our unit has a meals committee that has a group of ladies that makes meals when a new baby is born, household good arrive, and when someone is in the hospital or sick.  Recently, we had a situation when a soldier was suddenly awarded custody of his two tween children.  He had been living in the barracks.  So to make their new quarters more cozy (he had gotten some items from the loan closet) we got together and found things that we could do without and they needed.  Since we just got a new grill, I cleaned up my old one (which was still in fine condition, just too small for my growing family) and bought him bbq tools, charcoal and matches.  I also included a meal of hamburgers and hot dogs — can’t have a grill with nothing to cook on it!  I also made care packages for his kids.  Not knowing them, I put a journal and pens along with toiletries and snacks.

The best part was that it wasn’t much, but they were so grateful.  They didn’t care that the grill was used or that I bought them soap.  They graciously thanked me.  Above all, it made me feel good to help out my “family”.  If it were my biological sister moving into a new home, I would send her something, so why not help my Army family.

 Another thing that never crossed my mind (until someone questioned me about it) was the soldiers rank.  Some people would think that it wasn’t right for me to do what I did because of the rank structure.  But all I saw was a family in need — and they were part of my Army family.

So when I am without my biological family, I am very thankful for the Army family that was brought to me by chance!

On this day in 1993… Vietnam Women’s Memorial

Today in 1993, the ground was broken to start the building of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.  It was a tribute that took way to long.  For so long, women in the military had been forgotten.  The memorial was official dedicated on November 11, 1993.  Please check out their site – Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation — and go and visit! 

I have respect for all of our military service members, but I think my respect and admiration is greater for the women who choose to serve.  Maybe even more for during draft-era military women — because they VOLUNTEERED!  I thank them all for doing something that I would not choose to do myself. 

Thank you ladies!  You are an inspiration to so many!  And I use you as role-models for my daughters!!

Army Family Team Building — Why I recommend everyone take these classes!!!

I big supporter of education!  So, when I heard that the Army actually gave classes that would help me understand things in the Army, I was ready to sign up!  I took my first Army Family Team Building (AFTB) class when I had been married for about 2 years.  My husband was deployed and it was me and my little 15 month old girl.  And at that time, they were not offered on-line, so you needed to attend the classes in person.  And I am glad I did!  I made friends and my daughter had free child care.  She was able to play with other children.  It gave us both something new. 

I also learned a lot!  I will admit that AFTB Level I has some areas that I thought were way basic.  And it could be possibly because I read many books and asked my husband and other wives LOTS of questions.  After taking all three levels, I ended up with a large binder of wonderful information.  I then went on to take the FRG leader training which was extremely helpful when I became a FRG leader and still comes in handy in my role as a mentor to other FRG leaders.  I had also planned on attending the training for AFTB teachers.  unfortunately, it was cancelled by an ice storm and having baby #2 and then moving and deployments and more babies stopped me.  But, if I am lucky, I will be attending the training this fall.  Then I will be able to teach these valuable classes and use my experiences as an Army wife to help others. 

So if you an opportunity to take these classes in person, do so!!  It is a great opportunity.  And if they are not available in your area or you would prefer to take them online, do that!  A little education goes a long way. 

For more information — check out it our here —> Army Family Team Building

Taking Ownership of Your Life (or Stop Blaming the Army for YOUR Problems)

Just to let you know, I am a very involved Army wife.  I volunteer with the FRG, I attend the monthly coffee group meetings, and I’m a member of our battalion steering committee.  I also help new families navigate the British school system and the health care system since I did them with little help.  I tell you this, not so you give me a pat on the back, but so that you know that I am very familiar with many aspects of the Army.  And all to familiar with people who use the Army as an excuse for why things are not going right in their lives.

While there are times that the Army “does” things to our family, I, for one, knew that my life would be different when I married a soldier.  (And we were married pre-9/11.)   Anyone who thinks that life as a spouse, child, or, even, parent of a solider is easy or glamorous, you need to walk a mile in my shoes.  On the other hand, we have some wonderful things because our spouses are in the Army.  We have health insurance, housing allowances, commissary and exchanges for shopping, child care centers just to name a few.  Is it top-notch or gold standard — no, I wouldn’t say so, but it is available.  So when a young military family complains about what the Army is “doing” to them, I get frustrated.

Recently, we have been trying to help a family with child care and medical issues because the wife is pregnant with her third child and supposed to be on bed rest.  Without getting into the particulars, she is not even willing to help herself.  She is making poor choices and not listening to the medical advice she is getting.  And when we found other wives in the unit to watch her children while her husband took her to the doctor, she refused our help — and I am not really sure why.  There may be reasons, but sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.  She’s been walked through the steps on getting her children into the CDC (child development center), but won’t do what is needed.  The soldier has been escorted to appointments to make sure things are taken care of so they can get the help, but there is never any follow through.  She just wanted the Army to let her husband not work and stay at home to care for their children.  If he had the leave, this may be possible, but he didn’t.  They finally made the decision to take their children back to the states until this pregnancy is over.  While it was their choice, she continues to blame the Army for “making” them take the children to the states, for not letting her husband take leave and for “crappy” health care.  Her husband is not going to be in the Army much longer.  I don’t think that things will get better for them.  Now, at the age of 22, her husband has a job that provides a roof over head, medical care and a steady paycheck.  With the poor economy, what types of jobs are available to him that would guarantee housing and insurance?  After all the help we have offered and all the help that has been turned down, we just can’t help anymore.  What she wants, we can not offer.  She continues to alienate herself from the military spouses that are willing to help and telling her family how awful the Army (and the rest of us) are.  So at this point, all I can do is pray for her and her children.

National Women’s History Month

I’m a little behind on this and really can not believe that I forgot that March is National Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet”. And because my family tries hard to reduce, reuse and recycle and limit our carbon imprint on the world, I love this theme.  Click here to see the White House press release.  And the following two sites have wonderful information too.  The National Women’s History Project has information on the 2009 honorees and great information on why they do what they do!  Also, to my surprise, the National Parks Service has great information on women in history and places you can go and visit to learn more.  (The have listed the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.  My family visited there on a recent trip to Atchison, Kansas and we LOVED it.)  But, since I am an Army wife, I can not just focus on the theme this year! 

As a little girl, I remember hearing the story of Molly Pitcher (aka Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley) and how she continued to fire that cannon during the Revolutionary War.  And the story of Clara Barton and how she helped create the American Red Cross.  But the only references I ever had about women in the Army was from watching M*A*S*H!!  Now that is not the best reference for learning anything about the Army, even if it is a classic TV show!!

The US Army has put together an amazing website that includes a timeline, history and profiles of all things that has to do with the history of women in the US Army.  Women in the US Army website, not only highlights women of the past, but women who are currently serving as soldiers now.  I strongly urge you to take a good look at this website.  Since I just found it today, I am going to share it with my seven-year old daughter tonight.  And I also hope that one day we will be able to visit the US Army Women’s Museum at Ft Lee, Virginia.  I hope by sharing this with my children that they will understand that they really can do anything they won’t to do — regardless of sex or race! 

I also hope that all of you will share this with young women — and men — so that they can see that amazing things in history are not just something done by the men in our history books!

Tramatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

With the untimely death of actress Natasha Richardson, I thought it was a good time to let you know that March is Tramatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. 

Tramatic Brain Injury (TBI) has been a new term that has been associated with head injuries of military members.  Well, at least, that is when I started hearing about it.  Many people didn’t know the term until Bob Woodruff, ABC New Reporter, suffered TBI in Taji, Iraq while embedded with the US Army 4th Infantry Division.  Because of Mr Woodruff’s unfortunate injuries, he was able to educate the general public on TBI and know, first hand, what soldiers face during their deployments.  In February 2007, Mr Woodruff was reporting again for ABC with the documentary “To Iraq and Back”.  (You can read about the documentary here.)  Mr Woodruff has also become a great supporter of the troops with the Bob Woodruff Foundation

While I am saddened at the death of Ms Richardson and Mr Woodruff’s injuries, their tragedies have brought the attention to injuries that our troops suffering repeatedly.  They say that every cloud has a silver lining, maybe this silver lining will bring better research and medical advancements that will help our soldiers and others that suffer from TBI.

For more information on TBI, you can check out this link at