This is a rant. If you're not interested in reading about what upsets me, there will be no hard feelings and you may of course continue on your merry way (or read some other posts...whatever floats your boat).
Today's topic is the growing irritation directed towards military members and dependents that refuse to entertain the idea of moving overseas and/or do everything possible to get out of deployments. I know that this sentence has already upset quite a few people; please let me explain.
I am prior active duty Air Force, and my husband is still in the Air Force as an NCO. Timmy has deployed twice in his 6 years and I deployed once during my four. We have both been extremely lucky having only been separated twice in the entire time we've known each other, and even those two deployments were extremely trying on our relationship. I absolutely hate the rate of deployment for the Air Force at the moment, particularly the 2T2 career field, and I definitely wish that our men and women could spend more time at home before being shipped off to the Middle East again. HOWEVER. If they were to tell Timmy today that he had to leave at the end of the week for Afghanistan (therefore postponing our PCS to Germany) then obviously he would go. I would not ask him to injure himself or to make up some phantom illness or mental disease, I would not beg for them to send someone else in his place, and I may moan and groan and cry about how unfair it is, but the bottom line is that we signed up for the military lifestyle, and that scenario is part of it. I understand that I don't have children, and I'm absolutely positive that it is a million times harder to watch your spouse deploy when you have to stay home with kids that want to know where mommy or daddy are, but unfortunately, you chose to be a part of the military community. If you did not want your spouse to leave for six (or more) months at a time, then you should not have decided that they join. Yes, I know the excuses: Joining the military got us out of a horrible lifestyle, we needed a way to pay for school, we couldn't find any other job opportunities, etc. etc. I completely understand all of that, and empathize completely. But your security comes with a price: deployments, TDYs, training days, 12 hour shifts, no holidays off, working weekends, missing birthdays, leaving at the drop of a hat. It is difficult, but isn't knowing that you're much better off now worth him being gone for a few months? And even if it's not, the fact that he signed a contract and is obligated to go should change your point of view. I get that it sucks. I get that it's hard. I get that being told that you put yourself into the position is a little bitter, but take a look at it this way. The Army deploys for a year at a time. The Marines deploy for who knows how long at a much higher rate with a much more dangerous mission. The Navy puts the majority of their people on ships and expects them to not go crazy. Six months in the desert in relative safety is a helluva lot better than it could be.
Second is the straight out refusal to PCS anywhere overseas. Once again, you signed up for this job as either active duty or as a dependent and expected to spend your entire life in the States? What is the point of that?! I've heard the millions of excuses for this one as well; our family is all in the US, we want our children to see their grandparents, all of our friends are here, I don't know the language...Here are my answers. Overseas military communities are much more closely knit than those stateside. They are willing to help you find homes in the local area, give you tours of the base and surrounding villages, etc. Learning the language isn't necessary, you'll have everything you need on base. You can make new friends and keep in touch with old ones via the amazing technological advancements that have been made over the last few years. And family. The majority of military families I know don't live near their hometown (unless you're one of the weird ones that went back home after basic and Tech school), so in reality, you only see your family once or twice a year, if that. Did you know that while stationed over seas, you have two (2 week) periods that you are ENTITLED to, to take leave and go home? By HOP? So that excuse is moot. You'd probably go home more often while over seas than you did while in the States. But you might be right, it's just not worth enriching your childrens' cultural senses and experience in a place they will never have the chance to see or visit again.
I am not very eloquent, nor am I a very fantastic writer. These are just my opinions. I know that there are special circumstances to each situation (special needs children, parents that live with you, etc.) but my thoughts are related to the average military household. There are many factors that I chose not to mention just due to the fact that the blog would then be a hundred pages long instead of just one entry. I promise I wasn't trying to offend anyone, this is simply something that has been building up since I joined the military and subsequently have been privy to a multitude of reasons, excuses, and plots to send another family man in place of themselves on deployment. Feel free to leave a comment; I voiced my opinion, now I would love to hear yours.