Saturday, September 28, 2019

Deployments and Connections: We Can Do Better!

(My welcome home from deployment, 2009)

My friend Missy is a force of nature, a ride or die for life! We knew of each other at first because I was the assignment officer for my career field (which Missy's husband's also belong to) and I sent him to Korea without her. So at first she didn't like me at all. But then I delivered on my promise to send them to Germany after and I was forgiven.  When we got assigned to Germany also (funny how that works :-)) we got to be real live friends. Her post is in response to this article and is a call to arms to take care of our people.  Some units are great at this, some less so, but it's a good reminder to us all. It's hard work, but so necessary.

I am only sharing this to tell you my truth. In 22 years and on our 7th deployment, I have had 0 contact with command or any military agency or program in the past 6.5 months. The military wants you to believe we have all these programs that support military families during deployments but it is hogwash. They are so dependent on programs, that they can’t see the blatant failures. The deployments where I had the most support was not because someone was told to check on me but because we had a connection. I support military spouses every day, not because I have to or because they are under our command or because I am a key spouse or because I will win an award. I do so because it is the right thing to do. I am not 100% but I do what I can. 
Here comes my truth...I reached out to MilitaryOneSource in the beginning of this deployment when I saw I was on my own. I was connected with a mental health counselor who I see periodically and she has empowered me.
I’m not sure how as a military we have gone backwards in supporting families but in my own experience and opinion, we as fellow spouses and those in leadership roles have lost touch, we lack human connection. 
22 years....7 deployments....and 0 support from an institution that says it has my back yet is the same one who has done this to me. I feel like I am in a relationship where the person says I am here for you, I got you, we are in this together but yet has abandoned me; who says one thing but does the opposite.
This is why civilian institutions and individuals are critical. If you are a church, an organization or individual you are essential to people like myself. I say dump the programs that cost millions every year and teach people to connect. I have helped churches create military ministries. Where the military fails there are good people and programs out there picking up the slack.
PS I am doing great! I really am! I may be hangry right now so I am going to go eat. 😁

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