I have seen some interesting debates online lately regarding military families and the benefits or lack thereof that we have. And frankly some of the responses I have seen in the form of comments make me very angry, to say the least.
I will not lie and say that in this economy I am not very glad to have a steady income coming in every month, as I am. And for the most part I am happy with our army life. But really , it was not going to take much to beat the POS trailer we left and the loss of jobs we were dealing with at the time. Which I suppose is what the army and other branches of military count on (that there are plenty of poor people looking to escape wherever they are) , as you just do not see too many affluent children enlisting. Do you?
But just because I am happy to have a paycheck every month does not mean that we as spouses never have the right to complain about the army's lack of care for families and that the army does not have room to improve upon itself and its policies. Because let's face it everyone of us and our government will always have room to improve.
I personally feel that families are an after thought for the head of the army and that they will only do the bare minimum necessary to appear as though they give a care about us families. But as this is just my opinion and no one Else's, believe what you will. But I also believe that some soldiers are just not a priority to them either. My Hubby has been in 10 yrs and has had multiple training schools and background checks, all at a high cost I am sure to the government. His MOS also has a low rate of retention and are way below quota on recruiting. So this would leave you to think that his MOS is in need of keeping the guys they have, especially the decorated and well liked , the ones who have proven great proficiency at their job....but I guess not. As they have made no effort whatsoever to make my Hubby want to reenlist in 2 yrs, if anything they are pushing him to want to get out.
I understand that the "needs of the army" will always come first , but I also know that they can be more accommodating to the soldier and their families if they want to. And in the 10 yrs we have been in we have never received a choice of duty station, even after we have extended our contract in order to move to a new place only to be told less than a year later that they would be closing the same base and moving us out. Did we get the year back we had extended for since they did not keep their end of the deal? No, of course not. Did we have an avenue to voice a complaint about this, No, of course not. By the time it was all said and done my hubby had to put in 7 yrs before he could even reenlist for the first time. And now we have been told where we are headed to next.......but of course the army did not go about it in the right way in my opinion. We were told that we would find out what was available and then would have some say in where we went to, but in the end the man who told us this did not do it, but instead assigned us and did not even tell us before he left (not sure if he was reassigned or pcs'd) . We found out from the new guy. And of course we have no recourse. We are stuck. And while I am praying and trying to be optimistic that they could change their minds (I mean it could happen , miracles do still exist) my hubby has already given up and written a career in the army off. His morale is so low and there is nothing I can do to help make him feel any better about it.
But anyways back to the debates I was reading.....
Frankly I am a little tired of civilian wives and even some silly military wives who say that we get way more than we deserve for what we do. And that we do not deserve them and should not feel so entitled. I personally think that the military does not receive as much as we deserve. We are horribly underpaid compared to the civilian counterparts (this is based off of my Hubby's mos alone) and are forced to be apart for great lengths of time. We are also told where we must live and most bases are in horrid locations, and tend to be in the middle of nowhere. And while I understand that there are too many people in the army for everyone to go where they want , I do feel that those with a good deal of time and seniority should receive a choice if there are options to choose from. I also feel that if you think that we get too much and do not deserve what we do get that you should really try this lifestyle. Because really if it was as great as you say it is why wouldn't you want to. If it was as fabulous as it is made out to be everyone would do it, and not just predominantly the lower income brackets. And unlike a civilian job where you have the right to quit and move on at any time we are not given that luxury. And while many civilians (like my Daddy) put themselves in harms way all the time for work, soldiers do this on foreign soil often in lands where they are not wanted, or in support of wars they themselves do not support. Army deployments are long and hard (because they have not come to the conclusion all the other branches have yet) and are absolutely terrible on the families left behind. I am a single mother for now and it is hard, especially for a wife who has come to depend on and appreciates her Hubby's help. (and once again I am not in any way saying things could not get worse, just saying things could always be better). Plus if your hubby deploys with a group like mine has, there is no real support available to me as he did not go with a large battalion; there is no frg to fall back on or really any other wives in the same boat to lean on. His unit here has been kind enough to keep up with me, but its not the same as a large unit FRG. So I think those who say we have no right to complain are the ones who should hush. While no one has the right to be Debbie Downer all the time or to the point of annoying others, there is nothing wrong with the occasional complaint. Or attempt to shed light on a situation worthy of change.
And I commend the army wife who got her complaints on the news in CO for her blog. Especially since she received some really negative responses and has continued on.
And since there is no real place for the spouse of a soldier to voice concerns and complaints to I am putting mine here. And if the army and his MOS are not concerned at all with retaining a fabulous soldier like my Hubby, that is their loss. I know that he will find something awesome and that they will appreciate his unique skills . We do not need the army to survive. I just think its a shame that they care so little, as it would not have taken much to keep him. He has never been one to make waves or get in trouble and has shown time and time again that he can do his job admirably and has the awards to prove it. He is a strong leader well liked by his men and superiors. But if the army can not appreciate that , then they do not deserve him.
And frankly I am a little over this life too, at this point. Maybe it is time to look ahead and get ready to make a change.......