Jay felt the need to get me the CD “These Boots” by Jacey Eckhart. It claims it’s “A spouse’s guide to stepping up and standing tall during deployment.”
I had absolutely no desire to listen to this thing. However, given the stress levels currently, I thought I would just so I could say I did.
Didn’t like it. Not one bit. It was a pure gloss-over. I’ve been through a number of deployments. Each and every one was different — not only the assignments, but the pre / post deployment stuff, the command, etc.
Maybe it’s because they are a Navy family? Some of the things she stated, I had never heard of being done in the Army. She also attacks this as a “unit” deployment. Now, Jay has been deployed 4 times previously, only twice as a “unit” and one of those he was advance of the main unit, so I don’t know that it counts.
Predeployment — she talks about the training before the actual deployment. She almost makes it sound fun – for the soldier. Jay had 2 months notice before this current deployment — with the trips for training, we lose a month of his time. And not a solid month that’s just tacked onto the deployment. NO! We get this back and forth mess. Did you know when our soldier is away for a week’s period of time (or more) it takes him and the kids approximately 2-3 days to get back in the groove with each other? Yep, makes for a great time when you are constantly trying to get back in the groove while preparing for another departure.
From here she goes into 5 things the family should do during the predeployment phase.
Rally friends: Yeah, right! Of the times Jay has been deployed, I’ve only once had local friends. One time, we had just moved to a new country and he was deployed (and we were off post). Here we go though, I shall give it a shot. I have, huh, look at that, 1 local friend, and she’s insanely busy AND as she’s lived here all her life, she has quite a friend base.
Visit the unit: Why? Oh, again she’s talking about the “unit”. Jay is not going as a unit, there are no family predeployment briefs. She does point out you need POC (point of contact) information for the unit.
Visit the family: (the soldiers) Not happening. No time. Wouldn’t want to if there was, neither would he. He would not like it one bit. Not that he doesn’t love his family (or that I don’t), but the stress he puts himself under as soon as he finds out about a deployment. . .Nope, definately would not be a good thing!
Paperwork: AARGH! What a gloss-over! Oh, and to top it off, she says that the “unit” will ensure that it’s done! NEVER! Not once has the “unit” ensured that paperwork was done for me, or even provided to me. I asked a number of my military friends this (all Army); they hadn’t had the “priviledge” of this service either. This needs going over, so I’m going to detail this point. She mentions 3 things, I will state them, as well as others.
- Will (yours)
- POA (power of attorney)
- Financial arrangments (payment of bills, managing of income and outgo, etc.)
- Determine and get consent of short term guardian (detail this in your will). Short term guardian is the local person who will take care of your children should something happen to you (injury, illness, death), until a “long-term” guardian can come take over (like grandparents). They (both) should probably have a POAs as well.
- POC (she mentioned that above)
- Red Cross number (and if you have to call them, you will have to give them the POC information)
- Form a safety net. Sort of like the “rally of friends” above. Except they don’t have to be local, they just need to have daily contact with you (email, phone, face to face — preferably a certain time frame every day). ESPECIALLY if you have young children! If you were to fall down the stairs and slip into a coma and no one is checking on you daily. . . They need to have POC, Red Cross and soldier information too — just in case.
Living Simply: Yeah, right on that one. Could you please get the service to cooperate? I mean, after all they are the ones complicating my life. Not by the deployment. Nope, I’m prepared for that. But, the predeployment mess has got us all up in arms.
Then it goes into the deployment, the waiting, taking care of the kids, and homecoming. . .maybe helpful to someone who hasn’t BTDT.
I will tell you this, I don’t know anyone who had the homecoming they imagined. And she states that. I don’t think anyone believes you till they’ve actually done a deployment and homecoming though.
This got rather long. Probably why the CD appeared to have simply gone over things. There is just too much to detail.