Monday, October 13, 2008

The Not-So-Army Wives

My husband was in the Army for 9 years. He joined in 1993, did 4 years in the Kansas National Guard, then met me on a 2 week training in Oklahoma. He then joined the Active Army in the summer of 1997. He got medically discharged after having some problems with his knees and having a CO (commanding officer) who kept pushing his promotion paper work to the side.
I have to tell you that being in the Army lifestyle is soooo much different than being in the civilian world. It was a huge adjustment for us leaving the Army. Our girls were little, only 5 and 3 when he got out, so they remember very little about it. They have vague memories about Daddy being in his green uniform and him being gone alot. He never had any deployments, but when he was in field artillary he was gone 2 to 3 weeks every month for field exercises.

When he got out, there was a long time that he and I regretted his decision to leave. We missed our friends, that sense of community, the housing (as crappy as it could be at times) and the health care.

See in the Army, if married you usually get housing on post. Which depending on which post can be really nice homes or duplexes that are newer, or older places. This is mostly free, well, it comes out of your BAQ (basic allowence for Quarters) BAQ is additional money on top of your monthly pay. If there is a long waiting list for housing than you can leave off post. BAQ is dependent on where you live, places up north or overseas will have higher BAQ. Mainly it is based on cost of living.
Living on post is like living in a town. We have gas stations called shoppettes, Wal-Mart type stores called a PX or BX if you are Air Force, and grocery stores called commissaries.
And buying on post there is no tax.
Pluses of living on post.
1. You know your neighbor has the same job as your spouse. (the Army although he may do something different.)
2. You feel safe. No one can get on post unless they are military or work on post. Or know someone who is on that post. There were so many times we slept with our doors unlocked and our windows open.
3. There is just a certain comaradery that you don't really get outside of the service.

Lately, we have been talking about how we miss the Army life. He was going back in about a year ago. He talked to a recruiter, got his phsyical, and was this close to going back in. He was going to go for his Warrant Officer training. He was an enlisted man before. And there is a big difference in the lifestyle between the 2.

We do watch Army Wives. When this series first came out, I really thought it was going to be a good show, that would show others just how tough the spouses have it, and what they go through. It does have certain things that are similar, But alot that are so far off the mark that are crazy!
I hope that most people are taking the series with a grain of salt.
Officer wives and enlisted wives would NEVER be buddy buddy with each other. I don't care what event bonded them. They would not be going over to their homes and having dinner or lunch. It is against the heirarchy of the Army. Especially one of them being the Post Commander's wife. And the PC's wife would not be asking for favors for her friends. It just doesn't happen.

I just have lately been feeling homesick for the Army and the community. Dear husband mentioned again last night that he missed it. His friends are over in Iraq right now. In fact we still talk every week with one family that we were friends with at Fort Polk, LA.
Even though I don't want him to go over there. I know he feels guilty that he is safe here and his buddies are over there. He said that if he did go back in he would be at least a year in training as a Warrant Officer and possibly reclassing into a different job.

It would be a different time for us if he were to go back in. We are 30 now and not in our 20s. We actually have life experience behind us, he would be a higher rank instead of a lowly enlisted guy.

I don't know. I miss it, but love having my husband home with me and our girls. But then I see that he could go back in a do his final 10 and retire with a check for the rest of his life.

What would you guys do? Would it be worth it to go back in if this is something that your spouse wanted to do?


Adlibby said...

I can't begin to answer that question. But follow your hearts... if it's the right thing for you, it will work out.

I will say that "going back" to something... it's not always the way you remember it. And you probably had a lot of hard times to get to the good ones. Try and reflect on the reasons that you decided to get out. Will things really be different? Will you be trading one set of problems for another? Everything is an adjustment. And everything happens for a reason. Follow your hearts. God bless.

Unknown said...

My husband was enlisted for 11 years, then became a Warrant Officer. I will tell you that it's next to impossible to get IMMEDIATE on-post housing. We live on the economy, and although we do go onpost, our kids go to school with a lot of nonarmy kids. In alot of ways, I don't feel like I belong to my "army family." You are right, though, he will get a check for the rest of his life, and if you do go overseas, you will probably get onpost housing. I hope that helps.