Military Wives: How Much Comfort is Too Much?
By Six Jayne
Times have changed so much from when my mom was a military wife.
I could remember hearing stories of how she would drag me as a 1-year old baby and my older brother down to a Red Cross tent to sit for hours waiting to see if my father got to call back to talk to family. She still has old cassette looking things filled with him talking to her from some faraway place that took weeks to arrive.
There’s a small photo album—one of those old ones that have the plastic sheet you fold over pictures—filled with pictures of his time in service before he was killed in action. I used to laugh at how she told me she’d get ready for a night out or clean the house, but it was just for him coming home from work. She cherishes each and every memory. It’s almost heart breaking to watch her drift away in her thoughts, but the smile that forms on her face makes it all better.
So what’s changed? People still marry service members. They still have post housing. Still get medical coverage. And people still deploy to faraway places.
Enter the new world of technology and era of military.
With advances in communications, people are able to see loved ones all over the world instantly. People can video call, text, email, send pictures, and all almost instantly. There’s comfort for soul to see your spouse’s face from 6ooo miles away, and no doubt it comforts the deployed as well. It becomes almost expected to be able to talk to someone while deployed. It’s almost like calling grandma a few states over.
But how much comfort is too much? There’s been countless ‘actions’ that have affected the military world. Pictures being leaked out, videos uploaded, and let’s not forget the unintentional OPSEC broken by those back home uploading what’s sent to them.
Ever had your return delayed because of an OPSEC no-no? It sucks. Sure it may not be something intended by a loved one—they just wanted to upload a picture sent to them showing their Soldier standing somewhere in Afghanistan with his interpreters. They didn’t mean to violate anything or jeopardize lives. They were just being proud and wanted to show the world. “Let me post this on Facebook for 8 billion jillion people to see. And never mind that my profile lists me as married, my husband’s name, our location, map points of where I’ve been lately, and that I’ll be alone because he’s deployed because I listed his unit name and company.”
That leads me to this ‘new era’ of military. I 100% agree that it is a morale booster for those serving to be able to include their family in things. It builds cohesion and all that stuff that makes a family strong. Branches spend money to hold events for spouses, outings, and all kind of activities so that they feel they are welcome and appreciated. But what was started to increase the moral has quickly become a rabid overtaking of entitlement.
Don’t get me wrong, I know and have experienced deployments and military life. It can take a toll. But how much inclusion is needed? You have spouses that call command for minor things—things that take away from a unit/company work day. All you have to do is browse through social networks to see an infinite number of spouse pages sharing information.
Sure, some of it is great info to keep people in the know. Some of it is a little too much.
Because of this inclusion we have a plethora of spouses running around doing some pretty silly things. We’ve all heard it before, that spouse saying “why aren’t you saluting me as I come through the gate? My husband is an officer.” Or the “I’m going to call your husband’s command on you!” when 2 wives get into an online e-fight over something.
What’s happening all over is that SOME spouses are taking things a bit too literal and beginning to get that entitled air about them. Some feel the need to shove it down throats of anyone close enough to hear. They have to advertise it by wearing PT shirts, carrying ‘bragbags’ to show name and rank, and a ton of moto things shouting out they are a spouse of service member.
I can’t leave out the ones who expect things. Holidays are often the craziest. Times are hard and people do what they can to get by. But to see military spouses complaining they didn’t get a free tree or a free turkey… Come on, now. How about those that vent they didn’t get that discount in a store because it’s only offered to active personnel? “But I serve, too!”
*Pause to let that sink in*
What’s so bad about just being a loving spouse? One who cares and raises the family. Why does someone feel this need to separate themselves by saying “Military Spouse.” And why do they feel they deserve more than any other spouse out there? Is a military spouse more loving than a Sanitary Worker Wife? Or a wife of a Wal-Mart Sporting goods manager?
As my mom would say in her thick Asian accent “they so crazy. Why they think they be something else, huh. They a wife. Why not be proud of that?”