Monday, February 20, 2012

Deployments Easy Huh?


I briefly mentioned this in last Monday's random post. I have a friend T who has been dating a guy who is in the Air Force for 5 months. He is currently stationed at a local base so they see each other on weekends and week day evenings as schedule allows. Currently it isn't very different from dating a guy in a civilian job (kinda like when J was on shore duty I got spoiled) he isn't in immediate danger and has a 9-5 schedule so to speak. Well two weeks ago he got the heads up that he was deploying. T called a girl's night so we could help her work through it. During our 6 hour pow wow she kept saying "the deployment is easy, I know I can handle that because it's easy." At the time I just kind of nodded and smiled because she was on a roll. She said she was more worried about their relationship status and where they were headed. I get that. There is a lot of uncertainty in a relationship with a deployment but have a relationship that is still trying to define itself and add a deployment it is unnerving. Then less than a week later they learned he wasn't going because someone else was deploying instead.

After dwelling on mulling this over a bit because that's what I'm struggling with the fact that she repeatedly said deployments were easy. The sarcastic side of me wants to say "really they're easy huh? And you know this how because of all of your vast experience with deployments and the military?" But two things came to play on this first she's a friend and that isn't really a way to talk to a friend and second I heard Wife on the Roller Coaster in my head calling those of us who have more military experience to help educate those who are new. T has never been affiliated with the military she was born and raised in one place and no one close to her has ever been military. Having grown up as an Air Force brat I had a good idea of what I was getting into with J. T does not fully grasp the military life. She however thinks she gets it completely. And makes comments that could be taken wrong in certain crowds. So here are my words of wisdom for her.

Be aware of your audience. There will be times when you are in a circle with someone
whose spouse has been deployed many times with a short turnaround,
or someone whose spouse is in a very dangerous area or
you may be in a group with a spouse who lost her spouse during a deployment.
Do not assume you know how something is until you've gone through it.
It may be easy for you and that is great but most likely it will be harder than you think.
Just because I'm not a basketcase 24/7 doesn't mean I find deployment easy.
I just don't wear my emotions on my sleeve because that's not who I am.
How would you feel if I said being a single mom was easy. I'm not one. I don't know.
So I don't make comments because I don't live your life.
Listen to the advice of those who have been through it (military life).
We are more than happy to share, support, and encourage.
But don't tell us you know how it is and it is easy because you don't know yet and it isn't.
Show us respect and we will respect you.


Mrs. Duh said...

Excellent words of wisdom! When DH and I had been dating almost one year, he deployed. I didn't have any military friends or family, so I didn't exactly know what I was getting into. I remember thinking to myself, "Five months. That's no big deal! I can do that." After he was gone for five days and I didn't have any contact with him, I had a total meltdown. It hit me pretty hard how NOT easy it was going to be. Your friend is only hurting herself by living in the denial and thinking how "easy" the deployment is going to be.

You can't ever understand what deployments are like until you go through one.

Jen said...

Could it be she is trying to stay positive? (playing devils advocate here ). My husband was active duty for nine years before he had his first deployment, so while I had no clue what to expect, I did try to psych myself up.