Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Deployment Question #5--Staying In?

Gunner loves the Army.  He hates the stupidity of some upper level leaders, but he likes his job.  

When Gunner deployed to Bosnia, he left 2 days before our first anniversary.  After that, besides field time and an occasional TDY, he was home until 2003.  

Obviously at this point, he has been in long enough that he is entertaining the idea of retiring in the next 5 years or so.  

I would have to say that one of the duty stations that offered us the most time together, was Fort Lewis.  When he reenlisted, they even gave him 6 months of PT only, so that he could go to school fulltime.  That would never happen today!  Germany--he was gone ALL THE TIME.  Of course Hood started us on deployments, enough said.

Sometimes I wonder what we would have done if he had joined in 2003 or shortly before and we had 20 years left of this deployment schedule--one year home, one year gone.  Would I have encouraged him to stay?  Would he have wanted to stay?

For those of you entering the military life, do you want your Soldier to stay in or are you ready for him to finish his enlistment?  For those that are on the tail end of a military career, how would the deployment schedule of today affected your outlook as a new military wife?

On a side note, what's your best reenlistment story?  Gunner has reenlisted in the middle of a creek, on a wire cable over a rushing river, by the Tigres river, in Iraqi in one of those old structures whose name I can't recall, in front of his company and a news crew in Germany, and a few other places. I love hearing the unusual places that people reenlist!


Anonymous said...

Well my hubs enlisted a month before we met so I have been with him as a friend, girl friend, fiance, and wife through pretty much all of it. Really, we considered him getting out or staying guard and we couldn't find jobs that were worth it. We were too young to do what we wanted (he wanted to go metro PD) and too old to do other jobs. He tried self employment (selling life insurance) but that cost us more money than he made and hurt our relationship more than anything. (This was after coming home from a National Guard activation that lasted 2 years). So we decided to go active and see where the Army takes us. It sucks balls with deployments and him missing things but it is our life and I can't imagine still being in our hometown with our high school friends. It seems like a different lifetime that we were a part of that.

When his ETS date comes around he will have 11 years service/9 years active so we have pretty much decided to just stay in and ride out the last half of this. It is a pretty good life despite deployments. While he doesn't always like what is going on, he does his job well and likes being in the position he is in most of the time. There are those few that make him crazy but that will be anywhere!

And our daughter is 4 1/2 and has seen so much more than her teacher has even seen I'm sure. She still talks about certain things and how she wants to go back to see them again. And how she wants to show new baby stuff.

I hope that answered your question(s). I enjoy reading what everybody else has to say with these posts and comments too!

Allison @ I heart Change said...

My husband signed up for 6 years and once those are completed he is going to get out.

He joined because he wanted to make a difference, and he feels he has. He also feels the Army has opened a lot of doors for him - like getting a teacher certification more affordable. And he is going to take advantage of some of those doors.

We have not had a deployment. But I can't imagine going through the pattern of one year here, one year gone. I don't think I'd care for that at all.

On a Journey said...

Dh re-enlisted at one of Alexander the Great's forts in Afghanistan. The pictures were cool...but I would not have wanted to make the trek up the side of that cliff. Bleh.

Lindsey said...

We DID make this decision already. Back in 2004, he decided to get out of active duty and become a civilian because he was deploying so much he was missing most of the kids' childhoods. He became a reservist and during his last year as a reservist, he was called up to be mobilized. The problem was that he wasn't going to be on a ship like most Navy Sailors, nooooo, this was worse. He was going to be trained as a soldier and sent over there to be on the ground. Not to mention that the Navy only has 6 month deployments whereas this is going to be at least a year and a half. So. Yeah, we had already made the decision for him to get out and spend more time with the family but the Navy decided for us that he was going to stay in.

As for making the decision again, we don't know. At the end of this deployment he will be 5 years or so from retirement. So, that nice paycheck for the rest of our lives sounds kinda nice. Anyway, that's our story.

Alisha and Mark said...

I am a fellow Army wife and I love reading your blog! This is a great question. My husband entered the Army in 2003, so it has pretty much been a revolving door in and out of Iraq. We keep thinking that it has to end soon and these deployments can't go on forever, but unfortunately I doubt that is the case. His ETS date is this August and we are trying to decide what to do. It is a tough call...7 years in, possibly more deployments, the sketchy economy, is it really better on the other side? We are coming up on 9 months down in this deployment and the thought of doing this again frightens me!
Love your blog!

Mallory said...

I am a full supporter of my husband going career. This fall will be 3 years in and though time apart sucks, my husband loves the Army and honestly, I do to. I can't really imagine us anywhere else.

dutchgirl (Ellen) said...

From the perspective of a tail-ender (gah, it pains me to even type that) I think that today's optempo would have changed our minds. I mean, when we were dating and got married, going to Korea was a big deal! Now it's a vacation! The Army has changed so much since those days. Not always for the worse, either, there are some things, optempo aside, that are much better than they were then...I'm just not sure that it's enough to offset the strain on families.

Courtney said...

We are pretty brand new to this life as hubby has just passed his 1yr anniversary of his enlistment. We are older though, and have had a good idea of what civi life is all about. We are at Lewis right now (I LOVE IT HERE!) and have been lucky enough to still not have a deployment. *knock on wood*

We have kids with many medical issues, so for us the uncertain economy and health care is just too scary!

I hear, not sure when it will be official, that they are switching the deployment rotations to 9 months deployed, 24 months home... I think that might help when reenlistment time rolls around!

Wiley said...

DM is at the tail end of his Army career (yikes, that's scary to write!), while I'm new to this milspouse thing. I think the deployment schedule has been a big factor in DM seriously thinking about retiring in a couple of years. As a couple, we have hardly spent any time together at all, and while we both like the Army (and mostly like the Army life) the fact that we have physically been together for only 6 months in the past 4 years blows majorly. And the deployments make the other annoying things about Army life intensely frustrating, so I think right now we're just sucking up the next few years to retirement - but we're not looking forward to them. And it saddens me to write that.
I don't know how much our thoughts would change if we were at the start of a career, though. The fact that DM can retire in a couple of years with all the associated benefits is a big motivator to stick with it. If we were new at this, today I think we'd throw it in. But tomorrow we'd probably be up for staying...

The Mrs. said...

flyboys thought a lot about getting out but when it comes down to it, much as he hates some of the stupidity, I don't think he'd be happy if he walked away from flying. {Not to mention we are at 12 years now so its a bit of a moot point}

His schedule isnt so much one year here one year gone, he's done three deployments so we've done that but his schedule is more of a constant things, here one day, gone the next, lather rinse repeat. That wears on you and he's thought about going to a nonflying mos for more family time but yet.... nothing comes of it... because like I said, I just don't think he'd be happy if he wasnt flying. And as much as I don't always like it... I can understand that.

so here we are for a few more years.

Dawna said...

Coming to you via Lindsey over Just another Milspouse surviving deployment... :-) And will now be following you. :-)

We have 3 years left until retirement. The military life has afforded us opportunities that we wouldn't have otherwise had, but in all honesty? We're both very much looking forward to his retiring, settling down and no longer being separated...