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Advice from NG Families...

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  • Advice from NG Families...

    Hello, I'm a 29 year-old husband and father and I'm thinking of joining the National Guard. I have a good job and my career is, for the most-part, laid out for me. However, I've always felt compelled to serve my country and I'm thinking the National Guard is the best of both worlds: I am able to maintain my job and our current home, yet serve my country. My wife is almost scared wit-less about all this. What we are looking for is for opinions and advice (good or bad) from current soldiers and their families. What is life like at home when your soldier is deployed? What is life like during a deployment when you have a wife and children? Like I said, any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank you for your help and to all current and past soldiers: we sincerely thank you for your service.

    Additional Information: We live in MO and I'm going to (want to) enter with an 11B/Option 4 (Airborne) contract. Anybody with experience know of NG units in the MO/IL/AR/IN/KS area that support Airborne Infantry?

    Thanks in advance!!

  • #2
    Re: Advice from NG Families...

    Hi JLAiello,

    Welcome to the board. This is actually a tough set of questions to answer, as everyone is different. I haven't deployed yet, but my wife and kids have still spent months with me not there. Basic, OCS and soon BOLC (officer version of AIT). Some of how it will be for you is based on your family. Are you a close family that does everything together, or a little more loose that has no problem spending time apart.

    While I'm gone my wife will develop routines and run the household as she sees fit. When I get back there is some tension because it isn't how I would necessarily do things. But we talk and communicate and work through them till we are back into a family routine again.

    When I am gone she works under the mentality each day that if she hears from me, great, if not then maybe the next day. During Basic I would write every day and send the letters 2 or 3 times a week. Kept her informed and less like I had this whole other life she knew nothing about. By the end she knew (by name) people as I introduced them during family day. I had been talking about them for 11 wks so she had a good idea about everyone and it wasn't such a mystery. Then as I went through traditional OCS I would come home and talk about the weekend, what we did, about the people, once again so that she wasn't in the dark about my drill weekends.

    There are tons of pros and cons. If you have specific questions then lot of people on the board can help answer them, but it is tough to talk about the good and bad of guard life since it can be different for everyone.


    • #3
      Re: Advice from NG Families...

      I'm not yet enlisted (should be this week!) But I wouldn't mind sharing what I've learned thus far. Be very open and patient with your wife's concerns. My wife loves me and will support any decision in my life. But I've been honest with her on the facts of time away from her, deployment, money ect. I know some people either hype up benefits or play down time away. I've been 100% with my wife on the pros and cons of military life. I've answered all her questions and I've been feeding her facts about the Army and the Guard to help her understand my choice. It may be a good idea to take her to meet your recruiter whem you get to that point.


      • #4
        Re: Advice from NG Families...

        And by her I mean your wife, not mine lol. Sorry, had to make fun of my own paragraph structure.


        • #5
          Re: Advice from NG Families...


          Military service in any form is a fantastic opportunity in a multitude of ways, but it is not for everyone. Even with your desire to go into the combat arms, some of your family's concerns likely stem from the potrayal of the military by the media and Hollywood. Perhaps the most poignant potentiality about military enlistment is the family seperation. People should ALWAYS enlist "eyes wide open" so to speak, regarding the possiblity of long periods away from home. That is in no way guaranteed, and many people have spent 20+ years in the Guard for example and have never done more than their initial service obligation and annual training requirements...but you have to accept that the possiblity is always always there. I'm sure you've done the math...on average your initial active duty will be 4 - 5 months. After that, it's anyones guess. Like others have said, deployments are different for everyone...but the one common denomonator is simply being away. I tell people that ask sometimes to try going to work in the morning and bring your sleeping bag. Then stay at work, without ever comming home. I did that for 427 days. That's the trade off that you have to ask yourself if you're willing to accept.