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  • Leaving Family Behind

    I'd like to put this out there to see how others in similar situations have dealt with the emotions of leaving loved ones behind. Some background:

    I'm 37 with a wife and 4 year old twins. I've always been interested in the military, but soon after college, Corporate America started calling and I never joined. It's always been one of those nagging regrets, and over the last 6 months or so I started re-hashing it again. I met with a recruiter and OSM, and decided the time could be right to pursue the dream of OCS and 11A.

    My wife was s surprisingly easy sell - she's very supportive. Also have the support of other family/friends and work. I couldn't wait to get moving - was hoping for a May BCT date and Federal OCS in the fall or next spring, but the thought of leaving my kids behind for training, let alone a deployment, always bothered me.

    Then the delays began. First, a hospital couldn't locate records for a surgery I had when I was 10. MEPS returned the pre-screen wanting the op records, finally we had to submit letterhead from the hospital saying the records were lost, and I typed up a note describing the surgery, no complications,etc.

    Then MEPS decided to PDQ me for eczema. I'm a triathlete and spend a few hours in a pool each week, and I'm confident that 99% of my dry skin stems from chlorine exposure. My fault for not including a pre-emptive explanation of this with my packet. I do have a prescription cream that I use on occasion, but one refill easily lasts an entire year. Now the packet has been submitted to NGB; who knows if I will get a waiver or not but the process can easily be drawn out for months now.

    All this does is give me time to dwell on the tough questions. Part of me wonders if this is fate's way of saying that my job is now to be with my family. Sometimes it feels like a selfish decision to do this now, after I've already had kids. When I think about time away - 10 weeks for BCT, 12 weeks for OCS, 16-17 for I-BOLC, then pre-ranger.Ranger School, Air Assault/Airborne... the list goes on, and that doesn't even include the inevitable deployment - which would be the hardest but possibly the best part of serving. No doubt it would be an awesome experience and would fulfill a lifelong dream, but I worry that it isn't fair to the kids.

    I also know that I can't possibly be the first one to have these issues, so I'm hoping that some others will have some advice to give while I do some more soul searching and wait for the news from NGB.

  • #2
    Re: Leaving Family Behind

    I'm 41 and have a 19 month old. Start drilling this morning.
    I feel the same way, but in turn, one of the reasons I'm doing this is so my family will benefit. Cheaper health care (both of us are self-employed), retirement, New GI bill I think can be handed down to kids, etc, etc.
    Of course none of this would happen IF I didn't WANT to do this also. So, there has to be some selfishness in the decision. I share a lot of the same feelings. I also made it a whole family decision. We looked at all the pos/negs and made our decision. Again I say.....you will be the one going thru all the punishement (hooah schools), so YOU HAVE TO WANT THIS. Don't feel selfish about those feelings.
    Make it a "group" decision that everyone is on the same page about and there won't be any resentments.

    I don't sign up for the, "I have kids now thing"......push through those "road blocks" and show them you can follow though.
    By you serving in the armed forces, your children will see you progress through the ranks, schools, etc. They will be there for your accomplishments and will be there for your "failures". There is more than 1 side to life.
    You will be teaching your kids invaluable life lessons about intergrity, honor, commitment, etc....something a lot of kids these days are missing.

    Good luck on your decision and hopefully serving side-by-side....

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    • #3
      Re: Leaving Family Behind

      There's never a good time to: have children, get married, go to Basic Training, change jobs, go back to school, deploy, attend additional training, etc. It never gets easier, it never gets any less complicated. Therefore, the best time to do it is ... now. No matter what your situation, you'll always have a reason not to go.

      Have a conversation with your future self, circa 2025. What does that guy wish he would have done in 2010?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Leaving Family Behind

        Originally posted by matthew.ritchie
        There's never a good time to: have children, get married, go to Basic Training, change jobs, go back to school, deploy, attend additional training, etc. It never gets easier, it never gets any less complicated. Therefore, the best time to do it is ... now. No matter what your situation, you'll always have a reason not to go.

        Have a conversation with your future self, circa 2025. What does that guy wish he would have done in 2010?

        Wow sir that even got me to thinking about what I have been putting off and should be doing.

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        • #5
          Re: Leaving Family Behind

          Thanks to everyone for the feedback. All good things to think about!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Leaving Family Behind

            Originally posted by matthew.ritchie
            There's never a good time to: have children, get married, go to Basic Training, change jobs, go back to school, deploy, attend additional training, etc. It never gets easier, it never gets any less complicated. Therefore, the best time to do it is ... now. No matter what your situation, you'll always have a reason not to go.

            Have a conversation with your future self, circa 2025. What does that guy wish he would have done in 2010?
            So true, couldn't agree more.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Leaving Family Behind

              My situation has now changed but at the time of enlistment I was with my boyfriend of six years and his three kids were with him full time and 31 years old.

              I looked at it like this. Initial training, and even a deployment or two.... those are just a few months spent apart out of a long lifetime. Small drops in a bucket.

              I had to fight to actually get a recent deployment. They coded me wrong and took me off of the list of soldiers going. Then there were other obsticles along the way and I remember reflecting a few times... you hear these stories in the news all the time... I fought so hard to deploy, am I going to be the one that gets killed and then the hometown newspaper goes on how I fought so hard for it, its was what I wanted... blah blah... I actually had myself convinced that I just set myself up for death. Yeah that never happened. I honestly dont think it is a sign for you of any sort. It will just make it all the more enjoyable once in, thinking about how much effort you put into it. It ended up that I missed my boyfriend (I had broke up with him two months before deploying for non military reasons so technically not together) passing away while I was gone, but its all for a reason. I dont regreat it one bit. I believe that there are many things that Soldiers have missed over the years and very rare does one regreat the reasons why they are missing these events... service to their country.
              Last edited by WIBecky74; April 11th, 2010, 04:56 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Leaving Family Behind

                I'll try and keep it short...

                The best advice I can give is to let your loved ones know early early early. Let them get it in their heads what kind of time they have and what you'll be doing etc etc etc... They love you, so they will utilize whatever coping mechanisms they have to deal with it, and the earlier they can "put those wheels in motion" the better.

                Of course, we all know we don't always have the luxury of notice far in advance, but I've found that the earlier I can tell my people, the better.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Leaving Family Behind

                  As said before communication with the wife is paramount. Remember if "momma aint happy nobody is happy". Also freebie for you; In the military everything is "subject to change"! You must be very flexible and roll with the flow.

                  If you can get your household and finances in order before and during your training evolutions...It should be gravy. Before you know it you'll be done with BCT awaiting OCS relaxing with the family.

                  Good luck and keep your head in the game.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Leaving Family Behind

                    Thanks all...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Leaving Family Behind

                      I think what everyone said was right on the money, but I believe everyone missed your first sentence stating you were 37 years old.

                      The cutoff age for a Non Prior Service enlistment is 36 years old.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Leaving Family Behind

                        Originally posted by M1A1 Master Gunner
                        I think what everyone said was right on the money, but I believe everyone missed your first sentence stating you were 37 years old.

                        The cutoff age for a Non Prior Service enlistment is 36 years old.
                        I saw it an was going to mention but he must be working with a Recruiter if he has been to MEPS...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Leaving Family Behind

                          I'm going in 09S - college option - BCT and OCS. I'm still good on age.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Leaving Family Behind

                            Quick update -
                            Yesterday I found out that NGB approved the request for physical, and I went in to MEPS today. I was again DQ'd for eczema, which was not unexpected. The doc was sympathetic and did note that I don't have any active eczema, but his hands were tied since it had been documented.

                            Now the OSM will request a med waiver; just have to sit back and wait for some news. Hopefully it will be good news, but I don't know what the odds are.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Leaving Family Behind

                              I am in AIT right now and have A 1 1/2 yr old daughter and married. Its never easy leaving your family but just make sure you write as often as you can and just know that everything in the army is temporary and you will be home with them again soon. Stay strong and ask God for understanding.

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