Nine years after he got out, my husband came home and informed me he was joining the National Guard. It would be a great addition to the income and it was, after all, only one weekend a month and two weeks per year. Until 9/11.
In February of 2004, the 116th Cavalry Brigade was put on notice for deployment to Iraq. They left on June 10th and came back in November of 2005. Our community was wonderful in their welcome home and support.
Lisa is right when she underlines the fact that military life of any kind is not for the faint at heart. Our soldiers and families suffer from a divorce rate estimated at 60-70%. Over 10% of our soldiers came home unemployed. Yes, there is a law that prevents employers from discriminating against Guard members. That does not prevent layoffs or companies going out of business. Obtaining a job is more difficult now for Guard and Reserve members. Many employers do not want to hire employees that could be gone for 18 months. How do I know this? My husband is experiencing it firsthand. We are looking into the possibility of getting our own business.
For those of you considering marrying a soldier, count the cost before you do. Can you deal with being a married single parent? Can you remain faithful while they are gone? Will they remain faithful to you? If you are not 100% sure of you and your intended, don’t do it. The last thing anyone needs is divorce.
For those of you that stick it out year after year, I salute you. You are the kind of people that make our nation great.
To those politicians and media personalities that look for any negative report about a soldier to slam them as terrorists or Nazis, you have your freedom to say what you do because of a soldier. You are welcome to your opinion, but don’t ever make your claims in my presence. I will advise you to move if you don’t like it here.
I have lived the sacrifice and seen the effects of war on my husband. I have also seen the dedication and bravery of our soldiers and their families.
Do I regret my husband being in the National Guard? No. I am proud of his service and sacrifice. None of us expect sympathy or want it. We just want our soldiers to be respected like we respect them.