family

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by navy2016, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Messages:
    609
    Likes Received:
    2
    Is it complicated to raise a family as an officer in any of the service branches?

    Also if ur wife is also an officer, she cant have children?
    or is it better off to marry a civilian


    I was wondering how much does a military career conflict with family.
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2008
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    343
    I am the son of a flag officer with 30 years of service, my grandfather served 41 years...

    Is it complicated for a family in the military? Yes. Is it complicated anywhere else? Yes. The services add a different aspect of "difficulty" at times, but at other times it aids you greatly.

    If your wife is an officer, there are no restrictions on childbearing; there are no restrictions on enlisted members either: we ALL have families! A civilian or military spouse is your choice and hers/his, nobody else's. There are difficulties with a "dual military" marriage when it comes to assignments, career choices, etc., but you deal with that. FYI...my wife and I were both pilots on active duty at the same time and YES, we had difficulties...we were based apart for several years, twice. It's part of the job sometimes. But it was OUR choice.

    So I guess I'd say a military family is no different from a civilian one in many ways and very different in others. But it's NOT untenable...

    Pima...you're better at this than I for perspective...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    First, the AD spouse can have kids, even FIFI (1st female Thunderbird) is currently expecting her first kids (twins).

    I know many female officers with children. The problem that occurs in a dual AD marriage is deployments because theoretically you both can be sent at the same time or one right after the other.

    It is even common now for the guys to resign their commission and be the stay at home Dad. I know several, more than I can count on both hands. The reason why is that at a certain point they both look at their career progression and decide which one has a better chance for tracking further in promotion, and which one really wants to stay.

    The hard part for dual AD marriage is that the military only guarantees a joint assignment in the same theater. Jeannie Flynn is a prime example. Her husband is a 16 pilot and stationed at Shaw, SC she is a Strike Eagle pilot and stationed at SJAFB, NC. Hard to have a marriage and kids if you live in 2 different states. They were both offered commands and so they decided to do a "I'll see you on weekends" marriage.

    As for family, the one thing I absolutely love above having children in the military is the children seem to have more innocence than what is typical in society. They really have the 1950 Leave It to Beaver family. I don't know why, maybe it is because the only constant in their life is family and the families they associate with also have the same commonality. Don't get me wrong there is no halo on their heads, but it really is a societal difference. I see it everytime I see the difference between our children and my nieces and nephews. Their family is not blood to them it is family that they had the privilege to choose. Additionally the reason the military family is very close knit is because when they move the first few weeks the only friends they really have are their siblings. Their siblings also are there experiencing the exact same thing...moves and deployments. They are the only ones that can truly understand what each other is experiencing, even the parent can't understand to the point that the sibling does. This all put together creates a very tight bond between them. To this day with our DS off at college and DD going to college they text each other everyday. They fight like cats and dogs, but there is that bond.

    There will be time that the kids will hate you for making them move and leave their friends, but now with our kids at 20, 18 and 16 they love the fact that kids think it is cool they were born in England, or lived in AK. (Remember we are recent retirees, so this is their 1st exposure to non-military kids). They thought Dad flying a fighter was something ever parent did, now when they say Dad flew the Strike Eagle and works on the 35 other kids oh and ah over that. The funniest story was when my kids told me that their friend had said that's so cool, my Dad is just is a mgr. I know the parents ---DAD is the VP of the 3rd largest defense contracting company:shake: Bullet now working on the 35 works in that company and he reports to the boss that reports to him:rolleyes:

    As Flieger stated having a family is hard in the military, but he is correct it is just as hard in the real world. The issues are the same...peer pressure, finding baby sitters, daycare, etc. and there are different ones too.

    To me military kids have one thing that not being in the military kids don't. They have a resilience. They are typically not shy because they have spent their entire life making new friends and re-starting their life. To them they are the 1st to say hello to the new student because they were that new student over and over again.

    One thing to realize is the hardest part will be on your shoulders. You will be the one that leaves a lot and miss important things in their life. Bullet was deployed 120 days short notice and missed our DS1's First Communion. He was in ONW when his father had to take our DD for the Father Daughter dance. He was in Iraq when the cat died. Those are our memories he lost out on. To drive it home, he missed every Halloween from the time our youngest was 6 mos old until he was 7. He was so excited to take the kids trick or treating, only to go 1 block and be ditched by our 9 yo so she could go with her BFF and our 11 yo so he could with his buds. He came home with the saddest face because he realized he never had those memories, and I did.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  4. plmmar

    plmmar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    0
    From your name I would guess you are going Navy.
    Although not an officer, my Dad was in the Navy 22 years.
    He was on carriers so he was gone for long stretches of time.
    We moved frequently-I attended 8 different schools if I remember correctly.
    The positive side is that you gain an interesting perspective of the country and people having seen many parts of it. You become more objective and less prejudiced. On the negative side-you find it hard to identify with any particular area or group of people outside of the military. It helps to have roots somewhere in your family tree to help you stay grounded.
    I can't agree about the outgoing part-always was shy and it was difficult to make friends in new places-you don't necessarily go to school with other military kids. All in all though I am glad to have had the experiences of living in different parts of the country. I would have been bored growing up in one place all my life.
    Is it hard to have a family in the military-I would say yes. Personally, when I had children I got out after 13 years to raise my kids. I didn't want my kids to be raised by someone else and felt it was my responsibility. Everyone has to weigh this decision for themselves. It comes down to what is most important to you and your spouse. Good luck.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    This is very true for many people at different points of their life.

    Bullet could have stayed in or gotten different commands, but they came with a price, and that price was up rooting the kids within a yr at middle/high school grades. We sat down together and made a decision together. He rejected command offers because he could not ask the kids to move 7 months later.

    He bailed (retired) because if he stayed we knew that we would litter our children across the country. As a cadet think about it, if your folks move to a new state while you are a C4C would you have any friends there? Of course not! You would have no ties to that town, except for your family. That new base would not be home to you, for you your friends would be in the town you graduated from and at 18/19 you want them more than the folks. Now, understand that as parents you could retire in VA, Child 1 graduated in TX, Child 2 graduated in CA and Child 3 graduated in FL. None of you would be near each other and the children who may not go military will live their lives and rarely see their siblings in the different state.

    I am a brutally honest person. I will say that Bullet could have gone much farther in his career, but I held him back. I happily moved and wiped tears away from our kids eyes, but I did put my foot down when he approached 19 and said we will be old and gray "do you want to visit our children living in different states?" "Do you want to litter them around the world for you?" He was offered a command 8 mos after hitting the station, but we would have had to move again. It would have been the 3rd HS for DS1 as a Soph. On top of that we would PCS again before he graduated. In other words at least 4 HS, MAYBE 5! I just could not do that no matter how much Bullet loved the AF. Bullet also decided that no matter how much he loved the AF he loved us more.

    I know that is harsh, but it is also important to understand what the family members give up so you can live your dream.

    I have no regrets because I am a vocal spouse, and I loved every minute, but like I said I believe I called the ball and told Bullet it is now time to understand we as a family put life on hold for your dream, and the dream needs to end. I gave up a career,the kids moved and made new friends all for "your dream". No regrets, because without his dream I would have never lived in England, the kids would have never seen AK or KS or NC. HOWEVER, it is important to acknowledge that you are a family. We may suck it in and follow you around to follow your dream, but we are not baggage.

    I think it is also important to listen to the spouse. If she hates the life don't fool yourself, she is not going to change and your marriage will suck. I was fortunate, Bullet always included my opinions in his decisions, down to the pt where he would call and say I have a good deal TDY do you mind if I go? (I always laughed, always said yes, but I appreciated him asking).Military marriages fail IMHO because the AD member is self absorbed and believes their career takes priority over the family.


    I loved every second, maybe if we had kids later (I was pregnant with DS 1 when Bullet was an O1---born when he was O2, DD when he was O2 and DS2 when he was O3) I would have said "YES" to PCSing 7 months later, but had we accepted the assignment our eldest would have gone to 4 High Schools in 4 yrs, and the military is not worth that toll on a child.

    I met Bullet the night after my HS graduation, we were college sweethearts. I remember walking down the aisle and my biggest concern was he would die in a crash. 20 yrs later and I realize that my fear was idiotic. I CHOSE to marry him, OUR children had no choice. They were forced to live the military life, not only that but at a young age they were expected to understand crap (PCS, TDY and REMOTES) that adults have problems with reconciliation.

    Want to know who the real military heroes are? The children because they never had a choice or an option, they just accepted this is life, be it 8 schools or moving as a jr in hs and missing prom, they just said OKAY! Imagine moving as a jr in MAY you can't take the SAT because you are living in a hotel and in a new town, thus you are forced to wait until September when the SAT board starts again....SORRY you are behind the 8 ball, because you moved!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  6. Eagle 1

    Eagle 1 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    6
    I'm just curious. Officer/enlisted fraternization is not allowed right? How does that work out if in a marriage one is an officer and one is enlisted?
     
  7. plmmar

    plmmar Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know an enlisted member that got out and then she married the officer.
     
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,756
    Likes Received:
    1,005
    Prior relationships are accepted and legal. Let's say two petty officers are dating, they marry and one goes off to OCS and received her commission.

    Officers and enlisted frat cases are a good way to quickly end a career. It's not always opposite sex, and it's not always a sexual, romantic relationship...could be just "hanging out".
     
  9. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,153
    Likes Received:
    113
    Yep, and then it becomes way awkward for everyone in both commands. Bringing the spouse to officer functions if they are enlisted or to enlisted functions if they are the officer. It can get a little weird sometimes, but usually works out just fine.
     
  10. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    1
    Curious- if both spouses are officers, what is common plan in place for if they are both deployed. Do they have a designated relative, usually, who has agreed to care for their kid(s) if both are deployed?
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    In the flying world, they typically have married flyers in different squadrons, thus it would be uncommon for both of you to deploy at the same time. For example, there is a married couple at SJAFB, she is in one operational squadron and he is in the other. Rotations work like this...Rockets go, Chiefs stay back, Rockets are then replaced by the Chiefs and they stay back. It is theoretical to actually be separated for a yr if the deployments are 6 months long.

    I also know couples that if the spouse gets deployed the other one will volunteer for deployment too. This is not so they can stay together, but they do it so they don't have the overlapping of 2 separate deployments.

    As far as children, yes, you automatically have something put into place. However, typically people will resign their commissioning so they don't have to impose on family members for an extended babysitting need.
     
  12. House06

    House06 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0
    yes, you are required to have a family care plan, in the case that both service members ( or a single parent service member) are deployed, away on temporary duty or conducting "field exercises".

    This officially came into effect, during Desert Storm ( Army- for my experience) when suddenly many families found themselves both deployed without someone to watch children, or single parent service members found themselves scrambling to make arrangements for children.


    Dual service career marriages and families are certainly doable but take lots of patience, understanding and flexibility as well as a very good support system of other family members, friends, etc.

    It can be a very rewarding and challenging life experience.
     

Share This Page