Balancing two military careers?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by SamAca10, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. SamAca10

    SamAca10 5-Year Member

    Jul 19, 2009
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    Does anyone here have experience with balancing two military careers? Is it possible or will one have to eventually get out? Thanks.
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Here at a couple years in we are doing ok. But if we can't align by 2018, then I'm going to be the one staying in. Depends very much if the careers can mesh assignments and what your own personal tolerance is with distance (along with considering how it may affect having kids if you so desire).
  3. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015 5-Year Member

    Nov 8, 2010
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    Its possible. Grew up with friends that had dual military who did just fine but they also had found ways as a family to deal with distance and conflicts. My mom got out before it became an issue in my family as that's what my parents decided was best for my brother and I.
  4. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 5-Year Member

    Jul 26, 2008
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    We did it up until I was selected for an early promotion and a school assignment and she was selected for an overseas assignment. We were looking at at least 4 years apart, probably longer than that.

    So she left the service (her choice, she was really tired of military flying and being one of only about 340 women in the field at the time) and I transitioned to an active reservist position. That was doable; I was able to serve and we were able to be together. I was told it would limit my career (darn...didn't make Major General like I hoped:rant2:) but I sure have had fun over 30 years!!! :thumb:
    (and our 25th anniversary is just around the corner!)

    USAFA '83
  5. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

    Jan 11, 2013
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    I think it is more doable when there are no children. If both stay in, and you have children, you have to have a very strong family support network, who can step in on short notice when both of you have to deploy at the same time. I personally saw situations where a family care plan was put on paper to fulfill a requirement, however, in reality they truly couldn't act on it. I worked with a situation where a single-mother pilot refused to deploy, as she wouldn't leave her daughter. I'm sure you can imagine the outcome of that one. If you both stay in for full careers, usually, one of the couple will have to make some career sacrifices to support the other one. I personally, made the decision to get out when my husband and I decided to have children, but it was a personal choice based upon what we wanted as a couple.
  6. MemberLG

    MemberLG 5-Year Member

    Jan 4, 2011
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    Balancing two careers is challenging period.

    I am very thankful to my wife that she automatically put her career in jeopardy by moving to Fort Hood after we got married. About two years later, I left the active duty and found a job in the government that allowed my wife to continue with her career.

    One of my instructors at West Point was dual military couple, her husband was also an instructor and I believe she had four or five children.
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    My husband and I did 26 years apiece, some of it apart, which we chose to do for better career advancement. I would never have asked him to give up command for me, and he would never have asked me to give it up - but that was us. There were also times when we mutually decided to take a sidestep, such as when I chose not to stay to 30 and potential promotion. Both of our 90+ year old mothers were in challenging elder care situations; it was too much for husband to handle solo. We shared the teamwork of being remote care-givers, and we agreed it was time for me to hang up my sword. There are many, many dual military career couples, and with good communications, shared goal-setting and values and a positive, adaptive approach (gee, sounds like classic advice for ANY marriage), two careers in uniform can be carved out. There are many variations, as you can see from the posts above - Reserve or Guard for one, or a mutual decision for one or both to get out. Dual military is a challenge that's been around since the mid-20th century. Used to be when women married or became pregnant, it was an automatic humanitarian discharge.... times have changed! That's also back when married women could not receive "with dependents" BAH even if they were married or had children, because the military and IRS did not consider them "heads of household." That took legal action in the 70's to fix! Your trivia for the day.
    P.S. Coming up on 32 years of marriage.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  8. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    Lt. Gen Mike Gould
    Lt.Gen John Hesterman
    Col Jeannie Flynn Lovett
    Lt. Col Nichole Malachowski

    All of them have one thing in common, they were married to military members that made the military a career. Their spouses also had great careers. I think, all of their spouses are/were at least O5 when they left.

    Flieger graduated with Hesterman, and in the AF that guy was a wow. Pinned on O5 in 14 years. O6 in 17. He has children

    Jeannie was the 1st female fighter pilot in the AF. She has kids. Her DH is also a fighter pilot in a different airframe.

    Nichole was the 1st female Thunderbird. She has twins.

    Gould was the AFA Supe, and their sons are currently ADAF.

    It is doable, but it is something that comes down to each couple when making the decision to stay or go.
  9. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad 5-Year Member

    Apr 6, 2010
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    I have been observing DS and GF. They seem to make it work. A lot of separation time over the last years but thank God for Skype. The thing that strikes me is how much they each have at stake/interest in each others life and career. They seem to be good support for each other for those daily obstacles. They seem to provide good and objective answers/persepctive to each other for these issues. I guess support is the second most important thing. I think primarily to quote John Lennon, "All you need is love," and everything else will fall into place.

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