Military Life Answers:

Answers for Family; New and Experienced

Why Should You Support The Military? A One Word Answer

Posted by Jeremy Brown on October 24, 2008


CHOICE

Yes, that is the answer to the question.  Here is how it is the answer from three different perspectives.

The Service Member

This is perhaps the best start of the discussion on why you should support the military.  It is because of the Choice of a Service Member that you should.  One sunny day a young man, barely old enough for the moniker of man will walk in off the street to a recruiter’s office.  Why is he there?  It’s unimportant in this particular discussion.  He is there, by choice, to sign up to serve his Country.  In this time of both great need and peril he makes this choice to serve his Country.  He raises a hand and swears an Oath.  It is not to a political party, a person or even a particular Divinity.  Look at the Oath.  They volunteer to go fight, leave their families for long period of time and possibly die on soil that is not their home.  Why?  Because they made a choice to do so thereby giving you the choice and chance to enjoy many freedoms, rights and privileges.

The Spouse

The next level of exploration is that near and dear to my heart, the Spouse.  You can’t choose your Family, but you sure can choose your Spouse.  Military Spouses choose to remain with their Service Members.  They do this through thick and thin, happiness and sometimes the deepest of anguish.  It is not a globe trotting thrill fest of world cuisine and European shopping.  It is nights alone with a sick child (or two).  It is weeks without contact because of a blackout order on their base in Iraq.  It is that conflicting emotion to hug the friend who just lost her Service Member fighting with the relief that this one time it was not yours.  It is the joy of Homecomings.  It is the the lingering sadness of yet another Leave taking.  It is a choice.  They make a choice to stay with that life and support that Service Member.  They make that choice because they love their Country and their Service Member.  They do this so that others can make the choice to live in the same place for twenty years and have their children go to the same school for their entire lives.

You

You may fit into one or both of the levels above, but there are others who may not.  Yet even the Service Member and the Spouse have additional ways to support the Troops.  Its easy.  Choose.  Choose whether to read this blog or not.  Choose whether to share it or not.  Choose to stand for the National Anthem.  Choose to salute the flag.  Choose to vote.  Choose your own path of spirituality.  Choose.  Remember that your ability to choose does not come cheap nor is it bargained for lightly.  That Choice has centuries of ideology, blood, grime, grit and determination on it.  Never clean it.  Be proud of it.  Cherish it.  Make a stand and choose.  Choose to support the Troops that have made a stand to support you.  They made a choice to support you.  Doesn’t it seem logical for you to choose to do the same?

Posted in Answers, Army Wife, Deployments, Family, Military Spouse, US Army | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Poverty Worldwide and What Military Families Can Do To Help

Posted by Jeremy Brown on October 15, 2008

poverty \ˈpä-vər-tē\

1 a: the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions b: renunciation as a member of a religious order of the right as an individual to own property. 3 a: debility due to malnutrition b: lack of fertility
Other possible synonyms are: dearth, destitution, scarcity, indigence, want.
Do I have your attention?  I hope so.  I can list the death tolls of poverty related social maladies, yet I won’t.  For that visit this website to become more educated of its impact.  What I will be discussing is three ways that you as an Military Family can help.  When I say Military Family it means every Soldier, single or otherwise, every Parent, Spouse, Child, Concerned Friend.  That is key, because no matter your stance on international politics, the concept of an interconnected world is undeniable.
DO
Your military base has many fantastic programs that aid those in need.  Look to your Emergency Relief Programs, Lending Lockers, Food Vouchers, Chaplain Services and many others.  These programs have limited funding, yet with your help they can accomplish more.  A single volunteer is a force multiplier.  They can instantly reach more people, stuff more envelopes, see more people and touch more lives.  Volunteer!  See your Installation Volunteer Coordinator to help out your Installation and if you can’t find them contact me so I can help point you in the right direction.
GIVE
The holiday season is upon us and it is noted that the spirit of giving is growing, but why did it ever shrink in the first place?  I encourage you to donate gently used toys to your respective Installation Gift Programs, but look also to the hospital Layette Programs and even your local Thrift Store.  Those gently used items can be sold or given to those in need.  Think of it as a cathartic way to de-clutter!
TALK
Social awareness is not a subject that is comfortable, but it shouldn’t be.  Don’t let it become the elephant in the room.  Poverty, Need or whatever term you choose to call it is prevalent and its not the purview of the Third World.  It is on your Installation, in your Battalions, Brigades, Squadrons, and Companies.  Stamp it out.  Give those who need it, direction; yet never fear to help raise consciousness that sometimes people need a hand up.  Support when they are down.  Be aware of the fact that Poverty exists in your backyard.  In your FRONT yard!  Take a stand.
I leave you with a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr.  Take a stand and isn’t your fellow human, Military Family, Friend worth taking a stand.

I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

You died when you refused to stand up for right.

You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

You died when you refused to stand up for justice.

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.

Posted in Answers, Army Wife, Family, Military Spouse, Uncategorized, Volunteer | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

AFAP Turns 25: Make a Difference the Army Way!

Posted by Jeremy Brown on October 14, 2008

Image Courtesy of Kimberly Freesland @ www.babycolt.com

Image Courtesy of Kimberly Freesland @ http://www.babycolt.com

Social consciousness is on the rise.  People are mobilizing and showing that just one person CAN make a difference.  No system can be perfect and the US Army realizes that there is always room for improvement; thus the birth and continuation of the AFAP (Army Family Action Plan).

ARMY FAMILY ACTION PLAN

The Army Family Action Plan exists as your (Soldier, Family, Civilian) avenue to bring about change in the Army or the Department of Defense.  You might recognize some of the benefits that have come from this program:

BOSS

SGLI Increased

BAH Increased by 11%

FRG Institutionalization

Family Separation Allowance Increase

AFTB

These are just some of the changes.  Go here if you would like to see more.  So you may be asking: “How do I change things?”  Well I am here to tell you how.

STEP 1:

Find or think of a problem.  Write it down.  Think of the scope of the problem.  Who does it effect?  Write down some possible solutions.

STEP 2:

Submit your AFAP issue online or to your local AFAP Coordinator.  If you don’t know who it is contact your local Army Community Service building and ask.  Don’t know where that is?  Ask me and I will help you find it!

Step 3:

Volunteer at an AFAP Conference near you.  These conferences happen on the Post and higher levels.  Ask your Volunteer Coordinator, AFAP Coordinator or just check the VMIS system at the My Army Life Too link on my sidebar.  Remember that you to can make a difference.  I leave you with a wonderful quote attributed to Margaret Meade.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Posted in AFAP, US Army, Volunteer | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Three Must Have AFTB Classes

Posted by Jeremy Brown on October 9, 2008

As some of you will notice there have been some changes here are MilitaryAnswers.  On the advice of a friend, Brett McKay, of Art of Manliness fame, I have made some format changes.  Let me know if you like the canges (i.e. title, entry format, etc).  I appreciate all your comments!  On to the Three Must Have AFTB Classes:

In our last post we discussed AFTB (Army Family Team Building) and its value as one of the many free educational services offered to Servicemembers and their Families.  Keep in mind that just becuse it is ARMY Family Team Building that it is also open to othr service branches.

Lesson 1.1 – Expectations and Impact of the Mission on Family Life

What can I say, it is the most important lesson and its the first one in the whole program.  As a soldier your mission is drilled into you, but as a Spouse those lessons can be harded earned.  They are earned from GI Parties, late nights in the Motor Pool and many missed holidays!  I am not saying that with understanding there will be acceptance, but at least you will be well on your way.

Everyone knows that lists are subjective and perhaps you may be tempted to toss this one aside because of that.  I think everyone of the AFTB classes can improve your life, yet if you don’t have the time take these classes online or arrange a concept block with your local AFTB Program Manager.

Lesson 1.5 – Basic Military Benefits and Entitlements

Whether you are new to the life or an old hat it is important to be informed of what you are entitled to and what exactly is a benefit for you.  Remember that these things change frequently so it is a great refresher course.  Also check out MyArmyBenefits to get a good glimpse into what the military is giving you.  This class will cover questions like Tricare and its applicability to pre-existing conditions and many other nagging questions.

Lesson 1.6 – Introduction to Military and Civilian Community Resources

Once you have become educated on what you have a right to request; you will need to know where to go to request those services.  This is a great class for the new to the Army or even just new to a Post.  It will outline what is available to you Army wide as well as post and community wide to serve you as a Family member or Servicemember.  Hopefully it will introduce you to the Community Action Council meeting and its dates and times.  Look for more information soon!

I welcome all your comments, diggs, stumbles and tweets!

Posted in AFTB, Answers, Army Wife, Family, Military Spouse, US Army | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

The Proverbial Horse, Water and the Salt of Life

Posted by Jeremy Brown on October 5, 2008

Dear Reader,

I pondered what the next entry should be and I came upon the best solution in my opinion.  It should start at a good beginning.  I know, right?  A remarkable bit of flow management, but perhaps I should say that I should start at the best beginning.  In my opinion that is education and for the military spouse that can lay in any number of directions.  For the Army Spouse in particular, I find that AFTB is a great start.  For the next few sessions we will be talking about education and in particular the AFTB program.  I would love to hear your feedback about the program.

For those of you unfamiliar with the program, AFTB (Army Family Team Building) was a program developed after the Gulf War by the Department of the Army when it was apprached by military spouses who expressed concerns about their own preparedness during that war.  It has evolved into a three tier program.  It begins with Level I, “Learn Army”.  It then moves to Level II “Grow” and then to Level III “Lead”.  Each level builds on the other and helps grow and develop the participant, not only in the Army Life but also as a professional and a person.  Look for the next few entries to highlight the levels as well as some other valuable education programs offered to military spouses for the best cost, FREE!

Of course that leads you to wonder about my title.  Well, along with the resiliency that I see in so many spouses there is, at times, a small (alright huge!) stubborn streak in them.  It reminds me of that adage about the horse and leading it to water.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”

Well, that is true, but life, especially military life can be very salty.  I can lead you there, but military life can make you want to take a drink.  So remember, if you lead the horse to water and it still won’t drink; feed it salt.

With Regards,

Jeremy Brown

Posted in AFTB, Family, US Army | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

The Kiss of the Ages

Posted by Jeremy Brown on October 3, 2008

Dear Reader,

Words can never describe it.  It takes your breath away and that is a fair task since you can remember holding that breath for quite some time.  What am I talking about?  The Kiss.  It can be that tender kiss of leave-taking that seals to your Soldier your hopes that they return safely and your kind wishes and regard.  It can also be that unrestrained and passionate lip-lock that lets flow the flood of many months of bottledemotion coupled with the relief that they are home safe.  I start this blog with this point because as of late it has become a focus for the life of the military spouse in the minds of many.  Either we are preparing for them to leave or we are preparing for them to return.  We hurry up….and then wait…and wait.

We wait because we love them.  We wait because we understand their sacrifice.  We understand because we commit our own sacrifices while they are away.  In my time with the military; as a brat, Soldier and Spouse, I have witnessed heroics, yet none have touched me so much as the heroics I have seen while serving as a Spouse. They stand steadfast, resolute and forever in the rear supporting their Soldiers.  For them I decided to write this blog because I want to support my fellow spouses in my own way.  I have some knowledge; I have tripped and fallen, yet I got up.  I want to share what tripped me and how to avoid it, but most of all I want to share that there is a helping hand right here in case someone needs it.

With Regards,

Jeremy Brown

Posted in Answers, Army Wife, Deployments, Family, Military Spouse, Uncategorized, US Army | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.