The National Guard Drill Blues

Since my baby left me,
To head upstate to drill,
I’ve found that I have
just about about had my fill…

We’ve looked at military family life from the active duty and National Guard perspectives.  And there are definitely pros and cons to each.  On Active Duty, my husband had one job–Army officer.  Now he has at least two, serving as an Assistant District Attorney by “day” and a National Guard Field Artillery Commander by night (or at least one weekend a month, two weeks a year).  My concentration is similarly divided as I am a full time stay-at-home mom who also squeezes in part-time work as an Educational Consultant and Writer somewhere around the margins.  This creates a sort of frenetic activity and tight scheduling around our household that seems more suited to a war room.

On Active Duty, our medical co-pays were next to nil because we lived near a post with a military treatment facility. Now, taking two kids to a check-up practically requires a credit-check.  And I hear that our county health care plan is one of the “Cadillac” plans.  Because, you know, county employees and their families…we be rollin’ in the Benjamins.

Of course, we have a lot more predictability to my husband’s temporary absences.  Generally we have a head’s up before field exercises and there is some understanding that my husband has a life outside of the military.

In terms of family support, I have been blessed with good FRGs on both sides–but a “good” FRG in the National Guard still means we really only see other family members twice a year.

And even though the military exerted more influence over our lives on Active Duty, it was at least a constant influence.  With the National Guard, just as we get settled into a routine, off my husband goes again…answering the call of duty.

And when it comes down to it, that’s the type of man I married, and the one who is a caring husband and involved father.

Overall, we love being a military family and are very proud of our soldier–on active duty and in the National Guard–and wouldn’t have it any other way.

How about you? What has been your experience with the demands and benefits of being part of a military family?

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9 comments

  1. Amanda says:

    (((HUGS))) Command time can be especially hard in the Guard. We’ve done both as well, and are now AGR, so it’s the “best” of both worlds. You’re dead on about the co-pays for health care (even if you have Tricare Reserve Select), the time away, and the FRG though. We have yet to have a good FRG in a Guard unit. I’m just glad my husband is actually home. They lied to us when they said “one weekend a month, two weeks a year.” When he was traditional Guard, we’d go months without him having a day off at all between both jobs, and his “civilain job was as a gov’t contractor teaching ROTC.

  2. Candace says:

    @Amanda — I’m in the middle of one of those several month periods where my husband has been gone almost every weekend. A two-week drill, surrounded by a four week drill and some extra classes plus some extra work for his full-time job plus some volunteering…and I guess I’m just missing him!

    We did sign on for this, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…but I can throw a short MilSpouses only pity party on my blog, right?

    Pot luck, I’ll bring the dip.

  3. faith says:

    my fiancee is national guard, and has only ever been – no active duty in our past. he is a police officer in his regular job, so a set schedule has never been. and although he is on deployment now and times are hard, i thank god our FRG has such great members that we can come together across an entire state to get through it!

  4. rachael says:

    My husband is AGR national guard.
    I call it the great inbetween. People don’t understand that my husband is not a civilian, but he is not in the active army either.
    It is hard being a national guard family. having to explain that it isn’t the same thing as being active army, bt at the same time it is.
    They are in pre-deployment phase and he has been gone 2 weeks out of every month on TDY since Jan.
    I haven’t known the other side of being a military wife in the active army, and I never will, but sometimse I think there would be a lot more support for our family if we were active army.

  5. Marie Beahm says:

    My husband and I are having to move but we do not have the resources to do so on the financial side of things we are needing a place by no later then the 20th of Aug. He has been out of work since Sept. 2009 and we have used every penny we had to keep us til this point we are now not knowing what we are going to do. He is set to deploy in November with his unit and well right now we are going to have no place to live I have no family nor does he to help or stay with is there any help out there for us? Can some one please tell us what to do and were to go. When he re enlisted we were told alot of things that we not true and well he was going to go back full time army but was told the help here was better. I dont see it that was since we have talked to alot of people about help at his unit and everyone says there is help for him but not the wife of kids..PLease help with out a place to live as of the 20th of this Aug. 2010. Thank You for your time Marie

  6. Candace says:

    @Marie

    In what state are you National Guard? Your state national guard office should have personnel dedicated to family support who should be able to point you in the right direction.

    When he deploys, he should be getting a steady paycheck as well as additional allowances to help support the family. Make sure these will be deposited into an account you can access.

    You should be able to get a place, demonstrating that he will have a steady paycheck in a certain amount.

    My recommendation is always to call Military OneSource. They are a great resource for all military families and have Master’s level consultants ready to answer your questions and point you towards available services.

  7. Marie Beahm says:

    Can you say Frustrated…I always have been told growing up in a military family that they take care of their own and now we are in desperate need of help and because hubby is National Guard I am not finding any help out there for us. We have til the 20th to be out of our home our son starts school the 28th of this month he is going to be leaving for deployment in Nov. and well the kids and I wont have a place to live no family to help and no place to live. I have been looking for help and I have had some great people (Candace) and Peter trying to help but this is crazy if hubby was gone I could get help if hubby was injured I could get help but its months before he is deployed and no help. Army takes care of their own Navy takes care of their own Ect. Army National Guard not seeing it that way since we have talked to a number of people and they say no help for us but hubby can stay at the unit for $10 a day where does that put the kids and I??? We need help is there any out there for the Pa National Guard?? Thank You Have A Blessed Day.

  8. Wayne Pinelo says:

    The National Guard Drill Blues | Army Wives' Lives – unique

  9. Reed Riordan says:

    Such type of are getting to be wonderful ever again work outs during which can help you relax all the back and as well sleep adequately without the knowledge about stress on all over again.

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