I have been married to my husband for 8 yrs (I am 34 he is 36) and we have a 14 yr old daughter. He had been listed in the Reserves & completed that obligation before we were married but now has decided to go full time duty in the Army. I must say at first I went thru all the emotions of being angry & sad at the thought of him going to Iraq and dying there. I must say, with the words of support from this site I am really trying to not let the death consume my thoughts because death is promised to everyone & no one can avoid it. (But it’s so hard– I keep thinking death could come much sooner b/c of the choice to go into the military) but anyway…. I plan on giving my husband full support with his decision but I have NO clue on what to expect as an Army wife. Past posts suggest other wives may not want to move b/c of a career decision-in my case it’s the opposite. I have been laid off now for almost a year so my job isn’t an issue. The only issue I am having is that our daughter will be in the 10th grade this September and my assumption w/ the Army is that you move from place to place & don’t know how that would affect her (she doesn’t know he is going to enlist yet) My biggest fear is that we won’t be allowed to go w/ him & that we will be apart. Can you please give me some idea of what could happen to newly enlisted private who has a wife and child? Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated & thank you for having this informative site-it means so much!
Bless you all!
First, thank you to your husband for his service in the Reserves.
My children are almost four and two, so hopefully other readers with teens will add their thoughts.
Although my children are very young, I have taught high school. So, I understand how important “senior year” is to many students.
First, there are a lot of details I do not know and I am not a recruiter. Your husband needs to speak with his recruiter about his enlistment. If he has college credits or gets any credit for prior service, that may affect what happens.
I’m going to reply under the assumption that he will need to go to Basic training and then AIT.
My understanding is that enlisted men are usually given a choice to influence either their MOS (their job) or their post. If he chooses to request certain postings, then you may have a better idea of where you would be moving if you choose to accompany him.
You will not be able to see him during Basic training and will not be able to see him very much, if at all, during AIT.
Once he completes AIT, he will receive his first “Permanent Change of Station” (PCS). Most PCS moves are accompanied, which means you will be on his orders. You will have the option at most places of living on post or off-post, this will vary depending on availability of housing at the post. If you officially choose to stay where you currently live, your husband will most likely be assigned to barracks housing. This may also have a financial impact as you will be maintaining your civilian housing but he will not have the housing allowance he would ordinarily draw if he lives off post with you.
Some assignments are unaccompanied tours (primarily at this point these are tours in Korea). Most likely, however, unless he requests otherwise, his first PCS will be an accompanied tour and you and your daughter are welcome to join him.
When he deploys, of course, you would not be accompanying him. It is impossible for me to say when, if at all, he will deploy during his active duty service. It could be as soon as he arrives at his first post or it could be years before he deploys. Once you have more information about his assignment, you can try to find out some information but be aware this could change at any time.
If your daughter was in 9th grade, I would suggest moving. If she was in 12th grade, I would suggest staying put. Since she’s in between, I think a lot depends on your wishes, her input, and the options available to your family. Some teens who are very happy where they are choose to live with relatives or friends during their final years of high school. Since your daughter will have two and a half years left of high school, you might not feel comfortable with this.
Although “your mileage may vary”, there is a good chance that your husband will be at the same post for at least the next three years, possibly more. Therefore, it is likely that your daughter will be able to attend most of her time in high school at the same place. If, for whatever reason, you do need to move to another post before she graduates, you can feel somewhat comforted by the fact that many other teenagers at her school will be in the same situation. Near a large military base it is likely they have also moved at some point in their lives and will be sympathetic.
One of the hardest things about the military for the family is the uncertainty. I can’t tell you whether your husband will stay at his first PCS for three years without deploying or if he will deploy immediately following AIT. So, I cannot really advise you to move or stay put.
Right now, just focus on supporting him through his training. Wait until you know his first post and his unit. And then you will need to weigh the pros and cons. There are just too many variables undecided right now.
My gut feeling is that it is easier to support your soldier if you will be near him.
“Ask Molly” represents only my opinion and the comments of readers represent their opinions. I draw upon my training as a Family Readiness Group leader, my own experience and that of those I know, and any research I found on the Internet. I am not a trained counselor.
Photo Credit: Laura K. Gibbs