Sunday, December 17, 2017
Military News

Deployments never grow easier for military wives

Former Times staffer Jan Wesner Childs, who now resides in Germany and maintains a blog about being a military wife and mother, poignantly details the emotion of once again having to endure her husband being deployed for war.

When my husband went on his first official trip as a Green Beret, to Thailand in 1997, he bought me a gold Special Forces charm necklace.

Ever since, I've worn it whenever we're separated — whether for a night or for a year.

I put it on again Jan. 6. I'll take it off sometime this summer, when he comes home from Afghanistan.

Yes, we have embarked on another deployment.

In the 22 years we've been married, Mark has been gone about half the time. Since 2004 he, like much of the rest of the nation's service members, has been in an almost constant deployment cycle — either getting ready to go, gone, or reintegrating into life back at home.

And just when that last step is done, the process seems to start all over again.

I'm not complaining. I have it pretty good. It's been exactly two years since Mark returned from the last long deployment. And this one is only six months.

Still, Mark warned me before he left that I shouldn't get complacent. I shouldn't expect this one to be any easier than the others just because it's shorter or because we've done it so many times before.

And he's right.

Every deployment is different, and each one has its own challenges. In Iraq in 2007, during the surge, I lived in constant fear that something horrible would happen to my husband. The kids and I didn't see his face — except in a few emailed photos — for 10 ½ months.

In 2010, during another 12-month Iraq deployment, I vowed not to let myself slip into that darkness again. I poured myself into supporting the other spouses in our unit, volunteering at my kids' school and sending care packages to my husband.

Both my parents died that year. It was not an easy time, but I didn't let it consume me. For the first time, I truly learned to let go of the things I can't control and to be very grateful for the things that I can.

Who knows what the next six months will throw at us. I hope it will be a breeze, it will go by quickly and Mark will be home safe and sound before we know it.

But, heeding my husband's advice, I'm not letting my guard down.

And, if the darkness creeps up every once in a while, that's okay. I just won't let it stay too long.

Jan Wesner Child's blog, Jan Can't Sleep, can be found at jancantsleep.wordpress.com.

Comments
Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

Howard Altman: Military-themed gifts for your holiday shopping needs

The season of giving is upon us, so here’s a selection of military-themed gifts for the folks on your Christmas and Hannukah lists.Drink up: American Freedom Distillery is a veteran-owned maker of artisan whiskeys, rums, vodkas and gins located in St...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Woman fired from Bay Pines health center calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

Woman fired from Bay Pines health center calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

Chalea Weekes fumes every time she sees another entertainer, politician or public figure stand accused of sexual harassment.Fired from her job in the social work department at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Weekes says in federal complaints that...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Saturday’s sonic booms likely from F-15 fighters, NORAD says

Saturday’s sonic booms likely from F-15 fighters, NORAD says

Those sonic booms heard across the state Saturday afternoon were likely from two F-15 fighter jets protecting President Donald Trump during his visit to Florida, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.The jets, which belong to the ...
Published: 12/11/17
Transgender people can enlist in military Jan. 1

Transgender people can enlist in military Jan. 1

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is allowing transgender people to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, despite President Donald Trump’s opposition. The new policy reflects growing legal pressure on the issue, and the difficult hurdles the federal gover...
Published: 12/11/17
Gold Shield Foundation honors Bondi

Gold Shield Foundation honors Bondi

TAMPA — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was honored by the Gold Shield Foundation, which assists families of first responders killed in the line of duty.At a luncheon Thursday, Bondi received the Philip A. McNiff "Lifetime of Service" award, named...
Published: 12/08/17
Local vets remember Pearl Harbor

Local vets remember Pearl Harbor

TAMPA — On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Ed Socha and Bill Monfort were several hundred miles away from each other, sharing a horrible moment of reckoning.Socha, 96, was at Pearl Harbor, aboard the USS Oklahoma. Bill Monfort was a radio operator aboar...
Published: 12/07/17

Talking subs, ships and the controversial F-35 with the Navy’s newest assistant secretary

TAMPA — James "Hondo" Geurts, a familiar face at MacDill Air Force Base, was sworn in as the Navy’s newest assistant secretary last week ."I’ll be responsible for acquisition for the Navy and Marine Corps," said Geurts, sitting in a chair on the brid...
Published: 12/07/17
A storage unit opened, and a family’s World War II service and secrets were revealed

A storage unit opened, and a family’s World War II service and secrets were revealed

MESA, Ariz. — The storage unit’s corrugated metal door slid upward, revealing 100 square feet of mostly empty space. Not very promising, thought Joe Alosi, a businessman who bid on units, sight unseen, when tenants stopped paying the rent. Several pl...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Navy’s newest assistant secretary talks ships, subs and jet fighters

Navy’s newest assistant secretary talks ships, subs and jet fighters

TAMPA — Saturday afternoon, just three days before his swearing in as the next Navy assistant secretary for acquisition, research and development, James "Hondo’ Geurts talked about how his old job prepared him for the new one."I’ll be responsible for...
Published: 12/05/17
Stealth jets, other aircraft fly in U.S., South Korean drills

Stealth jets, other aircraft fly in U.S., South Korean drills

Associated PressSEOUL, South Korea — Hundreds of aircraft including two dozen stealth jets began training Monday as the United States and South Korea launched a massive combined air force exercise. The war games come a week after North Korea test-fir...
Published: 12/04/17