So yesterday, I wrote this big long piece (you could call it rambling) in response to this article. I tried my best to stick to the facts, but it’s hard not to get emotionally involved.
After ten years or being at war, it’s a given that the budget is going to be cut. I think we all understand that. Our military has faithfully gone to war, no questions asked, and done what their government has asked of them. Many of these men and women made numerous trips to Iraq or Afghanistan My husband made three. I know some who made more trips and others who went less. Either way, they all did their part. While they were gone, their wives waited at home, taking care of the kids, the house, and anything that happened to come up. Babies were born without their fathers there. Parents missed birthdays, anniversarys, holidays, and countless other important events. Marriages were tested and some failed. It was a hard, stressful time for everyone.
Now these service members have been to war, not once but multiple times. They have seen things that they average person will never see. They have seen their friends blown up and shot at. They themselves have been shot at and blown up. They come back home with completely understandable issues from all this. All they ask is for their government to take care of them because of the job they have done to take care of their country.
But what does our government do? It waves a dismissive hand and goes about it’s business. They could care less about the men and women who so selflessly sacrificed more than I can even know, to do a job that so many of their fellow citizens don’t care about or understand. Then those same Americans have the nerve to say they have been living a lavish lifestyle while being at war for ten years.
During WWII, the whole country sacrificed to help the men at war out. The entire country. What does our country do now? They go about their business of watching pointless TV shows, refreshing their Facebook pages, and gong about their regular business. No one cares about the members of the military or that they are doing their best to prevent another attack on our soil.
Ten years of war and just when we are trying to go back to normal, the government decides that the aids we need to get there are not entirely necessary. Counselors for the military member to cope, counselors to help save/fix their marriage after such long separations, counselors for their kids to understand, suicide prevention, affordable medical care, rehabilitation for the wounded, and an easy transition to the civilian life.
My Facebook feed makes me think all Americans support the military and what they are doing. My Facebook is obviously biased. When I venture out on the internet and read other things, I see the other’s opinions. People who are all for cutting the defense budget, because who needs more tanks. People who think the military are all just killing machines. People who just flat out don’t understand all the sacrifices the military and their families put up with to get the job done. I just wish the American people supported the military. You don’t have to support the cause to support the fighter. I feel like people read articles like this and just assume it’s correct. If everyone made as much as the article states, everyone would be lining up to join, but we all know that’s not true. It’s our job to get the truth out there. I like this lifestyle and I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of my husband and the rest of the military. I just wish everyone else was just as proud.
There is an article on The Huffington Post titled Defense Budget Faces Cuts To Personnel After Decade of War. When I read the article yesterday, it was titled After a Decade of Lavish Benefits, Military Personnel Fear Cuts. Those two titles say completely different things. Of course there are going to be budget cuts after a decade of war. That’s obvious. The military fearing their lavish lifestyle is going to be cut back? That’s a load of shit.
I’ve read numerous blog posts by military wives with their own thoughts on this article. Some were emotional, some were just the facts. I’ll try to stick with the facts. I wasn’t going to post anything about it, but I realized that a lot of my readers aren’t connected to the military. They may not be familiar with our lifestyle, so I’ll inform you. You might want to read the article first.
First of all, the author states many things that are either untrue or misleading. Yes, in the past decade military pay did soar, but that’s because in the previous decades, military pay was way behind that of it’s civilian counterparts. The soaring was just to catch up.
In the past decade, housing has been refurbished. For the most part, all military bases have family housing on them. There are some single family homes (mostly reserved for higher ranking officers and some enlisted), duplexes, multiplexes, and apartment buildings. A lot of this housing was built decades ago and has never been updated. In Okinawa, I’m guessing the housing was built in the 50’s and 60’s. Some have now been condemned. Only in the past couple years have they started to remodel them. At our last base, the housing was built in the 40’s. When we moved there, the housing was exactly the same as it had been when my husband lived there in the early 80’s as a child. It needed to be updated. You can’t get around that. If there is not enough room on base, people are allowed to live off base and collect a housing allowance. The allowance varies by area and is meant to cover rent/mortgage and basic utilities, since that is what is paid for on base. Most people pay more out of pocket than what they receive for housing. We received around $1100 at our last duty station. That’s not ridiculous for a mortgage and utilities.
The pay. It’s public knowledge, but you can check the pay chart out here. The author came up with ridiculous situations and numbers for his pay examples. I would say the average person in the military is an E-5 with 6 years in. That person makes $2707 a month. That’s $32,484 a year. That may be reasonable if you are single, but if you have a spouse and kids? Good luck. Because the pay is so low, many military members qualify for WIC and some even qualify for food stamps. Since June 2011, military members have redeemed over $101 million in food stamps. Also, most people work 10-12 hour days. They pull overnight duty, including 24 hours on weekends, at least once a month. When they are deployed, the hours are closer to 14-16 a day, 7 days a week. There isn’t extra pay for that. It’s part of they job.
Speaking of deployments When they deploy, they do get paid extra. There is family separation pay, combat pay, and hazardous pay. It’s about $600 extra a month. Would you take an extra $600 a month to be shot at and blown up? I wouldn’t. Deployments can run anywhere from 6 to 18 months. No thank you.
One of the awesome benefits is free health insurance. It’s only awesome because we don’t have to pay for it. For most normal, routine stuff, it’s not a problem. I actually love my kids pediatrician now. However, I once took my then 4 year old to the ER when he had super bad stomach pains. It was decided he had a retracted bowel. They did no tests on him, none, they diagnosed him on my description. He was then sent to a civilian hospital, where one ultrasound later, it was determined that his appendix was about to burst and it was promptly removed. I gave birth to one child in a military hospital, one in a civilian hospital. Night and day. People wondered why I was opposed to Obamacare (besides the obvious). It’s because people will get crap care and have to wait for everything. Tricare is fine if you aren’t sick, otherwise, be careful. We aren’t allowed to sue if they screw up.
The military does have a lot of other benefits that aren’t always considered. We have a store on base that’s kinda like a non-super Wal-Mart. Prices get jacked up though, especially overseas when we don’t have lots of other options. We also have a grocery store, the commissary. They aren’t out to make a profit, so prices are normally reasonable. There are family centers that host a multitude of activities for family’s and kid’s, but they cost us most of the time. Tuition assistance was given to help active duty go to school. It’s gone now though, thanks to budget cuts. There are daycare centers on base, but they cost just as much as the daycare’s outside the gate and there is always a wait list. There are a lot of counseling services offered. These are free. They are used, though, for PTSD and other problems that come from being at war for so long. They are also used to help marriages that have the added stress of moving and long separations.
There are a lot of positives to joining the military. However, we all know that no one joins for the money. I understand articles are going to be written, but inform yourself before you do. This entire article is misleading and just written from someone who doesn’t know, or frankly care to know, about the lifestyle the military leads. If there is something lavish that I’ve missed, please tell me!
I picked up my mail today to find a pretty big box from Canvas on Demand. Thanks to the huge sticker on the front, I knew exactly what it was.
While hubby was deployed, I sent him a link for a program called Operation: Hi Honey. Basically, deployed service members can have a canvas, with the picture of their choice, sent to their spouse for their anniversary. A note is also written to the spouse and sent along with the canvas.
I kinda cheated and sent the link to hubby, but he did the rest himself! For some reason, I don’t remember if I read it somewhere or not, I was expecting an 8″ x10″ canvas. Perfectly good size. I was shocked when I opened the box to find a 24″ x 14″ canvas. It’s huge! I cheated and checked the pricing on their page. This is a special order size and costs $91. You better believe I’m going to let them know how wonderful they are.
This is a picture from our wedding. We didn’t have professional pictures taken. One of hubby’s coworker’s wives took the pictures. She did an excellent job, but afterwards she just gave us a disc with all the pictures. I never ordered anything larger than an 8″ x 10″ because I wasn’t sure how they would look. Let me just say that this baby looks good!
If you know anyone who has a deployed spouse, send them this link! This is a wonderful thing the company does and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
You know those women who always lose weight when their husbands are gone? Yeah. I hate them. I had 7 months and all I wanted to do was lose like 10 pounds. I gained about 6 pounds.
I don’t like to exercise and it’s no fun to cook when you are cooking for two little kids who don’t appreciate it. I was doing decent with exercising though, much as I hate it. I got a decent jogging stroller and would walk an hour or so as many days a week as I could. The end of January, I completely threw my back out. I picked Little Missy up one day and felt it, but it wasn’t that bad. As the day wore on, it got worse. The next morning, I sat up to get out of bed and just about screamed. It took me a good 15 minutes to get out of bed and get to the doorway of my bedroom. I somehow managed to pass out twice along the way. I’ve had children. I think I know pain, but this was worse than childbirth. I neighbor was nice enough to take me to the ER and then watch my kids. The ER gave me a shot in the butt and a prescription (which they made me walk to the pharmacy to get, evil doctors) and sent me on my way. Almost three months later, I was still having pain. It was always there, but it wasn’t as painful anymore. The pain was just more annoying than anything. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t walk fast, and most days the walk to the bus stop was almost too much.
I finally made a doctor appointment. She sent me to get an x-ray, then an MRI. After all that, she diagnosed me with degenerative disc disease. Sounds really bad, doesn’t it? It’s not. My doctor said that two discs in my lower back, L4 and L5 maybe, are the problems. One has a tear and the other is pretty much gone. She gave me a ton of options for pain, but sometime between the x-ray and the MRI, my pain had just gradually disappeared.
I’m back to wanting to work out. It’s starting to get to humid to do much outside, but I’m still attempting. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a few pounds in the month he has been home. I tend to gain all my weight in my midsection and I’ve noticed on more than one occasion that it’s looked a tad smaller. Not in the you just woke up and haven’t had anything to make you bloated yet smaller either. This could be due to the lack of fast food in my diet, the dinners I’ve been cooking almost every night, or the soda I’ve cut back on. Either way, who cares cause I finally lost a few pounds!!