I deployed to Iraq for 4 months out of Wilford Hall, Lackland AFB in San Antonio in 2008 and then again for a 10 month deployment out of Malmstrom AFB in MT to Afghanistan. In BOTH instances, section, unit, command, base....EVERYONE forgot about my wife and family. My wife had to deal with 1/4 beef going bad in a freezer after a circuit blew in San Antonio in the summer.....not a person called to check on her.... nothing. Did a 10 month.... I had been gone for 6 months and asked her if she had received any invitations to Unit Christmas party....I was informed that "since the day I had left, she had heard not a peep from ANYONE at the base". I was gone from 4 July 2010-1 Apr 11....ALL the major holidays.... she would be invited by friends of hers in other units to participate in functions for deployment families.... she was 'discouraged' from participating because she wasn't on the list, or she wasn't part of Red Horse or.....the list went on..... IF there is a good FRG, I know NOTHING about it. I hold complete contempt for entire chains of command and bases for allowing this to happen. When I depart, I expect my family to be checked on and help ensure my family is doing ok.... I was failed....not once by one command, but TWICE, by 2 commands. My wife will NOT participate in anything on base unless I beg because she feels that we have been burned too many times like this. Military has been a great way of life, but there are still issues that need LOTS of help. If we had been told to expect NO contact/assist, we would not have been bitter about this.... but to be told that they will be taken care of then cut off.....UNEXCUSABLE. FRG needs to go.
When I ran my flights once a week at the morning meetings we would discuss deployed spouses and and ensured they were being taken care of. There were many times my airmen were at someones house cutting the yard or helping out. I think caring starts with immediate supervisors, and they need to take care of their troops, sometimes us flight chiefs need to help our supervisors remember. I know that the spouses liked being invited out to shop/squadron functions and we made deployed spouse care a priority. Make it a part of your culture and it is easy, you already track your deployed troops so you also make a checklist for the spouses, a good squadron commander should already be doing this, if not take it upon your self to get it noticed and working.
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