I am an army wife
Dear Military Families Speak Out,
My name is Kelly Mendoza. I've been looking through your site for the past fifteen minutes, reading letters from families who hate this war as much as I do. I feel compelled to say thank you because now I know that I am not alone in this. For many months I've sat wondering how to get my point across to someone, anyone without sounding as though I was just bitching. I am an army wife. My husband is still here, for now at least. His battalion is talking about deploying in the coming months. For all those families and soldiers that are disgusted with the army leadership, I can sympathize. My husband's sister battalion has been on guard duty in Baghdad. The entire battlion was sent for a company level job. Now, they are prepping his entire battalion after recieving letters of reprimand for already sending more troops than was necessary. The BDE colonel wants his star... the BN Lt. Col wants his bird. Is anyone tired of hearing this yet?
As for money issues... I can't say this to anyone non-military because they don't understand... but when deployments come up... the only worthwhile thing is the extra money. ..that year-long tour in Korea... money that families take, invest, save. Many military families live on the brink of poverty. I know many that live paycheck to paycheck, thankful when the first or the fifteenth hits. Grateful when they can save extra for new shoes for their kids, or don't have to eat ramen for the last week and a half before their pay hits. That's regular army families at least. Most I know are also use federal services to offset costs. When the army puts WIC information in your hands while pregnant...one would think that the federal government would realize how many of its own have a need of its programs. That extra money, hazardous duty pay and separation pay... that's what pays for daycare when the wife suddenly becomes a single parent for a year.
But lets think about the national guard and reservists who truly suffer from this. One family that I've heard about lives in the Dallas area. The husband is a national guardsman. His civilian job makes 80K and his wife makes 60K. They have two children. So the husband goes off to serve his country, taking a 65K loss of income, deploys to Iraq learning that he is to be activated for a year, returning only to find out that he is to be activated for up tp 5 years stationed in the States. His family is talking about moving down around Ft. Hood, TX, where he is supposedly going to be stationed. Now if anyone knows that area, you can't find many jobs that pay over 8 bucks an hour. For anyone that can do the math, that's more than a huge hit for his family. That's devastating.
I wish the Bush administration would take responsibility for the damage it is causing to American families.
I left the service to have my baby. It wouldn't have been fair to have one parent for a year and then another for the next year. But now, after three months of watching him grow, watching my husband smile at his antics, how do you give that up? While I was pregnant, I was watching CNN. There was this young wife being interviewed holding her newborn. Her husband was never coming home. And it struck me then that this could be me someday. That baby could be my son. How would I explain to him, to justify to him why his daddy would never watch him grow? Maybe it would be easier to do if I believed in this war. But I don't, I can't.
There is so much time lost when preparing for deployment. Working in 12 hour shifts which eventually become 15 hour shifts, six days a week that soon becomes seven... I believe somewhere along the way there was the promise of leave time... that never comes.
...and once they leave, the fear and frustration that follows..
The administration and the Pentagon continually say they know the hardship and the strain that deployment is causing all the military families. If they truly understand, then they should bring our troops home to their families, to where they belong.