Today I’m reflecting how far, at least the Air Force has come in giving support to spouses during deployments. I’m a Key Spouse for my husband’s squadron and I’ve actually been doing this a while (since 2011). I went to a Deployed Spouses Town Hall. This is basically a briefing letting people know about some of the benefits they have as deployed families. It was the best one I’ve ever been to. So much good information and the presenter didn’t speak Air Forcesse (that’s a word now). Did this exist during my husband’s first deployment? No. Did he have WiFi to contact me? Most definitely not…..I actually didn’t hear from him for like a month at one point. However, today I saw the major differences between now and then.
Communication with Your Spouse
Back in the day, there were Nokia cell phones, mail and maybe email. This was also a time when the Air Force enjoyed the longest period of peacetime then September 11th happened and everything changed(I know it sounds like Avatar: The Last Airbender). They had to run com lines and everything.
Now there is WiFi which allows you to use Facetime, Skype, Viber, and Facebook Video thing. Not to mention the social media apps that let you see their life over there and vice versa. Our Nokia phones didn’t have cameras so any pictures had to be mailed. If that even exists anymore!!!
He needed a lot of stuff because things like showers were not setup (yay, baby wipes!). Also, he would want food that was not a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). It felt like things took a lot longer to get to him because a system wasn’t really put in place yet.
Now that system is in place and awesome. Packages seem to get to the location within a couple weeks tops. Granted you still get a couple of things that get lost or take a few months to get there but that’s the exception, not the norm.
Back in the day, they said he’ll be leaving to a place we don’t know and we’re not sure how long.
Today, there is a town hall or briefing with commanders’, First sergeants, and base agencies to give you information on your benefits and how they can support you. Also, everyone thanks you for staying behind and holding everything together. While you may not know how long they will be at there location, they did end up getting a virtual tour. This blows my mind!
Then-those closest to you and some base resources for advice if you seek them out.
Now-the entire base. You can get your oil changed, child care, a super discount on activities and trips. Not to mention your Key Spouse who is your liaison for getting your information to do what you need to. They can listen to you vent and provide advice only if you ask them.
Am I a little jealous?…….yes but that is how improvement goes. World War II spouses didn’t have the ability to actually talk to their spouses. They only had mail and it took months sometimes. And the spouses 5 or 10 years from now will have it way better than today hopefully. This military life can be hard but our community strives to make it better for the ones that come after us. Please share your ideas on what you like about the support you get during deployment and what you would change.