Parents of Serving Military – you aren’t alone

May 7, 2008 · Filed Under Parents News 

A page for parents – a place to gather online to talk to other parents of serving soldiers/airmen/marines/sailors/coast guards/national guard of any persuasion ( ok, did I get everyone now?) , to get information, to connect… are you interested?

From a blogging dad I know —  the one thing that {my wife} and I felt during [troops name]’s first deployment was a profound sense of isolation. Since that time, we have found (or rather they found us) some other parents who were facing the same issues. It really helps to have some one who is in the same boat with you to cope with these long deployments.

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My son was in Iraq in 2003 -2004, at the same time my husband was deployed to Bosnia. And I felt so disconnected from our son… he was with a unit based out of Germany, and I knew not one person he was serving with. Being an Army Wife, I understood a whole lot more than many of the National Guard parents of the kids that my husband was serving with in his subsequent Iraq deployment. From everything to the military acronyms, to telling them that NO, jimmy couldn’t come home for his sister’s graduation if he wasn’t granted leave… the whole gamut. The parents of the kids my husband was serving with were at least served by the FRGs. But the parents of active army, which is what I was with our son, had NO information about the unit, no access to the Rear Det folks. I would have loved to have been able to connect with the parents of another kid in his unit… or anyone in the division! Parents who don’t have that knowledge, those are the parents we want to help.Spouse Buzz has been a life saver for me, when my husband and I recently went through a very long deployment. They were there for me when he left, when I worried about R&R, when the unit was extended during the Surge, and when he finally came home. Since the beginning, it’s been a great place for spouses to gather, to talk, to ask questions. I want the same but more for the parents. We need a place for parents to get information about military jargon, the rank structure and who really runs the unit, where their kid is, how the Army/Marine Corps/Navy/Airforce really operate and connect with other parents. We want to be a place for all the parents of such and such unit to gather and make their own page, a place for parents to realize that there might be a fellow military mom or dad down the street, in the same apartment complex. So if you are interested, we are asking you to please comment, give us a way to contact you by email, let us know if you want to be a guest commentator or a permanent part of the group and please remember, you aren’t alone out there!!

Comments

35 Responses to “Parents of Serving Military – you aren’t alone”

  1. stacy lee on May 7th, 2008 7:34 pm

    This is great. So glad to know that someone has finally started a site for us parents. My son is headed back for his 2nd deployment to the sandbox.

    Looking forward to seeing what is next on here.

  2. kathy on May 7th, 2008 8:23 pm

    I think this is greatly needed for those parents who have no clue of what their children’s lifes are like while they are deployed and while they are with their units in the states. My son is a member of the Old Guard at Ft. Myers and will return soon from an 15 month TDY in REMOVED and I can’t wait to see him. I have so many questions about what his life is like but of course I get no answers. Luckily he is close to his sister and brother in law and I do get to hear somethings. My son in law is in the Old Guard at Ft. Myers, Va. I am really grateful that someone has thought of this. Kathy

  3. Kathryn on May 7th, 2008 8:42 pm

    LAW- Thanks for this effort. My son is one of those guys who doesn’t give out info. He even makes us feel uncomfortable asking about his life in the Army. He’s been in 12 years in June and has been to the sand several times as well as Afghanistan multiple times. Each time I think it will get easier, but it doesn’t. It’s good to know there’s a place I can vent and share this experience with people who will understand.
    Thanks again, and I look forward to being a member of this community.

  4. Arlene on May 7th, 2008 11:33 pm

    LAW, I feel like I know you from Jan’s site; and I envy where you live! I love the DC, Baltimore, Alexandria area! I have great memories from there!

  5. Mark on May 8th, 2008 2:25 pm

    Thanks for getting this started. I look forward to participating in the conversations.

  6. Susie on May 8th, 2008 9:35 pm

    LAW, this is great! My son has been in 4 years and several deployments. I know when he signed up, it was like he disappered behind a curtain…and I only got to peek at a graduation from AIT, Airborne. It is really wonderful that this is getting started. Thank you.

  7. Mark on May 9th, 2008 1:19 pm

    To all,

    Follow this link for a commentary called “A solidier, a CD and a mother’s wish. Very appropriate for this site. The author started our military support network here.

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/05/a-soldier-a-cd.html

  8. Semper Fi Wife on May 15th, 2008 12:20 pm

    So glad to see your idea coming to fruition, LAW.
    I’ll be passing this link around to all parents.

  9. Joyce Williamson on May 16th, 2008 12:40 pm

    Yippeee ! I have lurked around SpouseBuzz for years now. This will be great. Our own site !

    I have two sons in the military. One in the Air Force, and one freshly commissioned in the Army, and headed to Fort Knox today.

  10. Debbie on May 17th, 2008 8:49 pm

    Hi Everyone,
    This is going to be a great site for us military families. My husband has been deployed since July 05 to present, he was home for 5 months in 06/07, he will be home in Aug for 3 months and then gone again until Nov of 09. We did 14 years in the Navy, now we are Army, it is very different, I have learned alot in these three years. My word of choice when someone asks me how am I doing is “lonely”, but with todays technology is makes it alot easier. We think he is going to retire in a few years, but never know at this point. My youngest son(he is 10) tells me when I feel a little down, is “be grateful for what we have, don’t whine about what we do not have”, so I have been living with his motto. There is so much information out there on the web for us, if I need some info on something I can find it. Our FRG’s are awesome and stay in constant communication with us. It is always nice to share information with other spouses or families. So, in closing, take care, keep up the good work at home and we can all get through this together.

  11. Barb on May 21st, 2008 11:06 pm

    As a West Point grad parent (both my sons), our parent forum was just given this website so I would anticipate more responses. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Both my boys are deploying middle of next month. I can’t even imagine how me the worrier is going to get through this but now I hope I can rely on a lot of support. Co-workers, friends, and even family just aren’t going to understand what this is like. Thanks for starting this!!

  12. Pat on May 21st, 2008 11:19 pm

    Like Barb, I’m a West Point parent. I have 2 sons and a daughter-in-law currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. My older son chose to activate rather than get called back from IRR and his wife wasn’t going to wait at home for news. My younger son is still on Active duty and will have many deployments in his future.

    Thanks for this blog to share our thoughts & worries. I’ll be back to share another time.

  13. Sally on May 22nd, 2008 1:46 pm

    I’m another West Point parent, although I found the site through Villainous Company this morning. Thank you so much for hosting a place for parents who are increasingly out of the loop with every year, as our children grow up and not only leave us but also take on a responsibility and mission that I have difficulty even imagining.

  14. Sue on May 22nd, 2008 2:17 pm

    I too am a West Point Mom and we are looking at a wedding and a deployment this year and this is all new to me. Thanks for being here.

  15. Bonnie on May 22nd, 2008 5:52 pm

    What a great idea!

    I am a National Guard parent whose son spent “05-’06 in Afghanistan and will spend ’08-’09 in Iraq. I have “lurked” milblogs since 2004.

    A generation ago, I waited on a college campus for my husband to return from Viet Nam. I will never forget the sense of isolation and lack of support or the extended information time lag.

    Although my first marriage ended in divorce, my best memories of 20 years spent as a military dependent are of the close friendships and tight-knit communities. Parents rarely have access to the kind of information transmission and active duty community support available to spouses. Thank you for providing a forum – I’ve already bookmarked your site.

  16. Hope on May 24th, 2008 2:10 am

    This is great and thank you so much! My son is in his first deployment in Iraq. He is a very quiet person, not a writer. He seems to be always trying to protect us. While I have his step, or “other Mom” who can certainly understand how I feel, there is otherwise, alot of isolation in a deployment. Ireally appreciate this opportunity! We also have a Daughter who is in the national Guard. So the worry is compounded even though there is no word of her deploying so far. I look forward to discussions and taking part.

    Thaks
    Hope

  17. Wendy on May 24th, 2008 5:06 pm

    Hi, another WP mom here. my son and daughter-in-law are both in Iraq – he’s on his second deployment and she’s on her first. I was so glad to hear about the chance to be in contact with other parents in my situation. THANKS!

  18. Jan R on May 29th, 2008 10:30 pm

    This is fantastic! My son is currently on his 2nd deployment to Iraq, this one 15 mos, he will be leaving the Army when he returns home. His contract with the Army was over 10/30/07, but he was extended. I only recently found a support website support3rdid.com and got here from there.

    It has been very difficult both times due to the feeling of isolation and lack of information, the support I have had for just the last month has been very comforting. The FRG for his unit is not very active for out of town people, the 1st deployment I didn’t hear anything from them until the month before the unit returned. 2nd time he is married and I can only assume his wife gets the information, she is out of state with her family.

    I have learned a couple of things this deployment, I send packages every 2 weeks, I always include stuff to share and tell him if he doesn’t want/need something, share share share.

    Both times I sent old fashioned letters and cards as well as email and instant messages, 2nd time I have sent many more old fashioned letters and cards because he came home with ALL of them the 1st time and it dawned on me how important they were to him :).

    I found a phone # for the US Post Office on another 3rd ID website, you call and ask for the Soldiers Package of Flat Rate boxes, they send them to your doorstep, they give you an ID # and everytime you want more you call and they arrive they also have the special print FPO/APO “Support Our Troops” flat rate boxes. They send you customs labels, plastic envelope for the customs labels, the priority mailing labels and a roll of priority tape. You HAVE to wait in line at the post office to mail packages to your deployed soldier, but you have everything ready to go. USPS Soldier Care Line 800-610-8734.

    INSURE ALL PACKAGES, it is CHEAP and you won’t loose your money should the package be lost or damaged, even snacks can end up being 20.00 and 20.00 is 20.00. 50.00 insurance is 1.60.

    Send them pictures, 2nd deployment my son is married, I send a different picture of he and his wife everytime. I also sent a small album like you get when you pick up your pictures, he came home on R&R with it full of the pics I had sent.

    Have also sent him pictures of Mom & Dad, our family pets, places and things….

    Send FUN STUFF!!! I just happened to get a whole box of beads at a Jaguars NFL football game, just them cheap give away if you bought something. I didn’t want the something, but I asked for a pair to send my son, they said “NO” then I told them he is in Iraq. They gave me an entire box of beads, so I packed them ALL up and sent them…..I got an email the morning after he received them, he went around the entire Combat Outpost at 1 AM when he woke for duty putting beads on all the guys necks, he said they were all grinnin ear to ear, I see his ear to ear grin in the email he sent telling about it. After that I sent fun stuff at least once a month. Sending things to commemorate the holidays they are missing lifted their spirits as well. corny stuff for St Patricks Day, Cards with sound were also a BIG hit! Just think outside of the box.

    I commend you all for creating this Parental Support Website!!!!

    Jan R.

  19. Susan on May 30th, 2008 11:57 pm

    I am happy to see this get started and will check back frequently to see what is posted and post also. Thanks!

  20. Tammy on June 8th, 2008 2:19 am

    This is awesome, I have found many sites for spouse’s but so few for parents. My 17 yr old just started Basic’s this week and we have no idea what to expect. I have been searching to find something to help the parents.

  21. Tammy on June 8th, 2008 2:21 am

    Um, quick question, in my search I have seen FRG alot what does this stand for/mean?

  22. LAW on June 8th, 2008 10:57 am

    Tammy – FRG = Family Readiness Group. Welcome to our page. There is a link for Military Acronyms and Jargon on the Blogroll here on the page on the right.

    Which branch of the service has your child joined? If you Google “Basic Training” you may be able to find a site to help. Also, try the web page for the specific base/post he/she is on, they have some information.

    LAW

  23. Deb on June 8th, 2008 10:28 pm

    Just found this site. Thanks so much! I’ve become addicted to looking for information for Moms of Soldiers! I just “met” our FRG folks and joined BlueStar Mothers

  24. Patti on June 9th, 2008 10:33 pm

    I am glad to find this site. My son is still in AIT but I know we have so much unknown ahead of us!

  25. Terry on June 9th, 2008 11:55 pm

    I am so happy to find a site for parents. My son left for Basic Training today at Fort Jackson, SC.

  26. Tammy on June 10th, 2008 9:22 pm

    Law- thanks so much for your information.
    This site is really awesome. I have spent hours searching through sites trying to find a site to help.
    I’m not sure what you mean by branch, but i know he is at Ft Leonardwood, Missouri. Is that his branch?
    As you can tell, I am completely new to all this.
    My son called the other night and it didn’t even sound like him. He was really down. I have never heard him so down. Is this something that is normal? They have a chaplin checking on him in the next day or two, is this a bad sign?

  27. Connie on June 11th, 2008 4:30 pm

    My son just left DATE REMOVED FOR OPSEC for his deployment to REMOVED FOR OPSEC(1st time). His twin sister and I are having a hard time dealing with the separation. How do you, as mothers, handle this? How do the siblings get through the separation? He was stationed at REMOVED FOR OPSEC. for 3 years and that was great knowing that he was that close. But this, this is something new to me.

  28. Terry on June 12th, 2008 11:04 pm

    Tammy branch means, Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines. Law was asking which branch of service did your son join? I don’t know if this will help you, but if I google Fort Jackson I will get to their website. Maybe if you google the fort your son is in you will find a website for it.

  29. Tammy on June 14th, 2008 12:07 am

    Thanks, Terry.

    He is in the Army.

  30. Martha on June 28th, 2008 5:04 am

    My son was deployed to the Anbar Province in 2006. I mailed him a letter every week and he told me that I was his greatest support while over there. Every time the phone or the doorbell rang, I held my breathe. My son was a Cavalry Scout which meant he was out in front of everyone, breaking down doors, etc. At the same time, I prayed Psalm 140 over him and his men everyday. He and everyone of his men made it back safe from Iraq.
    When my son would call me, I would matter-of-factly ask him questions, never letting him hear any emotion in my voice. I continually told him how proud I was of him, and encouraged him as much as possible. In the end, your child is stronger for all they’ve gone through, and you are too. You need to be strong for your child, they still need you. I also had to be strong for my oldest son. He had been used to protecting his little bro, and he struggled through his brother being in Iraq. I also found that God had prepared me for his deployment. A year or so before my son was deployed, I would often cry my eyes out at the prospect of him going to war. Him going to war was something that was out of my control. Just take it one day at a time, sometimes, one minute at a time. The advantages we have now that we didn’t have during the VietNam war is that our soldier can call us more often. I heard from my son usually once a week. I had once asked my mom how she made it through my brother serving in VietNam, and her answer was so very simple, yet profound, “I prayed for him everyday”. I would recommend that to you. You’ll find strength you’ll never knew you had. Realize, God loves your child more than you ever could. Turn him/her over to God daily. God bless you and your child.

  31. Martha on June 28th, 2008 5:08 am

    Terry, my son is a DS at Ft. Jackson! He just got his newest batch of recruits about a week or so ago. Your son will be fine. He’s in good hands!

  32. nanceoso on June 28th, 2008 8:14 am

    I was just saying the other day that “WHAT ABOUT US PARENTS” as my daughter belongs to the Air Force wifes forum, and My son is in the Air Force and my Son in Law and that is all the children I have to give and my future daughter in law is also in the Air Force. So, yes, I am all for it as I have to keep up with 4 of them and their lingo. And I look up stuff for them as they are busy studying and don’t have time to look up benefits and paperwork and don’t fully understand medical benefits for spouses and I have to help them and I have to look up the stuff and I was hoping there was a place for parents that have some experience as we do help our children even though they are in the service. I would like to know the lingo and learn what experiences others have and how they have handled certain situations and give their advice. It’s a great idea and my son in law thought so also as he is the first I have told about this group. As I was chatting with him when I found it. He is my deployed one right now. So I look forward to this group and becoming a member or however that is to become one.
    Nanceoso

  33. thomas on July 6th, 2008 12:44 pm

    My daughter left for basic training on the 24 of June and I havent heard from her yet is this normal,should I call the number I found on the web or should I wait a few more days. I have never went this long without hearing from her she 18

  34. LAW on July 6th, 2008 1:51 pm

    Thomas – It’s normal. She’s INCREDIBLY busy. If she was having a hard time – she’d be calling you NOW. If she were ill, hurt or ready to leave, you would have heard. In this case, No News is really, honestly, good news, or at least normal.

    Anyone else have some words of wisdom here?

    LAW

  35. nanceoso on July 17th, 2008 5:16 pm

    If you have her address, write her and send her a self addressed , stamped envelope to make it easy for her to write back to you. If you don’t, have her address, call the number to the public relations at her base and they will give you her address which usually is not the one that they give you when they make that first call home and give you an address, so after double checking with the public relations dept. and getting the address and you can write her. And, sometimes they can sneak a call to you on Sundays before or after church, my son wasn’t a church goer when he left but is now and learned that you can get a call in to home on Sundays if lucky.
    Nanceoso

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