The Bonds That Tie

Over at PBS.org I have written a post about the meaningful bonds that are forged during military service… among soldiers… among wives… among parents…

Throughout the course of our lifetimes, we make and break bonds with people. Some bonds are formed in friendship: schoolmates, neighbors, fellow workers. I have close friends from each of those groups. I maintain, however, that the bonds forged in military service are perhaps the strongest of all bonds. Stronger than steel. Stronger than adversity. Stronger than time.

We all know the story of veterans sittin’ around and one says, “No shit!! There I was…” followed by a story of improbability or hilarity, typically punctuated with profanity, irreverent phrases and sordid images. It will end with much backslapping and hearty handshakes. The circle might contain members of a single unit or a single war, or it might contain an assortment of veterans from many of this nation’s conflicts. But they are bonded and tied to each other by the commonality of their service. Some are bonded by the mettle and the blood of battle. You need look no further than the Illiad or the St. Crispen’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V for evidence of the emotional connection these men share.

[snip]

Some of my closest friends today are people I didn’t know before my son deployed. We met via military blogs (including my own) and private online Internet forums established by parents of soldiers — one by a Third Infantry Division parent, another established by military moms for military moms. These were places to share information, to share worry, to celebrate good news and to commiserate when the news was bad. These were places that let us share this bond, hammered and shaped by our worry for our sons and daughters.

These relationships are equal parts ethereal and practical; as much emotional as they are physical. It involves both the spiritual and the material worlds — prayers and novena candles as well as care packages and cookie recipes. It is an inclusive sisterhood for which we did not volunteer, but in which we are now forever members.


You can read it all at PBS/POV: Conversations on Coming Home

Soldiers Have Parents??

We are a military family. All three of our sons enlisted while they were single (unmarried) and many of “Our Guys” (soldiers we consider family) have also been single. As a result, I have from time to time done some complaining about how about half of Army soldiers are UNmarried but that “family” resources and information were principally for spouses — parents left out of the loop. (I actually asked what was being done for the “other half” of the Army while participating in a blogger’s roundtable that included the Secretary of the Army…)
While recently cruising the Army Home Page on Military OneSource, I was pleased to see the following prominently featured on the page:

New to the Army? Help Keep Your Parents in the Loop

If you’ve just joined the Army and your parents aren’t familiar with military life, keep them in the loop with these materials:

I don’t know how long that’s been up there and I’m sure the Army didn’t need any prodding from parents… however it got there and however long it’s been there, THANK YOU!!

The information under “When Your Son or Daughter…” is pretty basic (it’s a starting point), but you should also seek out additional information from sites specific to the military installation/branch of service where your child is undergoing training.

The “Resources…” page provides links to official and unofficial web sites that you might, as a parent, find useful, but also be sure to check out blogs like ParentsZone.org and other military blogs (“Milblogs” — you can find blogs by branch of service as well as those blogs by parents at www.milblogging.com).

As the parent of a soldier, you should become familiar with some of the other resource information contained on other Army and Dept. of Defense sites for future reference… such as the Army Well-Being site and the Military Homefront page.

I’d really like the Army and the other services to produce content specific to parents (or non-spousal family) with the idea that these people are usually remote (away) from their soldier’s military installation and typically have no idea how to contact the installation or chain of command (or even who that might be) in an emergency… or what resources are available to their soldier/sailor/marine/airman/coastie or to the family member (be that a parent, aunt, uncle, sister or brother…) when faced with serious issues involving their child (for example, post-deployment issues). (And, yes, I know that there are those who actually joined the military to AVOID their parents… but every soldier has a next-of-kin somewhere — that are not “in the loop” but should be!)

I did also find some parent-related information for the other services (some official, some unofficial):

for Parents of Marines
A Parent’s Guide to the Marine Corps
USMC – Recruit Training
Marine Parents.com

For Navy Parents
Navy for Moms
Navy Dads

For Air Force Parents
Parents of the Enlisted

AF — you could do better… information or links for parents could easily be added to AFCrossroads.

For Coast Guard Parents (nice job CG!!)

For National Guard Families

General informational links for all branches, Guard and Reserves at Today’s Military and Military.com

How can she help Military Parents?

Parents – I received an email from an employee at a Best Buy store.. and I was so impressed with her desire to help the parents of serving military. What would YOU want to tell her? Can we get her the information she needs? can we help her, help more like us? I’ve already sent her the Blue Star Mothers site – but there has to be more we can do!

********************************

My name is Sabrina and I’ve been put in charge of the military initiatives here at my Best Buy Store . I saw your site and was very curious. You see in my store, and I’m sure many others, we have quite a few employees who are either returning from deployments, returning from TBS/OCS, or are looking into joining the military. Although our store is situated near a military recruiting office, I don’t believe that there’s enough information for the parents, siblings, or children of those that are in, or seeking to go into, the military.

As we also have a volunteer mentoring program here at our store, and as part of our corporate community relations initiatives; I was wondering what assistance our military employees could be to the parents of someone looking to join the military and to the children of military parents.

With the Military recruiting offices being so close to so many locations of BBY stores, quite a few of the younger employees who have considered a military career go over and ask for information or talk with recruiters. While this helps them, I don’t believe it provides enough information to their parents and/or siblings who need to understand what their children/siblings/family member will be going into. So many of what I overhear from the ones with concerns are questions like: Is my child going off to die? How will TBS/OCS change who they are? Will I know my child when they come home from training/deployment?

I’d like to be able to offer the concerned parents/family members some kind of resource or forum that they can go to attain the answers they need. Someplace where they can talk to other parents with the same concerns, and others who have been through this and know what is the best way they can be concerned while still being supportive of their loved ones decision. Most parents worry about their children going off to college, but when that child wants to discuss joining the military it becomes a whole new ball game. I’d like to be able to offer what support and resources I can.

One of our own needs our help!

I received this information today and it nearly broke my heart! (actually it brought me to tears)  I thought I HAVE to do something for this young man! As many of us living this life know , we are one BIG military family. Well… one of our own needs our help!

For those not in the military…if you have ever wondered “what can I do for our wounded warriors”, well THIS IS IT!!!! You can read his story below …

If you would like to send cards, letters and/or care packages… please let me know. You can email me at tammy . munson @ gmail . com (don’t include spaces) We are not publishing this soldiers’ email address on the internet for his safety and security.

Thanks – Tammy aka Household6 (and PZ Techmama too)
x-posted at ArmyHousehold6.com

_____________________________________________

From 1SG Brian M. Disque

I know a young man who is in desperate need of help. His name is PFC Hunter Levine. He is 20 years old and hails from Houston, TX.

He was in my company and was wounded on 9 May, 2008 while conducting combat operations in East Baghdad. He received a very serious injury to his face, resulting in the loss of his entire bone structure, mouth, nose, and vision.

He was evacuated to Walter Reed Hospital where the doctors performed numerous surgeries to repair his

face. I was fortunate enough to attend a Purple Heart Ceremony at Walter Reed while I was home on leave in June. I was also able to meet with Hunter’s father Beau.

Hunter was then transferred to a VA hospital in California, where the best care for his vision would be available. He is a true fighter with a heart of gold.

Bad News

Unfortunately, I received some bad news from the hospital doctors. Lately, he has been resisting treatment and being somewhat combative with the hospital staff. He has had a few outbursts and the staff is real worried about him. It seems like a serious case of depression is setting in.

Although his wounds on the outside may look bad, they may never compare with the wounds he has on the inside.

I spoke with him on the phone this evening, and he seemed real down. The reality is that he still has a long road to recover and may never see again. This young man has everything to live for and is a true inspiration. He is exactly the kind of person we would all want in a brother, son, or friend. I feel obligated to try and rally some support for him. I know we have a lot of caring people out there who would love to do something special for an outstanding American who gave his all for his country.

Call to Action

If you know of any church groups, school room classes, or other benevolent organizations that would be interested in assisting this brave young man, please forward this message on to them.

He is a pretty typical young man, so he likes sports and other typical young men stuff. A small care package with some goodies and such would mean the world.

Again, please forward this message to as many people as you know. It would be so great if we can all give way together and show Hunter that his country will never forget his sacrifices or service. He is down and needs our help.

Thank you for your support, it means everything.

V/R,
1SG Brian M. Disque
C CO 2-30 IN

“Our Country, Not Ourselves!”

Next Page »