So you love a service member: partners, parents & significant others

So you love a service member: partners, parents & significant othersSo, you love a service member. They could be your son or daughter, your boyfriend, or long term partner, but there are likely a number of things you’ve yet to understand about the military lifestyle.  As an “outsider” on the inside, it can be difficult to feel connected to the military community, especially when your service member is deployed or away on duty.

Modern military families take on many different shapes and forms, and it’s important for you to know the basic information and resources available to your unique situation.  Getting everything down can be confusing, even for those that grew up in the military, let alone for parents or boyfriends trying to nail down the logistics. Whether you think an FRG* is the toy robot your nephew wants for Christmas, or you just want to know how to keep in touch with your service member while they’re deployed, the new Partners, Parents, and Significant Others section of our website has you covered. Find information particular to those new to the military lifestyle or just approaching the military from a new perspective. Acronyms, benefits, and information for caregivers—we’ve put it all in one place!

As a non-ID card holder, you are likely not near a military installation, and there are many things that you might not have access to.  Your service member is always your best information resource, but they might not always be available to help with questions and concerns as they arise. Create your own military community by staying in the know through your service member’s leadership, and becoming part of local groups and organizations that provide support and resources. With our nation at war for more than a decade, it is an especially difficult time to have a loved one in the military, but having the right resources and information can help provide some stability in the most unstable of times.

*an FRG isn’t a toy robot—it’s a Family Readiness Group.

Experienced military families: what’s something you’ve learned that you would pass on to a non-ID card holder as they learn more about the military?

maranathaPosted by Maranatha Bivens, Communications Editor
at the National Military Family Association

7 responses to “So you love a service member: partners, parents & significant others

  1. Thank you for this information. As a parent of a soldier, it’s very difficult to find information on how to stay connected to and supportive of our son as he prepares for his first deployment. I understand and appreciate the focus on spouses – as when someone marries the nucleus of a family changes, as it should. But I have to admit that as a parent of a single soldier, I feel like I’m on a bit of an island some times.
    When I read, “As a non-ID card holder, you are likely not near a military installation, and there are many things that you might not have access to. Your service member is always your best information resource, but they might not always be available to help with questions and concerns as they arise.”, the words resonated with me. Thank you for providing these resources for parents. We love and support our soldiers too!

  2. My husband is a reservist in the Air Force and my son is active duty Army. We have never lived in a ‘military’ town. We live in Oklahoma and husband drills once a month in at Andrews Air Force base in Washington DC. I often feel isolated and out of reach of support groups and other family members of the military community. Even though I have an ID card it is of little use without available military establishment. Deployments are especially difficult without community support. I am thankful for businesses that offer military discounts such as Home Depot and Schlotsky’s Sandwich Shop. There has to be a way for family member of reservists to feel more connected.

    • We think so too, Lori. We’ll be sure to cover that issue on this blog as many families feel the same way you do. Thanks for visiting!

    • Lori,
      My son is active duty Army as well. I’m relatively new to the “Army Parent” role as he has only been in the service for two years. His first deployment begins this week. I’m sorry to hear that you too experience feelings of isolation. I live just north of Chicago and there is virtually no Army presence in this area to speak of. We have Great Lakes Naval Base a few miles from our home, but outside of that there is very little military culture or related support in this area.

      You have it especially challenging with your husband in the reserves as well. My heart goes out to you! Do you have any advice as to how we has parents can band together to support each other more meaningfully? What is your advice to me as I try to manage this first deployment for my son? I appreciate any advice you can offer – I’m thrilled to have some connection to another “Army Mom”!

      • I have a friend whose husband is active Army so we try to stick together. We shop once a month at Tinker AFB about an hour away. Being on base helps us feel more connected. Anytime we travel we stay at a military installation.
        It may be possible for you to find a friend that has an ID card so you can spend visit the naval base depending on what services are offered.
        When my son was deployed to Afghanistan, I found great support through his units’ FRG. The leader of the group was my son’s commander’s wife. She made sure she was avaiable by phone or email at all times to answer questions and let me know what the troops’ needs were as far as sending packages.
        The post office has special boxes called APO boxes that can be mailed to your son for less than $15. Let’s keep in touch for sure, Patty. My email address is loritef1@yahoo.com. Send your phone number if you would like to.

  3. Lori, thank you for your sound advice. I will reach out to your Yahoo account. My son is also going to Afghanistan – he leaves tomorrow. During his deployment ceremony the Lt.Colonel’s wife took my information so I could be included in the communication chain. I’m anxiously waiting for the first message.
    I so appreciate having a link to another Army Mom – thank you. I look forward to staying in touch.
    Patty

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