Term Paper: Military Deployment Affects Military Families

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[. . .] Unfair? Obviously. But while 18 states require that students pass an exit exam to graduate from high school, not one has a reciprocal agreement that would help students such as Jones (Peterson, 2001)."

Even when students make it through all of the red tape that they have encountered through four years of high school while under deployment orders, they often find they must pay out of school tuition for the colleges they want to attend. Recently approximately 31 states have begun to study different ways to assist these students who are being hurt through no fault of their own. Their only crime is being related to a military member who has been deployed.

STRESS FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY

The stress of military deployment affects the entire family, not just the students of that family. Military deployment causes stress in several areas of family life, and this stress causes many things to occur including a higher divorce rate (Peterson, 2001).

Many military families, particularly those in the enlisted ranks, are already under stress as a result of factors ranging from low salaries to poor housing.

But now add deployment to a war zone to the everyday pressures of military life. Studies after the Persian Gulf War showed divorce rates surged at three Army bases that sent troops overseas, with increases ranging from 37% to 56%. Although many marriages may have been unstable before separation, the numbers are still high (Peterson, 2001)."

There are many financial stresses and hardships that go along with being a deployed military family. When a family is transferred from one base to another it is not always financially beneficial. Families, for instance, who are transferred to bases in California often, encounter cost of living issues that cannot be met on military salary. On base housing may not be available, which leaves the family scrambling to afford housing off base that is among the highest housing costs in the nation. Daycare costs can also be prohibited when a family moves from one area of the nation to another. When a family goes through a deployment order often times one parent is responsible for finding housing, moving the family, locating schools, dealing with the cost of enrolling in those schools, finding daycare and paying for the daycare after finding a job (Peterson, 2001).

Even though you know internally that this is part of your mission, you signed up for this, that doesn't mean you can always deal with it," says Joyce Wessel Raezer of the National Military Family Association, a non-profit advocate for military families. "Separation is a major stressor" for the family. Raezer is not delighted with reports of quickie marriages being performed for couples expecting a deployment. "I'm not sure this is the best time to do this," she says. The champagne can go flat quickly when reality hits (Peterson, 2001). "

One of the factors that experts attribute to the rise in stress levels among military families who deal with deployment is the fact that the families are younger. Because the nation has switched to an all volunteer service personnel, it has lowered the ratio of older families being deployed. The draft is gone and the draft used to affect families with service members up to the age of 35. Today, the lack of a draft means that many men who are past the age of 25, have already chosen life careers and paths and they have begun their lives. They are not going to join the military.

This means that most of the military personnel is comprised of younger adults who have decided for a variety of reasons to make the military their job or their career. This shift in demographics, not only affects the age of available troops, but also the age of the spouses and children of those troops. The entire military family has been dramatically reduced in age over the years since the Viet Nam conflict and that change has added stressors to deployment that were not as common and evident in the past. Young spouses who are barely out of childhood themselves are now faced with deployment family stresses that include homesickness, financial problems and the stress of missing their equally youthful spouse who may have been deployed to a dangerous area of the world.

The nature of the military has changed dramatically since the Vietnam War. "The all-volunteer military today is predominantly a young, married force with children," says a report by Raezer submitted to Congress. There are consequences for "recruiting someone with a family and expecting them to live on a salary more appropriate for a single person in the barracks. Financial issues are not as acute for most officers. But budgets already stretched thin may give out when a mom or dad deploys from the enlisted ranks. "Younger families depend on the service member having a second job delivering pizza," Raezer says. "Or they provide child care in the evening so a spouse can work at Wal-Mart (Peterson, 2001)."

The adults in the family of a deployment order are also affected through disruptions of school. Because many of the families are young adult led in the all volunteer service that the nation now uses, they are often enrolled in college for their degree in the field of their choice. The deployment orders of themselves or their spouse often creates havoc for those who are trying to attend college. They must try and finish the quarter or semester, and try and get moved during a natural school break. When they arrive at the new destination they must then hope the credits they took at their former college are accepted at this new college and that the transcripts will be sent in time for them to sign up at the new town.

MENTAL ILLNESS AND DEPLOYMENT

Families of deployed military personnel can suffer from various mental health issues. Things such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety and anger issues have all been discovered in increased percentages in the families of deployed military personnel as compared to families who do not go through deployments. One recent study of more than 17,000 military personnel concluded that one in six of those studied drink alcohol on a heavy basis. In addition the research study uncovered an interesting mindset among those who suffered from depression (Peterson, 2001). The study screened members of the military and their families for depression and it was concluded that 18% of those who participated in the study needed treatment for depression. While 18% suffered from and wanted treatment for depression, only eight percent actually accepted and received treatment. The others felt that seeking treatment for depression might injure their careers now, or in the future (Peterson, 2001).

The military has learned from its experiences with families in the Gulf War and intensified its support systems. The Navy runs extensive programs to bolster the physical and emotional needs of families before during and after deployment. "Reunion teams" may help sailors on their way home from overseas learn how to re- establish intimacy in a marriage or care for a baby born when Dad was overseas. "The bottom line is realistic communication about expectations" during deployment, says Lt. Col. Glen Bloomstrom, an Army chaplain. Everyday issues that come up range from keeping a balanced family budget while overseas, to decisions concerning the children while one parent is away (Peterson, 2001). "

WHAT IS BEING DONE

Recently the national military branches began to realize that the families of deployed personnel need assistance to handle the stresses and problems that go hand in hand with deployment orders. The military has conducted surveys and combed through records to determine what the issues are and what the demographics of those issues are comprised of. Among the findings were:

55% of military personnel are married.

56% of those married are between 22 and 29.

One million military children are under 11.

40% are 5 or younger.

63% of spouses work, including 87% of junior-enlisted spouses (Peterson, 2001)."

The cost of living is moving forward at a faster rate than military pay according to some studies. Out of pocket expenses each time a deployment causes a move can be draining (Air, 2001). Even when though the military moves the house, there are deposits for utilities, replaced spices, staples, food and other expenses that the family has to incur with each move.

One of the things that has been suggested across the nation and to the government is an increase in the provision of base housing. Base housing would assist the families of deployed military members in several ways. The first thing that it would do would be to provide affordable housing that would be standardized throughout the nation. Military families who have to move to the expensive areas of the nation are often forced to live in poverty as well as areas they do not consider… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Military Deployment Affects Military Families.  (2003, February 20).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/military-deployment-affects/5748533

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"Military Deployment Affects Military Families."  Essaytown.com.  February 20, 2003.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/military-deployment-affects/5748533.