Some Soldiers called home before every mission. If the Soldier doesn’t call after the mission, does the spouse worry?
I was not one of these Soldiers. Aside from all the OPSEC issues associated with this, as a deployed Soldier I wanted to do everything I could to keep my wife from worrying about me or being upset.
After we got to Baghdad, Big Poppa and I wouldn’t tell our wives we were going outside the wire with our Soldiers. It was just as easy to let our wives assume that we were Fobbits with some safe office job and not have them worry.
Does it mean that I love my wife any less, because I don’t call home as often as they do?
Why would they feel the need to tell them everything that was going on? Why would someone call their spouse right away to tell them that we were being mortared? Or post it on their facebook status? This makes absolutely no friggin sense to me. Do you expect your spouse to be happy that you were mortared?
While I am sure that some Soldiers may actually be trying to impress people. Others may be struggling to relieve stress and fear by speaking to people they love and trust. But it still doesn’t make any sense to me. They need to focus on more than their own temporary sense of relief, and understand the impact that it has on the person they are talking to, and then on the next spouse that your spouse talks to, and the next spouse after that, and on and on.
My truck was hit by an IED one night, and my wife had already found out about it before I woke up in the morning. One of my buddies stopped by my cot on his way back from the phones and told me that I should call home because my wife was worried. She has also emailed me in case that I read my email before I called home.
“I love you so much! I heard what happened, but I’m sure that I don’t know all of it. I don’t like hearing that kind of stuff through the grapevine. Are you OK, baby? Do you get to come home now?? I love you and you have to come home to us. I’m worried for you. I’m praying for you everyday. I love you and I wish that I could hold you. Call me when you can. I know you are busy, but I just want to hear your voice. I love you and I miss you!!”
Not that I don’t appreciate sweet words from my wife, but this is something that I would hope to avoid. When I felt like even mentioning that something was going on, I would only say that I had been having a “bad day but I was OK.” This could have meant anything from us getting hit, to First Sergeant riding my ass that day, to me having explosive diarrhea all day.
Am I being overly judgmental again, or did anyone else have an issue with this? Would a spouse really rather know or not know?
Up until recently you didn’t have such direct access to your loved ones. You might be able to call home every once in awhile, but mostly you relied on writing letters through the mail. I truly wonder if that was a burden or a blessing. It certainly hasn’t improved divorce rates. I would guess that about 50% of the Soldiers that deployed with us did not return to the relationship that they were in when we left.
What opinions do the veterans of Vietnam, Saudi, Panama, Somalia, etc… have on this? Direct access to communicate back and forth from the combat zone…Burden or Blessing? How do the spouses of our preceding veterans feel about this?
What about the impact of having embedded and immediate news coverage?
By Bryan H. Reed, Army Veteran OIF 07-09