These three articles speak about concerns unique to National Guardsmen (and Reserves) and their families. Just a little extra something to tuck in the back of your mind whether you are a National Guardsman, in the Reserves, a family member, or American civilian.
– This article doesn’t share a lot of specifics, so it’s a little hard to fully evaluate, but basically, Guardsmen and Reserves who are in training prior to deployment are not allowed to see family or friends. While this is somewhat difficult to swallow, the simple fact is, regardless, that National Guardsmen and Reserves do go away for training (several months’ worth) prior to deploying. While this training is beneficial in preparing the soldiers for their mission, this is time away from family and civilian life. This can affect families and jobs (both mentioned below) and the soldier themselves. I’m not sure what to think about this recent development. If the soldiers are busy 24/7 during this training, then taking time to visit with family or friends is simply not a good idea. However, how can using spare time to meet with family or friends (for even just an evening away) be detrimental? But, then again, I don’t have any experience in this area, so I should be careful in voicing an opinion. Point blank, I have more questions than answers at the moment.
– This article shares how Army Lt. Col. Phil Appleton is working on assisting returning soldiers in finding jobs. It’s a known fact among civilian soldiers that being in the National Guard or Reserves does create difficulties in finding employment and holding a job. Even though employers are not supposed to discriminate against soldiers, when it comes down to it, employing a person who is guaranteed to up and leave for more than a year at a time on a fairly frequent basis (not to mention the shorter drill weekends and summer annual training times) doesn’t make good business sense. While the military is aware of this problem and seeking out ways to help citizen soldiers and employers, there is still a lot that needs done to ensure jobs for Guardsmen and Reserves.
– One of the unique challenges in the civilian soldier’s life and their family’s lives is that Guardsmen are spread out. I have yet to meet a Guard family who lives near to where their soldier drills. While there were closer units to where my husband and I live, these units did not have what my husband wanted, so we ended up traveling close to two hours to go to drill, and I’ve heard of much longer distances traveled. Yes, it’s the guardsman’s decision to choose a unit that far away. However, the fact still stands that guardsmen and their families are very spread out. When deployment comes, this can lead to isolation and other difficulties (and problems on the homefront can lead to lowered morale in the soldiers and less effectiveness in their mission). It has been encouraging to me to see various attempts at connecting unit spouses. Some have done and are doing an excellent job. But there is still more than can be done. This article shares about the desire to encourage American civilians to help servicemembers and their families. I am all for that. It can be way to easy to live, as a civilian, completely ignorant about those who are serving us.
Are these articles accurate? Do you have comments concerning your experience with the the National Guard or Reserves? What are ways that you’ve been helped or helped others? Leave me a comment.