This is a common question, particularly for the family members of the person who is interested in joining the Army. There are quite a few considerations with the Army to be made before enlistment is pursued. If you or your family members are very against deployment, the Army may not be an option for you.
With the current deployment tempo, you are more likely to deploy at some point in your enlistment than not. There are some jobs that are non-deployable but these jobs are typically not available for new recruits. These jobs would include recruiting and instructor positions. There are others as well but non-deployable positions are not common.
When this question arises, there is generally much more to it than just the deployment itself. Let’s address some of the issues that may be prompting this question and look at the avenues the Army provides to counteract that issue.
Being Left Alone
This part is inevitable. When he leaves for deployment, you will be on your own as your spouse will be halfway around the world. However, you are not truly alone. You have your built-in Army family of other spouses and family members.
During my husband’s deployments overseas, I found great comfort and solace in other Army spouses. It was rare that I truly felt alone during a deployment and it was just me as, at the time, we didn’t yet have children.
Another aspect of being left alone is the fear of being in the unknown military world on your own. This could be something as simple as not knowing how to renew your ID or just being uncomfortable with the Army lifestyle, customs and terminology.
This is where the Family Readiness Group or FRG comes into play. This group is comprised of spouses of your soldier’s unit and its sole purpose is to support the family and provide information. The group is particularly active during deployments and many will plan outings and other events to keep families busy.
FRGs often assign a key caller to spouses. This is your point of contact if you have any questions or concerns. They can answer your questions or lead you in the right direction.
In addition, there are also numerous resources available on post including classes through Army Community Service (ACS), activities through Morale Welfare & Recreation (MWR) and spiritual services and activities through the Chapel.
There are also numerous volunteer opportunities on post as well as through military related organizations off post such as the USO.
I always relied on the support group of Army wives of soldiers in his unit. We would have gatherings at least once a week, if not more often. And we were in touch via phone and text messaging much more than that. Spending time with others who are going through the same deployment can be very helpful. You are essentially surrounded by those who understand exactly what you are feeling. I considered these ladies to be my family, not just friends.
Fear of Disability or Death
While every death is a tragic occurrence and a great loss to our country, his odds of coming back safe and sound are much higher than the opposite. It is normal to be fearful of this outcome.
However, not allowing him to serve because of your fear of this will not necessarily keep him safe. He doesn’t have to be serving in the Army to have something that would cause him to be disabled or result in his death.
One of the most difficult things to do is to watch your soldier walk away to board a plane bound for a war zone not knowing if you will ever see him again. It is a hard reality to deal with on any level.
But as you acclimate to the Army lifestyle, you learn how to cope with these fears. And if you are having a difficult time with it, the Army provides chaplains as well as counselors who can help you deal with your emotions.
I always leaned on my built-in support group of other Army wives of soldiers in his unit. They were a great sounding board and it was always comforting to hear that they had the same worries and concerns as it let me know that I was not alone in my fears.
Just knowing someone else understands can be tremendously helpful when dealing with the uncertainties that a deployment brings.
Relationship Will Suffer
While I don’t think any spouse with a healthy marriage looks forward to deployments, many will tell you that they are stronger because of them. And quite a few will also confirm that their marriage is stronger as well.
Some couples do have trouble with reintegration after deployment. After living apart for so long, it can sometimes be hard to live under the same roof again.
Within a few weeks, most couples will adjust on their own. For those who are having a more difficult transition, there are resources available including counseling sessions and marriage retreats.
Unlike generations prior to us, we have excellent lines of communication available during deployments. Previous generations only had letters and they were sporadic at best. We now have access to letters, packages, email, phone, internet chat, Skype and teleconferencing. There are many opportunities to continue to stay in touch during the deployment.
While there are downsides to deployments, most can be overcome. And none are a reason not to serve.
To answer the original question, non-deployable jobs are few and far between. While some soldiers have yet to experience a deployment even after years of service, it is more likely that you will deploy during your enlistment.
In fact, you should sign on the dotted line expecting to be deployed. But, fear of deployments is not a reason to avoid joining the military. The majority of the negatives associated with a deployment can be overcome by the resources that the Army provides as well as a strong support network.