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Auggietina
12-10-2003, 09:08 AM
My DH is in the National Guards and was just activted for 18 months starting Dec 7th. He is headed off to Iraq sometime in the next couple of months and will be there for a year. I am glad to have a place on the dis to talk to other families who have someone in the Military.

This is all new to me, and I have lots of questions!

Keli
12-10-2003, 10:38 AM
You are at the beginning of what will be a very bumpy ride. Lots of ups and downs. What division will your dh's guard unit be attached to? There are support message boards for troops in general, specific branches of the military, divisions, even down to a particular battalion.

I belong to several message boards but I've found the one at the division level the most helpful because it's big enough to have lots of members, many who know details about events in Iraq before the general public, but it's specific enough that most of what is posted does relate to our soldier.

Yahoo and msn support many, many military related message boards and I would hunt one or two out and make some friends because it will really help in the days ahead. You'll read helpful hints on more stuff than you can even imagine and later you'll have a good source for information on everything from troop movement to whether your dh is getting hot meals.

Although I am far from an expert on military related stuff (I'm still having trouble figuring out what all the acronyms stand for, lol) if you have any questions you think I might be able to answer just pm me. I'd be glad to help any way I can.

Auggietina
12-10-2003, 11:27 AM
Hi-
I have been posting on a message board on ivillage which is specfic to Guards and Reservists, most of the people who are posting on that board are in the same boat as we are, they are either just being deployed or are already over there. I have found great support over on that board but the board is pretty quiet. I will have to look where you suggest to see if I can find additional boards to post. I am here on the dis everday so I am glad to find another venue to talk to people who might be going through the same thing as I am.

We don't know who they are being attached to. They were suppose to leave for their MOB station, which is Fort Drum on Sunday, but they were approved to do some training at their home station and are now not leaving until Jan 3rd.

He is in Army National Guards and they are an ENG unit which specializes in building roads, buildings and repairing bridges.

Thanks for your suggestions and offer!
Sue

jsmith
12-10-2003, 01:40 PM
We are also a National Guard Family-our soldiers go to MOB station on 6 January-at Fort Carson, Colorado. I encourage you to get involved with your state or unit Family Assistance Group. A lot of information will come through them. Even though our soliders are attached to active duty units and information is passed through those units, information also passes back to the state area commands and and to the Family Assistance groups there. It is also a collection of people in the same position for you to talk to face to face.
Also be sure your DH signs up for and adds you as a guest user to an AKO (Army Knowledge Online) Account-this will give you access to email, instant messenger, and the ability to upload pictures to a server so they can view them. We were told that most soliders have access to this service even when they can not use public internet
Have you gone to the SRP yet? How was it? We have done pre mobilization briefings and I have been a family program volunteer for years so I am pretty up to speed but the last SRP I saw was for Desert Storm and My DH was not mobilizing so i am interested to see how that goes.

Auggietina
12-10-2003, 02:20 PM
Hi jsmith!

I have spoken to our FSG leader - gave her my name and number and am on the phone tree and offered my assistance in anyway.

I signed up dh for AKO and added me as a user.

We went to the SRP last Wednesday. It was long - 7 hours. Spoke to family readiness group. They do a lot of activities and send out a newsletter every month.

To tell you the truth - there were more parents of soldiers at the family briefing then spouses. He has about 60 soldiers at his armory. We have a total of about 500 from Maine going. They have a lot of young men and women going over.

My concerns and questions are on how to help my dd deal with her father being away for so long, how to keep their relationship going, ideas of things to send him, just how to stay connected while he is gone.

Keli
12-10-2003, 03:47 PM
Will your dh have a lap top with him? If he does and you both have webcams it would be a great way for your dd to stay connected to her dad. Not only will she be able to talk back and forth with him but she'll be able to see him too.

jsmith
12-10-2003, 06:25 PM
Auggietina-how old is your DD? is she old enough that she will understand a little of what is happening or is she so small she won't know her dad in a year? That would be hard for him-but easier for her. If she is in School be sure you speak with the school before they go to Theater-so they can help you out. Send him lots of pics-the web cam is a great Idea, but the kid that I know who is in an engineering unit there only has power and internet for his about every six weeks so you will need to be creative. Also, computers are great-but you can't pull and email or IM out and read it again later so paper letters are important to.
Our unit is different-we are not sending very many "kids". They are a command and control unit and of the 65 mobilized (the unit is 109 total) only 7 rank lower than E5-most are senior NCO's and officers so we don't have a ton of young kids-my DS's are 18 and 14-one of our challenges is that we live in Colorado and our oldest goes to college in South Carolina-so we are going to have issues with Tri-care and so on.
Our SRP is scheduled to take TWO DAYS-and we are in a situation where we had a lot of notice-we have known since nov that this was likely, alerted on 1 December and report on 3 January-so we have a lot of time to do things ahead.-7 hours sound pretty quick to me-I think maybe you were lucky

Auggietina
12-10-2003, 07:03 PM
Our dd is 6 (she'll be 7 in a month) so she is old enough to understand that daddy is leaving with the Army, but she doesn't understand the length of time. We have to be careful if we are watching TV and the words "Iraq" and "Dead" are in the same story. She immediately assumes that the "dead" is someone her dad knows. We thought about sending over a laptop, but decided against it. He's not the most computer saavy guy and he didn't want to be responsible for lugging it around. We did get him a portable dvd player. So we will be sending dvds to him and picture cds. I just got back from the store and bought him a digital camera so if he has access he can send us pictures. Now I just got to teach him how to use it! He bought a tape recorder and is planning to send tapes home instead of letters to dd. They have such a special bond, it breaks my heart that they are going to be without each other for so long. He's the fun one. He's the one that plays Barbies and has tea parties with her.

I did speak to her school and the teacher is very supportive and will let me know if dd starts to have any changes in her behavior.

My dh is one of the old guys (he's 41). His ETS was Dec 2. He had gotten his 20 year letter in July. So much for retirement! He's happy about the extra points he is going to have after this.

They have been on alert since September, then alert for mobilization in Nov and then activated 11-22. So we have also known for a while that this was coming. It still sucks.

Thanks for listening, it means a lot.

Kismetdreams
12-10-2003, 10:02 PM
Auggietina,

You might want to consider getting yourselves a webcam and setting it up on your home computer. Many of the guys I know who have been there, or are still there, manage to get a little bit of internet time, and they can access through yahoo, msn, etc., to see your webcam, even if they don't have a camera on thier end.

My fiance is in Korea right now, and he and I keep in touch via the phone and I love the webcam, I got to see him and his room!

Your DH and the rest of your family will be in my prayers and thoughts.

Keli
12-11-2003, 09:13 AM
It will be a pain for your dh to lug a lap top around, no doubt about that but I think you might be underestimating the benefits of one. Before Titus got his lap top we were lucky to receive a brief email more than once a week. After he got his lap top he would IM 4-5 times a week and still send the occasional email. Plus we could see him with his webcam and he could see us with ours. Also before he got his lap top he had trouble saving digital pics although you could overcome that difficulty by purchasing an extra compact flash or whatever media your digital uses to save pics. Then your dh could mail you the card, you could download it and save the pics, erase it and send it back.
I'm definitely not trying to talk you into doing something but I just wanted to point out the tremendous benefits we received when Titus got a lap top. It made world of difference.
Also, don't forget to print all emails your dh sends. They are very nice to re-read later. I also made a habit of using copy and paste to transfer IM's to a word document and saving those too. I thought they might be neat for Titus' scrapbook when he comes home.

jsmith
12-11-2003, 11:05 AM
Keli-what is Titus job? We were waiting on the laptop until we got a better idea of where our units would be stationed. They are going to do a "non standard" mission-ie they usually work command and control for a brigade of field artillery so they are not in a hard set location where they would have internet or power for laptops. However for this trip they will be working command and control, but not for artillery-and may be in a hard set location-barracks with power and what not. I would guess from what you say that Titus is in a hard set location. The guys i know from other engineer units are in a hard set about every three weeks and in the field the rest of the time, so they advised against anything that would not run on batteries.
We already have a web cam at home and I would echo Kismetdreams-because even if he does not have one on his end at least he will be able to see you
my DH is an "old" guy too-hes 42-and has had his 20 year letter for 4 years-our plan was that he would stay in until our youngest-currently a HS freshman, graduated from college because the extra money helps with school expenses. We will see what happens now-also retiring would not have helped-three guys from Mike's unit were recalled from retirement because they were deemed to be mission essential.
It sounds like you are doing a good job of planning ahead for your DD-so keep up the good work and don't forget to take care of yourself.

Keli
12-11-2003, 02:08 PM
jsmith, Titus is in a hard set location now, he's at qwest. He had access to electricity through most of the time he's been gone, he just didn't have it available in his tent but usually there was a building he could go to and plug something in if he needed to do that for a short time. Now Titus is in mobile barracks that they've moved into qwest at Thanksgiving and he loves them.

Teri Zolman
12-11-2003, 10:55 PM
I really feel for all of you that have National Guard loved ones going to Iraq. My husband is active duty Army and we are at Fort Knox KY. He is an instructor so he hasn't been deployed yet, though lots of friends are. I deal with deployments all of the time and it is very difficult, I cannot imagine what it is like when you aren't used to it. A little suggestion for the small kids. When my husband was gone when our kids where young my husband read several books on tape for the kids and messages. This really helped when they missed daddy. If you need any help with military wording let me know. My husband has been in for 14 years so I am pretty used to it.

jsmith
12-12-2003, 11:25 AM
Thanks Teri-My DH has been in for 24 years and we both grew up in military families so I am pretty used to this stuff-I think the hardest thing for National Gaurd Families has been the length of the deployments-since Vietnam most reserve call ups have been for no more than 180 days-My DH's orders are for 545 days. The one thing that I think is easier for the people called for this deployment rather than last year is we are getting our expectations set realistically-the reservists who were called last year got 180 day orders and have been extended at least once-some twice-at least we know that it is going to be a long time and aren't expecting them home when they won't come. But the one thing that most of the wives in our unit talk about is how hard it would be to be an active duty spouse and have to face this four or five or eight times in a twenty year career. That would really be tough!-
Keli-its good that Titus gets to be at a hard set and have internet and all that-I hope that Mike gets that-it will be nice to know we have good communication

Teri Zolman
12-12-2003, 11:47 AM
Hope this helps. I just talked to a friend that is stationed in Tirkrit? he said that they can e-mail whenever they have a free moment. He e-mails his wife everyday if he is not on a mission. Please remember that even if you don't hear from them everyday they are okay. Sometimes my husband would go a month without being able to contact us. I mailed a letter everyday so that even if I did not hear from him he had something from home. Those have been great memories over the years. We get the letters out and let the kids read them. They love to hear about how they were growing at certain times. I am thankful that right now I do not have to worry about my husband deploying. I am gong through treatment for Cancer and thankful that will keep him home for know. I couldn't go through this without him. I must say the military family is always so supportive in a time of need. Make sure and have a good support system and keep busy. Waiting at home for him to can drive you crazy.

powellrj
12-12-2003, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by Teri Zolman
I really feel for all of you that have National Guard loved ones going to Iraq. My husband is active duty Army and we are at Fort Knox KY. He is an instructor so he hasn't been deployed yet, though lots of friends are. I deal with deployments all of the time and it is very difficult, I cannot imagine what it is like when you aren't used to it. A little suggestion for the small kids. When my husband was gone when our kids where young my husband read several books on tape for the kids and messages. This really helped when they missed daddy. If you need any help with military wording let me know. My husband has been in for 14 years so I am pretty used to it.

Thanks for the offer of help with the military wording, we are so new at all this I am not sure of even what questions I have at this point. I had to smile when I saw you were at Ft Knox. That was my DS first choice after AIT. Of course he didn't get it, but anytime someone mentions Ft. Knox I always have to smile!

Teri Zolman
12-12-2003, 04:33 PM
The funny thing is that this is the one place that my husband didn't ask for. I really think someone was looking out for us. If we would have stayed at Fort Hood he would be in Iraq and I would be going through all of this alone. I am glad that your son gets to be home for the holidays. I can't wait to spend Christmas away from the military at Disneyworld. My husband is a AIT instructor. What is you son's job?

powellrj
12-12-2003, 05:59 PM
he is a 91-whiskey, he finishes his AIT at Fort Sam Houston the end of Jan and then he is off to Germany. From there we don't know where he is going. All we know is Europe.

BibbidiBobbidiBOO
12-12-2003, 08:52 PM
My DH was active duty and we were living in Germany when he was sent to the Gulf War in 90-91. Now he is in the Army Reserves(he instructs other Majors) and any of them can be pulled to be a donor to another unit that is deploying. I was hoping he would be "safe" teaching, oh well! He has already received one possible "go" but was too high ranking for the position(thank goodness::yes:: ). But it could happen at any time. I pray it does not, as it is a standard 18 months now.
Anyway, I can possibly offer info or advice since we were active duty for 10 years and he has been in the reserves about 6. Moved around a lot too, including Germany.