An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
I'm the mom of an Infantry Marine son who had the "pleasure" of two trips to Afghanistan -- one in the blistering 120 degree heat of summer, and one in the -0 degree cold of winter. Afghanistan, also called the "Stan," the "Sand," "Af-crapistan," and other things not suitable for a family network. The deployments were radically different in more ways than the weather, and too much the same. The summer one seemed made up of 13-hour patrols through dusty villages, nodding at locals who smiled during the day, and might be the locals who buried IEDs in your path at night. My son seemed to get very little sleep, expressed a lot of pent-up anger, but there was the gift of regular communication and weekly mail delivery once things got settled. The winter deployment was apparently at the far end of nowhere. I don't honestly know what he did on that deployment. Communication was rare, care package deliveries took up to six weeks to arrive due to "local conditions," but we Skyped on Christmas Eve, and his IED dog, Emmie, seemed to buoy his spirits and keep a smile in his voice.
What both deployments had in common was that I was here, and he was there, and I never, ever was able to forget that he was in a war zone, in harm's way, every damn day, while I went to work, cleaned the house, lay awake at night, made dinner, ate out, washed clothes, pulled weeds in the yard. I call it the Deployment Music. Sometimes it's loud, sometimes it damps down to a low buzz, but it's always there. It can be explained, but it won't be understood if you haven't been through it. If you have, you never forget it.
So, if there's a deployment in your future, and especially if it's the first one for you, let's talk.
There are a whole set of Deployment forums here on MFN that can help with the practical matters, the logistics of care package making and shipping, discussions with others who have been through a deployment or are going through one now. I could post the links here, but then you might never find your way back, so here's a "map":
1. Click on the GROUPS option on the menu bar at the top of every page here at MFN. 2. When the option opens, click on GENERAL TOPICS (it's the third choice from the top). 3. When you arrive at the General Topics page, scroll down the page until you see this:
- Afghanistan Deployments
- Africa Deployments
- General Homecoming Topics
- Care Packages
4. Click on any one of those bulleted items and explore away, bookmark what interests you, post questions that are on your mind.
For me at least, knowledge helps me settle my mind, so I really do encourage you to explore those topics. Even if some of the forums seem quiet, there are moderators who watch over those forums and will respond. And if you post, I'm betting other members will, too. People hate to be first. Be first!
Join your Marine's Unit Forum. If you don't know where it is on MFN, just post here and we'll help you find it. Again, it might be quiet -- but if you are facing a deployment, so are the rest of the parents in that unit, so get things started!
Read Other Parents' Blogs. Misery loves company, and worried folks need support, and it never hurts to know that others have been there, done that, and survived. I went through my blogs, both in my old pre-moderator account here (17smom) and in my current moderator account (1~17smom), and here's what I found on the topic of deployment -- clearly, it occupied my mind quite a bit!
A Visual Aid for Deployment: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/deployment-the-classi...
Pre-Deployment Leave: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/a-joyful-song-while-t...
Deployment is Almost Here: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/the-deployment-music-...
Christmas in Afghanistan: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/now-is-the-winter-of-...
Deployment is Almost Over (Mail Stop): http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/that-twilight-zone-mo...
Coming Home Safe: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/the-big-dipper-is-sti...
OpSec and Deployment: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/dear-taliban-just-tho...
Let's Chat. Besides the MFN Chat that appears on the Home Page, there is another chat area, listed as "Chat: Scheduled" in the drop-down menu of the CONNECT & SHARE option in the menu bar at the top of the page. It's described as "scheduled" because it is open only from 8 PM to 10 PM Central, and is held in a different area you can reach by clicking on the menu choice. To access the scheduled Chat Rooms, your computer must have the free application called Java installed. Currently, that Chat area is open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and is mostly attended by Recruit parents. BUT, and it's an important BUT, there is always at least one Chat moderator in the room during Chat hours, and most of our Scheduled Chat moderators are experienced parents who have weathered deployments. If there is enough interest, we can schedule Deployment chats in a separate room during those hours. What's unique about scheduled Chat is that (a) there is always a moderator in attendance and (b) there are multiple "rooms" available, so our Deployment chatters can be in a separate room from our Recruit chatters. As you might imagine, the issues, concerns and questions of a Deployment parent are very different from those of a Recruit parent.
If you are interested in a Deployment-only chat, post that interest here. If interest reaches "critical mass" (5-10 members interested in coming together one night a week for chat), we'll get one set up. If not, seek out those who have been there/done that here on MFN, and we'll help you make it through, just like others helped us through our own deployments. Because that's the mission. We're that infinite line of Marine families, being held up by others who are further along, then turning to hold out our own hand to the next family in line.
Mother of a 3/3 Marine
Now a Veteran