Friday, February 4, 2011

dual military

The Army owns both T and I. He works full-time active duty, and I work "half-time" National Guard. I say half-time because it seems there's always work at the unit to do. Three or even five day drills aren't uncommon, in addition to special work days during the month. Not to mention all of the unpaid time, because when you're a leader, your soldiers belong to you all of the time, not just when you're drilling. All that said, though, I still prefer the National Guard. I can walk up to my unit and say, hey, I need to move to Colorado, and they'll find a way to get me transferred. I can say, 'Hey, I've got a wedding to go to that weekend, can I possibly work a different one?' and every once in awhile they'll agree. And I don't need to spend five weeks at JRTC for no apparent reason.

Yes, I know, it's pre-deployment train-up. My unit went through seven (yes, seven!) months of that ourselves on our way to Iraq, before they re-structured National Guard deployments to be shorter. But the reality is, he's not doing a whole lot down there besides sitting around with no cell service practicing being miserable. Meanwhile, there's an empty plate at my dinner table.

People often ask me if it's difficult to be a dual-military couple. The first answer is yes, of course. When we both need to be on duty, finding someone to take care of the animals is a real challenge -- especially when most of our friends are also military, and likely will be away the same times we are. (Luckily we don't have children yet, and are planning to wait on that until T gets out a year from now and can be a stay-at-home dad.) We're constantly getting socks and TA-50 gear mixed up. But it's also tremendously rewarding. We can bitch about work to each other and not have to translate from acronymese. We share a deep emotional commitment to service. And perhaps most importantly, as we're both combat veterans, neither of us is bothered by the other's demons that come in the night.


  1. Zev, thanks for visiting my blog. I must say, I am intrigued my your lifestyle, which could not be more different from mine.

  2. I wonder what really makes them so different?

  3. yes, i'm sure things are challenging but sounds like you're doing things the right way! i live 7 miles from the marine base in 29 Palms, CA and am a mental health therapist. i can't tell you how many couples i see who struggle. sounds like you two have a good thing going! congrats!

  4. Hi Zev, I agree with Leah, your lifestyle is so different to mine, looking forward to reading more. Beautiful collie btw!