Military Spouse Appreciation Month — Headaches and Heartache on the Home Front

By Jeffrey Baldovin
Badger Yellow Ribbon Program

(Editor’s note: President Obama’s proclamation made May, Military Appreciation Month. In honor of military appreciation month, we will be posting a blog every week honoring the military family.)

Nearly 30 years ago, before Sept. 11, 2001 and before deployments became common place to our military families, President Ronald Reagan recognized the importance of our military spouses’ commitment to the readiness and well being of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members. Here is a personal story from a Wisconsin National Guard member:

 

I had a headache. It was a bad headache and it lasted for days.

I was assigned to a route clearance platoon in Afghanistan in 2009. Our job was to find roadside bombs so the routes would be safe for all  to travel on. Often times, instead of us finding the bombs, the bombs would find us.

When they did, it was not a fun day. The best case scenario was usually a bad headache.

My wife had it much more difficult than I throughout my deployment. She worked as a producer for the 6 and 10 o’clock news at a local   NBC affiliate television station. Part of her job was to seek out national and international news stories and, more often than not, the military and its missions in Afghanistan were a part of that.

She produced many military segments, where roadside bombs that were killing our Soldiers were often the theme. The military, for good reason, withholds the names of those killed for a certain amount of time — so, naturally, my wife lived in fear that one day my name would show up among the deceased.

If I was on the road and unable to communicate with her for several days, this fear continued to grow in her mind until she was able to hear my voice. Talk about a headache.

It is important to remember that military families, especially spouses, are some of the strongest in our society. They bear the difficult burden of separation and the fear of loss every day that we’re away.

My wife is like so many strong spouses and family members who have supported our troops and deserve the utmost respect and honor. We could not do what we do successfully, without the unconditional support we receive from them.

There are many programs available to get involved and support our Soldiers and Airmen and their families. Is there a program that has been helpful for you, or a program you wish you had known about?