- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hello Ms. Vicki,

My husband is refusing to re-enlist in the Army in March. I think he has lost his mind. He claims that he is tired of all the deployments.

I’m not buying it. I told him he should man up and stop acting like a scared little boy. The economy is too bad. Where does the think he will find employment? I keep telling him there are no jobs anywhere in our country and he needs to stay in the Army.

Besides, Ms. Vicki, he could get a $20,000 bonus if he re-enlists. Doesn’t he know what we could do with all that money? We could pay off bills and maybe even take a vacation.

I’ve learned to cope with deployments, and he has, too. There’s nothing to it. He doesn’t even go beyond the wire anyway, so what is he so concerned about?

He has this idea that he will return to coastal Alabama and open up a fishing tackle company. What? He says this is his dream job. He can’t be serious - who is going to lend him money to start a fishing tackle company? Hasn’t he been reading about the recession and how all the banks have no money either?

Ms. Vicki, I’ve been an Army wife now for six years, and I like it. Help me persuade my husband to stay in the Army. We need a retirement check!

- He Doesn’t Get It!

Dear Doesn’t Get It,

I don’t think you get it! Your husband doesn’t want to re-enlist. You can’t make him, nor should you try.

Just a tidbit of information: The age of enlistment for the Army has increased. Why don’t you contact a recruiter to see if you are eligible? Let’s see if you like being the service member and coping with multiple deployments. Your husband may even enjoy being the military spouse; there are many male military spouses who enjoy being supportive to their service-member wives.

He dreams of having a fishing tackle shop. What’s wrong with him pursuing his dream? Yes, you are right, the economy is tough, and we are in a recession. Many people report having a difficult time getting business loans, etc. However, nothing beats a failure but a try. Let him try, OK?

In your defense, your husband needs to start getting business and financial advice now. If he is not going to re-enlist in March, he must transition to employment while he works on his business venture. It may not happen overnight, but I believe in preparation and a plan. I wish you all the best. Stay in touch and let me know what happens.

Ms. Vicki,

Please help me understand why military wives have all of these extra duties just to stay married to someone in the military? My husband is not in the military and never would be, but I’m friends with some military people from work.

I just don’t get the sniveling and complaining from the military wives, especially the officers’ wives. They want everything to be done for them; they expect all of this support from everyone, and when they don’t get it, they complain to their congressman. They expect to be treated as if they are special, but they don’t want to work for anything. It’s as if their job is to be a military wife.

The ones I work with want special support from the job while their husband is deployed. They want extra stress days off to cope with deployments. Then they want extra pay because of the many years they spend volunteering.

Don’t they know that volunteering doesn’t matter? This is the real world, where you need real work experience and certifications. Just because you home-schooled your children, that doesn’t make you a certified teacher. How can you expect that a school district is going to put you in a classroom as a teacher? You need to have an education degree and a certification. Here’s another example: Just because you make your children feel better when they have a cold or the flu, that doesn’t make you a registered nurse. You must have the degree and the license.

These military spouses just tickle me. They think employers should make special allowances and give them jobs for which they don’t qualify. It’s hilarious! You name it, they want it. My husband is in a high-stress position now, and he used to be a coal miner. It was tough on me every day he went to work. I felt that it might be his last time coming from the mines.

No one gave me anything, and they still don’t. I didn’t expect anything, either. I’ve created my own support network, the way it should be. It just sounds ridiculous to me. I have a lot of education and am a professor at a local university. I’ve worked hard, and I support my husband and my children. No one has to give me anything, so why do we have to make allowances for military spouses?

- Someone Needs To Grow Up!

Dear Grow Up,

I don’t know any military spouse who considers himself or herself to be prepared for a profession without proper education and credentials. I’ve worked with many of them, and I’m a military spouse, too.

Military spouses are not looking for handouts, and we don’t consider the Department of Defense to be a social service agency. Like thousands of military spouses, I have volunteered in the military and local communities and I’ve never thought employers should give me employment for which I was not credentialed or qualified.

Yes, your husband is in a high-stress position now and has worked as a miner. My hat’s off to you and him. However, my husband and many others volunteer to serve their country and are prepared for the ultimate sacrifice. You say we want something given to us? I totally disagree. I think a whole lot more should be given to our service members and their families. They shouldn’t have to ask for it; we should give it freely. They are doing something many citizens would never do - meaning lay down their lives for their countrymen.

As you can see, I totally disagree with you, but I appreciate your taking the time to write.

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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