I am sure by now you have heard about what happened in Afghanistan. An Army staff sergeant shot and killed 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children 🙁
There are a lot of reasons why people think this happened. Maybe he had been deployed too much, maybe he was having too many personal problems, maybe he just went crazy or maybe he just did something awful.
One of the first things I thought when I heard about this is that he probably had been deployed too much and for too long.
And he isn’t the only person to be in that position. There are a lot of Military men and women that have simply spent too much time over there. They are not given enough time at home. Not everyone can handle that although some can. What should the Military do about it?
Back in 2007, we were a part of a deployment extension. Our 9-month deployment got pushed to 12 months and then to 15. I still remember sitting with some ladies right after the news hit. We were in shock. We could not believe that our husbands were going to be deployed that long. Some friends of mine got pregnant on R&R and assumed that their husbands would be there for the birth. Not only did the husbands miss the births but they came home to 2-month-olds. My middle son was born in the middle of this deployment. Ben came home from R&R when he was 3 days old and said goodbye to him when he was about 2.5 weeks old. He didn’t see him again until he was 11 months old. I knew of other people that went over a year between R&R and homecoming. And then there is what happened up in Alaska. Some of the Soldiers had just come home, others about to leave for home and some still in Iraq. All to be told that they were to spend four more months in Iraq.
The thing about this is that even though this was in 2007 and even though Ben has been deployed two more times since then, that 15-month deployment still stings. That was just too long of a time to have a husband deployed. Too long to have him in a war zone without any break. It was hard to them, especially when they hit the year point. They should have been getting ready to go home but they still had a few more months to go.
I pray so hard that we never have to go through something like that again. When your husband joins the Military, you know they will be gone but you are still human and super long deployments just break you.
And now, it is 2012 and I think, “How did I get through that? How did I go so long without my husband?” I guess somehow you just get through things because you have to.
When I hear stories like the one up above I want to ask the Military to please make things a little easier for everyone. Please try harder to give people longer periods of time at home. Try your best to avoid sending anyone there over a year. And please, help those that are having trouble after deployments heal before they have to go back for another tour. I hope that is not asking too much.