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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dispelling a myth about deployments and my thoughts.

Having been a Marine, I'm very familiar with high op temp, plentiful field exercises and training at CAX, and so much more. I haven't been endured all of them, but am familiar enough. At any rate, it's not surprising to me when people view the Coast Guard as being vastly different. Of course, all of the services vary in their training exercises and deployment schedules.

Recently I read on a question and answer forum an individual's query about the best service was to join and which had the least amount of deployments. Two people responded, in varied words, The Coast Guard. You will get stationed close to a single port. You will rarely deploy.

To that, I say, Watchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

This is a fallacy. It can be true for some rates and units. For others, it couldn't be farther from the truth. The Coast Guard certainly trains, but members of the Coast Guard are also deploying units all the time. Recently, Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen stated in the Leadership Journal, "Coast Guard men and women, with our partners at the Department of Homeland Security, are deployed all across the country and stand ready to respond to all threats and hazards as we carry out our duties as America’s lifesavers and guardians of the seas."

I don't like to cite Wikipedia as a absolute perfect reference, but this says it quite well and cites a Time article I wanted to share anyway: While most military services are either at war or training for war, the Coast Guard is deployed every day..." (citing, The Coast Guard Gets It Right Amanda Ripley. TIME. October 23, 2005. )

If you don't have the time to read the Time article, here's the blurb I really wanted to share, said by then (10/23/05) Vice Admiral Thad Allen:
'The Coast Guard has always been, in a word, busy--whether during war or peace. "We are deployed every day," says Allen. "We fly every day. We respond to oil spills every day." Also, since the Coast Guard is the only military branch allowed to perform law-enforcement duties, it is accustomed to engaging with civilians. In one day, a Coast Guard boat crew off of California might arrest as many people as it saves.'

Being a Spouse: Some people have cast doubt on my ability to understand the trials of military deployments.

I am the wife of a Coast Guardsman. I am a military wife. I know the sadness and emptiness that goes hand in hand with your loved one being deployed. I have been there and will be there on and off until he retires. I know the look of confusing and bewilderment that leaps from a young child's eyes when you say, Yes, daddy has to go away again. I know the power of simple communications (email, letters, a simple I love you during the rare phone call) and how they can rebuild your spirit to go for long stretches. I know the yearning for a warm body beside me in my empty bed for weeks and months on end. I know.

Don't tell me the Coast Guard doesn't deploy. Don't tell my friends who's spouses are serving in PATFORSWA and other combat areas that they don't understand military deployments, because they do. We do. We are military spouses, no matter what branch.

I live my life. I breathe my air. I love a man who is sometimes far away. I do fine (most of the time). I may not have an FRG and we may not fall under the DOD, but the USCG is an armed service. We are a military family.


Lindsay said...

People who say those kinds of things are just trying to make themselves feel better. Like what they go through is so much harder than what anyone else does.

Don't get me wrong, my heart goes out to those who have had to deal with a 15-18 month deployment. That sucks. A LOT.

But the fact is, there is so much more that unites us, than divides us.

Just a Girl in a Port said...

Thanks for your kind post Lindsay. Usually this stuff doesn't bother me. I chalk it up to ignorance. Yet, I feel for the families of members in Bahrain, Cuba and other areas around the world who are gone for a year or so at a time. People don't realize the CG does that. It's amazing to me.

You are right, we are all united in so much more.

New Girl on Post said...

I just wanted to respond to the comment you left about the military recipe blog, we'd be interested in any recipes you are willing to share! :)

Amber said...

Thank you, JAGIAP.