Friday, August 6, 2010

Civilitary

We at the G.I. Joe house have only seen a teeny side of National Guard life.
But I know it can be difficult  when you live in two worlds at once. 
So here is Hellcat Betty to give us a peak into the world of Civilitary spouses! 



Yep, you read that right… “civilitary.” It’s a word I made up to describe what our family is. We are civilian and we are military. We are an Army National Guard family.

In many ways I love this life; we get to have a home near our families, we don’t have to move every few years, I’ll never have to deal with the intricacies of PCSing, and we get to have a relatively unaffected normal civilian life 75% of the time. Meanwhile, I still get to be a proud military wife, and know that my husband is contributing to society and serving our nation.

But the National Guard isn’t what it used to be; a collection of “weekend warriors.” Hubby just came back from his 3rd yearlong (the first two were over a year) deployment to the Middle East and he’s only been in the military for 8 years. The new National Guard doesn’t simply guard the nation as the name would imply. Long gone are the days that Guard wives only missed their husbands one weekend a month and for three weeks of training per year. Now we ship our husbands off to war just like any active duty wife, and we fear the worst for our families too. Many guardsmen have lost their lives, their limbs, or their sanity in these wars. Gone are the days when the Guard was a “safe” way to serve.

Because of the rapidly changed role of the Guard, its families have been left in a civilian-military gray zone; the “civilitary.” We don’t fit into the civilian world, because we deal with things that civilian families never have to face and will never understand. We don’t fit into the military world because we live nowhere near a base and we really don’t understand the difference between the commissary and the PX (I’ve got it figured out now thanks to my milbloggy friends). We don’t know all the lingo, and there’s still often a long-standing view among active duty folks that we’re “just” a part-time Army.

While many guard families feel isolated and un-informed (wooeee don’t get me started on those issues, it’s a whole other blog post), and I get incredibly frustrated sometimes as well… I also feel very lucky.  My response to the civilitarian gray zone was to get online when hubby deployed. There I found a community of military wives and significant others that supported me and understood me like nobody else in my immediate surroundings could.  For those people and that support, I will be eternally grateful. That is what this milspouse bloggy community is all about; coming together to support each other across branches and ranks. Here, there is no gray zone, only a sense of belonging.






21 comments:

R said...

Thanks for sharing! I have a friend who is a recruiter, and she tells me often that things are a lot different now that when she was recruited (before 9/11) and I see how it affects her day-to-day life as well... I'm amazed by you Civilitary spouses as well. Great post!

Jessica said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!
I can identify with every bit of it being an Army Reserve Wife. =)

Chantal said...

Great post. While I don't have any experience with National Guard, it does bring up valid points of being in two different worlds. I'm also grateful for the online community!

Radiant Readhead said...

I love this post, because my hubby and I are both national guardsman, however, my husband is active duty national guard, so he DOES get moved every 3 years, just within the state borders, but yet i still do not feel like i completely fit into the military spouse ranks because i don't live on a base, and i am not hundreds or thousands of miles away from my friends and family, and i have held the same job in the same hospital for 4 years, which is rare for a milspouse. HOWEVER, when i found all of you ladies, I DID feel like i fit in more because i have endured MANY TDYs, deployments, etc,(he is currently gone now on a short mission), and even though our lives maay be slightly different from day to day, a military wife is still that! i just want to see who else out there is a Dual status...lol

Ashley said...

You should trademark that term! I love it!! I do believe that the Guard and Reserves are overlooked! They and their families are just as important in our military as active duty! I have always thought it would be harder to be Guard or Reserves because you have to stop your civilian lives for deployments. Great post!

Mrs. Muffins said...

I know exactly what you mean. My husband was Active Duty for four years and back then, we made fun of Reservists. Eventually we thought it was best for us for him to go into the Reserves after he went off Active Duty. It's such a huge difference.. but not! All the things I was used to on the AD side are gone. But that doesn't mean I didn't just spend 400 days without my husband while he was activated and deployed. Big hugs and I promise I'll never make fun of Reservists again!!!

Scarlett said...

SOOO true! As a National Guard wife, the only way I survived deployments was thanks to my online friends!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello! Love your blog! My husband is in Army National Guard and almost has his twenty years. We got married 2 years ago from yesterday. He signed up prior to our engagement for another 6 years to have his 20. He said they only can be called up for deployment once every 5 or maybe he said 6 years. I know it was def. at least 5. My question is why was yours called up 3 deployments in 8 years?

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HellcatBetty said...

Thanks for including me, dear!

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

Great post! I think its sad for people to think the Guard is any less important than any other branch. I adore the blog support I get too. Its hard not having anyone else in my real life to really "get it"

USMCWIFE said...

Great post girlie and I never seen you as anything than one of us girls, .... you might as well tell that man of yours to go active duty...lol. You know I love you!! I can imagine its hard being away from the military community and trying to find support out there in the CIVDIV because even when I go on vacation I hate the dumb questions (yes there is such a thing) and being around people that just don't get it..but like you said, you have your online friends and we are always there for you!

Jessica Lynn said...

No comments on this?! Wow! I absolutely loved it. I really liked hearing from someone on both sides, it's something I've never thought about before. Thanks for this!

Skinnie Piggie said...

Ooooh, love it lady! Great insight for us all.

Julie the Army Wife said...

What a great post! My husband went back in forth between Reserves and Active duty for a bit. I often wonder how life would have turned out if he was reserves. The online community of Mil wives is awesome :)

Jamie said...

I'm glad to see this! I feel out of place so often because even though my man is NG it's not exactly "part time" since he's at flight school for at least a couple years then another deployment. It's been hard figuring out how to balance out lives and where. Thank you!

silver star said...

I came over from Hellcat Betty's, as the wife of a Reservist, I can agree completely with this. We're 3+ hours from any base, his unit is near the west coast (we live in Oklahoma), one weekend a month, 2-3 weeks a year is definitely the minimum, civilians don't get it, but fellow military spouses, etc. don't accept me either. I still don't know the difference between a PX and a Commissary, but I know what a BX is (Air NG has something near the airport by us).

Goodnight moon said...

I completely agree with you Hellcat Betty!!!! I understand that you are kinda stuck in the middle of these 2 worlds. I hope that being in the milspouses community you have found some great wives, and know that we support you, always!

Great post!

SemperWifey said...

I'm a marine corps wife, but I agree with you completely. It drives me nuts when people give one branch more credit than the other. What I mean is the branch rivalry. They all complain and think they're better. They all do the same thing, I don't care what branch it is. All wives deserve their credit as well. Like you said, National Guardsmen aren't just weekend warriors anymore. So demand your credit and people will come around when they pull their heads out of their.. shirts. I think you know where I was going. : )

Birdie said...

"Civilitary"...Love it!!

HellcatBetty said...

Oh goodness! I just wandered over to see if there were any lil comments on my guest post, and here you all are being super sweet! Thanks so much for all the lovely comments, I'm glad this post struck a chord with other ladies!