We all know who in the military world are the most feared.
Ashley gives us a little glimpse into the life of those who are called upon to "knock on the door."
It takes a very special warrior to fulfill this calling.
My husband is approaching his half way mark in his Air Force career and I must admit that I was really getting a handle on this whole military spouse gig. We have survived two deployments, PCSed 3 times, too many TDYs to count, went through a Forced Cross Training (That put a small nick in our marriage.), and all of the daily grinds joys of the military life. But once you get used to the military way of life, they throw you a curve ball.
As I mentioned above, we went through a Forced Cross Train due to an abundance of Staff Sergeants in his previous career. My husband went from being a mechanic to working at the Gym. This was a very rough transition for my husband. He felt like he was not a part of a mission anymore. But he kept his head up and was quickly recognized as one of the top Jr NCOs in his squadron. His hard work would eventually pay off.
This past fall, my husband came home from his deployment to Kuwait and was moved to the Readiness office for his squadron. Readiness has many duties including Mortuary Affairs. I still remember the lump in my stomach when he rambled off his new job titles and then said, “Oh Yeah, I will be the NCOIC for Mortuary Affairs.” UHM excuse me, back up one second! He then went on to tell me, “Don’t worry Ashley, Dover handles deaths that happen overseas. I may never handle a death.” Yeah, Famous Last Words.
I am not sure that it was even two weeks after he was given his new job title when the dreaded blue phone rang. It was Easter weekend and we had just got finished dying eggs with the kids. A single airman was killed in a motorcycle accident. My first reaction was CRAP David would not get to spend Easter with his family. That lasted a minute before I realized that a Mother would hear the words that no mother should ever have to hear, her son had died. Easter would never be the same for that family.
Unfortunately, our base has had several deaths, including two suicides since that weekend. After my husband receives a death notification, I do not see him for a good 3-4 days. But then I step back and remember that a family will never see their loved one again.
I have observed and learned so many aspects of the military with this new job. I know that if something ever happened to my husband, the Air Force will take great care of David and my family. They take care of everything that you ask them to. And it is the little touches that my husband takes care of that I know means the most to the families. I now truly believe that the Air Force takes care of their own.
I have also witnessed a different side of my husband. He works so hard to make sure that everything goes smoothly for the families. You wouldn’t believe how many people he talks to in a day so the family does not have to worry with a death certificate, setting up an autopsy, having the loved one flown to their home state, communicating with an escort to fly with the military member, and so much more. He takes his job seriously and honors the military member and their family. They say things happen for a reason and I cannot help but think that David was meant to do this job.
And one last important thing that I have learned and MUST share, please make sure that your spouse’s or child’s (military member) SGLI and Record of Emergency Data has been updated after a marriage, divorce, death, etc to ensure that their money goes where they wish. I have seen and heard stories of the good, bad, and the ugly!!