FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What can I expect when my family member returns from duty?
There are numerous things you should expect once your family member returns from mobilization or deployment. Although these times are often challenging for you, your family member, and the rest of your family, it is also very rewarding to reunite with your family member for perhaps the first time since the beginning of his or her mission.
Toward the end of a particular mission, your loved one and his family will often have a feeling of anticipation. This stems from eagerness for the reunion, stress of returning to a problematic situation at home, or some other factor. Regardless, these feelings can exhaust everyone.
Unexpected reactions may occur when your family member returns. Young children, for example, may seem shy toward your returning family member and may not be as receptive to him return as he would like. This is because very young children often may not remember someone they haven’t seen for an extended period or may think he may not remember them. Older children may appear to be angry with your family member upon his return. This is due to resentment of the time your family member has spent away from them. In both situations, it’s best to give children time to get reacquainted with your family member and, eventually, their relationships will return to normal.
You may also notice unexpected reactions from your family member upon his return. For example, if you give your family member a gift or throw an elaborate ‘welcome home’ party, he may not be as receptive of your efforts as you’d like. It’s best to remain flexible in these situations and adjust your expectations accordingly. Also, your family member may seem disappointed when seeing that the rest of his family did so well over the course of his time away. Your family member may feel as though he wasn’t missed during this time. These feelings are very normal and it’s best to show your returning family member love and appreciation for all his efforts – and time to adjust.
Once your family member returns, he may experience difficulty sleeping. This is due to challenges with adjusting to various changes such as time zones, civilian cooking, and a lack of continual noise. Although you may want to go out and socialize with your family member upon his return and take care of specific tasks that couldn’t be completed while he was away, your family member may want to stay home at first and rest for a while. Missions can often be very taxing on an individual, both physically and emotionally. It’s best for you, the family member, to acknowledge this fact and make compromises in these situations. By maintaining a clear line of communication, you can minimize hard feelings and arguments between one another.
If there were any problems or issues between your family member and anyone in his family before leaving, it is possible that those issues did not get any better over the course of the mission. Although this is a challenging situation for both parties, you can often help resolve these issues with patience, care, and effort. Also, if any promises were made throughout your family member’s mission, he will expect whoever made those promises to uphold them upon his return. Whether the promises were made through letters or phone calls, your family member will likely remember them and look forward to seeing them fulfilled.
Can I go with my spouse during mobilization?
Yes. Mobilization occurs within the United States and close family members usually have the option of traveling with their family members during mobilization. If you do not travel with your family member during a mission, you’ll at least know where he will be located so you can visit him at optimal times.
Can I go with my spouse during deployment?
No. Deployment occurs outside of the United States. In order to protect the safety of our military, our country, and its citizens, the exact location of your family member during a mission is usually not disclosed. As a result, you will not be able to travel with your family member during deployment. However, if your family member is deployed to Germany, you may have the option of traveling with your family member to that country.
Who is my contact at the unit after my spouse is deployed?
Each unit has a Family Readiness Group Coordinator. By contacting a military base nearest you, you can find an FRG coordinator in your area who will help you with numerous problems concerning your family member’s departure. Local veterans organizations can provide assistance as well.