Deployment Survival Guide For Marine Wives

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 Liz Holloway

Published: April 27, 2005

It  is often hard for civilian wives imagine her husband leaving for another country at a moment’s notice and not knowing when or if she will see him again. Unfortunately this scenario is a reality for many military wives. For a Marine wife, deployments can be extremely difficult, but with these simple step-by-step instructions you can survive with ease.

First and foremost, as a Marine wife, you must be strong as steel at the farewell location where your husband begins the deployment process. Work, school, appointments or meetings-nothing will keep you from this important event. After all, your husband at this time is priority number one. Keeping a cool head during this understandably emotional time is imperative. You can do this by telling yourself it is just like any other day, he is only going to be gone for the weekend, or anything else to derail your thinking from what is really going on-your husband is leaving and could possibly not come home. It might take every bit of strength you have, but you will not cry hysterically in front of your husband. Not only will the more experienced wives look down upon you, but more importantly it will cause your Marine to feel guilty for doing the job that he has been trained repeatedly to do. This thinking will distract him from the task at hand. So suck it up ladies! Tell your man all the things he needs to hear, such as “I love you. I’m proud of you. I’ll see you when you get back.” Make him think you will be just fine on your own, even if you do not believe it for a minute!

After your husband is out of sight and you are on your own, get in the car. Turn on the radio as loud as possible to drown out any thoughts. Your awareness level should only be high enough to operate heavy machinery. Put anything else out of your mind. Having an emotional break down in your vehicle could be dangerous not only for you, but other motorists as well. Once you are in comforts of your own home, let it out! Scream so loud the neighbors will worry, curse your Marine, the Corps, the world, anything you wish, and cry until there is nothing left to cry. When your cathartic experience is over, and you have reassured the neighbors that you are all right, then you might want to rent a movie to keep yourself occupied throughout the night. This marks the beginning of the new you, independent and self-sufficient. Keep in mind, you are not the only one going through this and if you are going to make it out alive, you will need support.

Finally, you must know who is assigned to be your Key Volunteer (KV); this is another wife within your husband’s unit who will provide support and vital information for the duration of the deployment. If you do not know who is your assigned KV, contact your husband’s unit. The unit can give you the phone number of the Key Volunteer Coordinator (KVC), who is ranked above the other KV’s and can assign someone to you. A KV’s biggest responsibility is to pass along information. For example, she might call to say, “If you haven’t heard from your husband in a while, don’t worry he’s okay, but for security reasons communication has been cut off. I will let you know when it is resumed.” This information, although seemingly insignificant, can bring you priceless peace of mind. Another obligation of the KV and the group of KVs (The Key Volunteer Network) within the unit is to plan activities, dinners, meetings, and other get togethers in order to keep in touch with the wives and families of Marines. These women are your lifeline and your key to sanity! They will be your best support system through this tough period. Go to as many social gatherings as possible. Hearing stories about how other wives have survived many deployments and did so in adverse conditions will give you confidence that you too can be a strong military wife.

It is heartbreaking being without a loved one for so long and not knowing his safety status every minute. However, many military wives have dealt with deployments time and time again. They survived and so can you!

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