military deployment affects military families. The writer explores the many differences between deployed and non-deployed families and examines some of the things being done to ease the stress and problems that deployment presents. There were 10 sources used to complete this paper.
Americans are waiting with anxious anticipation as the federal government attempts to convince the United Nations that a war with Iraq is in order. President Bush as well as Colin Powell have spent days addressing the issue and presenting evidence of the need to forcibly disarm Iraq. As the world watches the events unfold, nations are lining up on one side or the other of the issue. France, Germany and Russia are asking the United States to hold off on an attack and see if a more peaceful solution can be hammered out. Britain, Canada and several others have pledged if a war erupts, they will send troops to stand side by side with the American service personnel.
The world waits and watches and each American become acutely aware of the ramifications that a war may bring forth. While the waiting and watching is hard on most Americans, there is a segment of the population that it can be excruciating for. The families of military personnel have put their lives in limbo as they wait for orders to deploy. Currently thousands to troops have already been deployed to the Middle East in anticipation of a coming war. Their families have already begun to live the life that they will lead when the war breaks out. Military families are often considered a breed of their own.
They are expected to be stoic, strong and tough as they say goodbye to their spouses, children, sons, daughters and brothers when they are shipped off to war or to the mission of keeping peace. Military families have dealt with deployment issues since the inception of the nation. With each war, skirmish or peacekeeping mission; families of deployed service members do what it takes to go forward while waiting for their loved ones to come home.
THE CALL TO GO
When the call to go presents itself by way of deployment orders it can be a call for the service member to go overseas, or it can order the member to a U.S. base, and then ship the member overseas from there. The order to deploy causes many things to change for the service member and their family. Deployment not only affects the daily life of the service member, but it also affects the life of every one in that family (Caught, 2001).
Most Americans are aware of how service families operate. They have seen children and teens enter classrooms, and leave again, only to get temporarily settled elsewhere. Many spouses get jobs, only to start climbing the company ladder, and have to move because their spouse gets deployed again. There are so many aspects of family life that are affected by deployment that the military has begun to recognize the need for assistance and programs to the families it uproots (Caught, 2001).
The fabric of some military families can be expected to unravel, particularly after such a "prolonged period of peacetime," says Mary Edwards Wertsch, author of Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress. "Technically, the military is always being prepared. But the question for the spouse and children is how prepared they can really be for the reality (Peterson, 2001)."
One of the most affected aspects of deployment for military families is the way it affects the children within the deployed family. There are ramifications at each age and each stage that must be dealt with by the remaining parent following the deployment order.
School issues are a foundational aspect of what children of deployed American service personnel must manage. Children who are in military families often find themselves being moved every year or two. The children are uprooted from their friends, their clubs, their teachers and moved to a new school, often in the middle of the school year. Children who have already formed their lunch buddies, and their recess playmates may not react with warmth to a new child appearing in the middle of the year. This can cause stress and insecurities for the new child who has been not only uprooted in the school setting, but often times one of their parents has recently been sent to a remote location to perform their duty to their nation.
When the children of military members are moved they are often in a new school before the transcripts can be sent. The child is then left trying to convince the educational system that they are capable of honors, or higher classes. The educational system, wanting to play it safe places the children in classes that are often lower than the child is capable of. In addition the reverse can happen. A child may be moved to a new school and find themselves academically lost (Peterson, 2001). School districts vary from state to state, and district to district with their academic lessons and levels. A child of a deployed military family can find himself or herself in a new school where everybody is way ahead of where their former school was. The child is left with not only trying to fit in socially to a new setting with new children, but can be humiliated by their lack of training or preparedness for the academic placements of the new school setting.
For many of the children in military families, any overseas deployment means a move -- from Norfolk, Va., back to an aunt's or uncle's house in the Midwest, perhaps. For the 7.7% of single parents in the military, such address changes are a certainty. That means not only must students attend a new school, but too often they also must needlessly battle a new education bureaucracy (Peterson, 2001).
Transcripts arrive late, which means students end up stuck in classes beneath their abilities (Peterson, 2001)."
For the children who find themselves at the new location before the records arrive from their old school they often find they are not able to settle in immediately because when the new record arrives they will be moved again. A school with a new child or family of children will often place the children in the middle academic track. The children's records, or their immediately evident abilities or lack of abilities appear before long and this often causes a shift in the child's grouping. The children find themselves moved again and again until their right placement is discovered.
This can be extremely stressful for a young child who has already gone through giving up their old friends and school classes in the previous assignment of their military parent (Peterson, 2001).
For high school students of military families, a deployment can have devastating affects on their education. High school students must work hard to achieve a high enough GPA to get into college. Across the nation different districts, and different states require different things for the purpose of high school graduation. Some schools want 26 credits, while others may only require 24. Some schools use a semester grading system while other school districts use a quarterly system.
There are schools that use a block schedule system with fewer classes each day, and each class is 90 minutes to two hours long, while other schools use a regular schedule system including six to eight courses a day. High school students must take a certain number of each type of classes to graduate. They are required to have so many English, so many math classes and so on. If they move from one school to another it is possible that a class they need to graduate is not going to be offered in time at the new school for graduation (Peterson, 2001).
Especially unfair are requirements that force students who passed graduation exams in one state to take the exams required by the new state (Peterson, 2001). Last year, for example, when the U.S. Army transferred 16-year-old Bonner Jones' father from Fort Hood to Fort McPherson, Jones had to move from a Texas high school in Killeen to a Georgia high school outside of Atlanta. He also had to start preparing for the Georgia exit exam, although he had already passed Texas' equivalent test (Peterson, 2001). "
Military family high school students are faced with different graduation requirements, different grading scales, different schedule systems and different class offerings if they want to graduate high school. Even given all of the changes, many military family high school students find that they do not qualify for honors, or other awards because of the requirement school districts often have that a student attend the school for a predetermined number of semesters to be eligible. Even if the high school student of a military family gets through all of this, they are often blocked from the college of their choice because of residency requirements.