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Your Military Sons and Daughters

Military Transfer - A Few Lessons Learned

Moving is difficult! The packing, unpacking, transfer of schools, jobs, etc. It is one of the most stressful events that a family can go through.

I'm happy to share with you a true story of a military move. If you're moving soon...military or not...you'll want to read this! This young couple moved from Alaska to Kentucky/Tennessee. The writer of the article is our Blue Star Mothers President, Teri Reece - one of the strongest ladies I know!  One picture below is of them spending some well deserved family time in sunny Florida.

 

Here is their story :)

Transferring from one duty station to a new one can be extremely difficult.  My son, who is in the US Army, just finished his 3 year duty tour in Alaska and is now transferring to his new duty station in Kentucky/Tennessee.  What a learning experience this has been to us all, having the military ship his personal items to his new base and his vehicle, having him home on leave before he has to report, and transporting his dog on the plane with him for leave in Virginia.

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Since this is the first duty station transfer for our family, there were obstacles that we never thought of.  Learning first hand, we will be ready for the next duty transfer. 

Here are my top 2 tips to think about when making a military transfer:

1. Make sure the emergency brake on your vehicle works before the military ships it.  Check it in advance in the event that it doesn’t and repairs are needed so you have plenty of time to have the repair shop order the parts and repair the vehicle in time. 

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2. When flying your animal on a plane, be prepared for when they bring him to you at the airlines baggage claim office in the baggage location at the airport.  My son’s flight was from Alaska, to Seattle, to Washington, DC.  The flight took 15 hours, including the layovers.  His dog, which is like a child to him, was trapped in a special animal cargo crate for the entire time. 

Airlines will take the dog out of the crate to use the bathroom and food and water IF the layover is 4 hours or longer.  We did not know this rule.  When “Chance” was picked up in his crate in DC, we had to go to the emergency vet immediately.  He had tried to bite his way out of the crate & lost 3 of his bottom teeth & his lips were jagged.  He was severely dehydrated.  After a day, he was much better, but he was on antibiotics for 7 days and pain meds for 4 days.  I am now advised that there are animal rescue transports that will drive your animal from one place to another, although I wasn’t aware of these at the time, nor am I aware of the fees for this. Something to look into or the future.

Chance.jpg 

Having my son home on leave has been wonderful and I love that he has pretty much stayed a homebody since he has been home.  He leaves May 1st and I am savoring each moment with him.

I have also learned a lot from other Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg from their experiences. 

As a Blue Star Mother, we ask that you remember that our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and loved ones are still being deployed. Until They All Come Home....

For more information about Blue Star Mothers Fredericksburg, please visit our website @ bluestarmothersva4.org or our Facebook page 

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How I Stayed Strong When My Husband Was Deployed

Wow…it seems that all I have been seeing in the news are military accidents, incidents and loss of lives.

For those who have anyone who is deployed right now, this can put you on edge. The accident in Hawaii hit home for me – I met my husband while he was deployed to Kaheohe Bay, Hawaii – and I have a friend with a son stationed there.

As a military mom and military spouse, I had to learn a few things about dealing when a loved person is deployed. This list is what got me through the rough times, and I hope some of them will help you:

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1.     Trust that they have been trained well and know what to do in every situation.

2.     They need and should be focused on their task at hand – not worried about what is going on at home.

3.     Pray for them and their unit every day.

4.     Do not wake up and immediately turn on the news.

5.     Create a routine to keep yourself (and the kids) busy.

6.     Find a place where you can receive free child care if possible– back when my husband was deployed it was 2 hours a month (if I signed up early enough). When my daughter was deployed and we had our granddaughter, our backup and relief was my oldest daughter and son-in-law.

7.     Keep a journal. This was a great release of emotions – good and bad. And, it allowed me to remember what was important.

 

For all of the families with military members deployed right now, know that the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg are here for you. We have all experienced boot camp, deployments, trials, struggles, sadness, hurt because our heart have a piece missing and, of course, the empty seat at the dinner table on their favorite holiday.

Today’s world can give us a lot of things to worry about even if we don’t have family in the military. We are your support group, your shoulder to cry on (or just talk) and your resource center.

 

Just reach out to us…we’ll be there.

 

www.bluestarmothersva4.org

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Our Troops Are Strong

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Photo Credit - redbloodedamerica.tumbler.com 

 

If you are in the military I know that you are strong, And, I don't necessarily mean physically strong. You are mentally and emotionally strong. Even though you receive the best training available, it can be emotionally and mentally draining to continue to be "strong" - to always be on the top of your game.

It has been 20 years since my husband retired from the Marine Corps and I still see his scars from his time spent in Desert Shield and Desert Storm over 25 years ago. He experienced so much that he will never, ever be able to remove from his memories and that he will never, ever share with anyone - because that is how the "old corps" Marines roll.

I don't mean for this article to be all doom and gloom, but this is reality for our family.

We left a week ago for our only family vacation in over 2 years. We are down in Disney World with our oldest child, our son-in-law and their two children and our granddaughter that we are raising. 2 weeks of fun in the sun!! Disney World, Universal Studios, Epcot, MGM and yesterday Disney's Animal Kingdom was just awesome!

Thank goodness my Marine is strong because we were here only 2 hours when we received a phone call from the wife of my husband's best friend. They are in Ohio. She called to say that his best friend had passed away. I didn't know who he was talking to on the phone at the time, I just knew that he went from being extremely happy to being in tears and sobbing within seconds of receiving the call.

I can't speak for the rest of the military services, but in the Marine Corps you typically have tons of "acquaintances" and just a few people that you call "friends". Eddie and Marty were friends for over 37 years. They shared apartments together, served in the same units together - they were both Military Policemen - they survived on measly salaries by making macaroni and cheese the main course for most of their meals. The memories are deep and wide.

As we are out and about thinking of the holidays at this time of year, it is easy to get caught up in all of the "hoop-la" of presents, spending money that we really don't have and thinking about the next best and biggest electronic item that the kids think they can't live without. It can be hard to continue to be strong for the children when what they really want is for their mommy and/or daddy to be home for the holidays. 

I'd like to ask you to think about things a little different this holiday season. Think about how you can possibly give to others instead of how much you can give to yourself. And, I'm going to be a little selfish this year and ask you to consider helping a military family in need. I know, first hand, what it feels like to have a husband gone for Christmas and have to be strong for the children. If you would like, a way to make a difference is to donate a toy to any Toys for Tots location at your local Fredericksburg Starbucks. The Blue Star Mothers has been helping with these efforts for 3 years now and we have generated up to 5,000 toys that are given to military children on Christmas morning.

Let's help each other stay strong this holiday season. 

 

To find out more about Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg visit our website @ www.bluestarmothersva4.com 

 

 

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Holiday Care Packages

It's that time of year again....

The Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg will be sending care packages to the troops that are deployed for the holidays. 

We do this two times a year - it brings smiles, tears and a "taste of home" to our troops during one of the hardest times of the year to be deployed. It is hard for our sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, husbands and everyone who is deployed. Care_Packages_Nov_2014.jpg

Putting together these special care packages has become a community event. The Blue Star Mothers has gathered items to put into these special boxes that include food, snacks, magazines, letters from our local elementary school children and so much more that mean to much to everyone deployed.

My husband still has the letter that our daughter wrote to him when he deployed to Desert Shield/Storn in 1990! Her letter will stay with him forever (if you know what I mean).

The Blue Star Mothers has a large team of volunteers who make this care package drive possible. What we are missing (this time around) are the names of those deployed. Rules and regulations have been put into place that restrict the names from being released to use in order to mail the care packages.

Do you have a child, relative, family member or friend who will be spending their holiday deployed outside the United States (this does not include those who are actively stationed outside the U.S. - such as Italy, Japan, Germany). If you know of anyone, please contact our chapter and let us know - we would love to send them some "love" from home for the holidays.

www.bluestarmothersva4.org

**This picture is from our holiday care package drive last year - Thanks again to everyone who participated. We couldn't do it without your help and support. 

 

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My Child is in Boot Camp!

Graduation is over and the kids are off to college, going to work or have left for boot camp. Experiencing your child leaving for boot camp is a much different feeling than having them leave for college. I want you to know that we, the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg, understand.

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When a child leaves for college there is a good chance (because of the number of great state colleges), that they will only be an hour or two (definitely within a day trip) away from you. You can be there for them, if needed, to guide them and “still be mom."  However, when your child leaves for boot camp, this is not the case.

Communication stops. No phone calls and, depending on the branch of the military that your child joins, you may not even receive a letter for quite a while. No Facebook, Skype – no communication.

If you are experiencing child withdrawal, know that your feelings are genuine and expected. It is hard wondering how your child is handling the discipline of the military, the physical activity that is required to be trained properly – and so much more.

As a mom who has been there – experienced that – the best advice that I can give you is to trust that your child has made an awesome life-changing decision. When I speak to mothers about the reason that their child joins the military I hear usually hear 2 stories: they have always played with “army men” and talked about joining the military, it is all that they have wanted to do since they were small. Or, he/she wanted to make a difference and serve their country. It is just in their blood. They are following in their father/mother/uncle/grandfather’s footsteps.

If your child graduated from a local high school in Stafford, Fredericksburg, King George, Caroline, Culpeper, Orange (or any other county between Woodbridge and Richmond), you are welcome to join a group of mothers who understand what you are going through.

For more information about Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg, visit our website…www.bluestarmothersva4.org. We would love to support you and be a shoulder for you to lean on. 

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About Blue Star Mothers

Blue Star Mothers Fredericksburg is a community group that provides support to each other and local military families who have given their children to serve our Nation. We support every branch of the Armed Forces and it's veterans through patriotism, education and social events. We support our community and its active and deployed military through on-going service projects, including providing our servicemen and women with care packages. For more information about National Blue Star Mothers you can visit their website. To find our local chapter click here.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches went to visit our local Kiwanis Club to find out how they have been growing future leaders through area high school Key Clubs.

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The opinions and/or views expressed on this blog represent the thoughts of individual blogger and not necessarily those of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine or any of its employees or staff.