The Impact of War on Military Families
The family is the most basic social unit in any society and its stability is essential for the proper functioning of that society. In recent years, the family has come under greater stress than ever before due to a number of factors such as economic recession, rising crime rates, drugs and alcoholism, and increasing divorce rates. The family is also under stress due to the deployment of servicemen and women in combat operations around the world. The impact of these deployments on families has been well documented and there is a growing body of literature on the subject.
2. Overview of the Military Family:
The military family is a unique family type which is defined by its members’ service in the armed forces of their country. In most cases, the husband or wife is the active duty service member while the other spouse and children are considered to be Dependents. In the United States, there are over 1.8 million military families, which includes 2.6 million children under the age of 18 (US Department of Defense, 2013). These families are found in all 50 states and in over 170 countries around the world.
The military family is a mobile family due to the nature of the servicemember’s job. They may be required to move to new locations every few years, which can make it difficult to maintain close relationships with extended family members and friends. The military spouse often has to give up his or her career in order to follow the servicemember to new duty stations. This can make it difficult for the spouse to find employment and can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
3. The Impact of War on Military Families:
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a profound impact on military families. Over 2 million servicemembers have been deployed to these wars since 2001 and many have made multiple deployments. These deployments have placed a tremendous amount of stress on military families. A study conducted by the Rand Corporation found that one-third of soldiers returning from combat operations in Iraq reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008). In addition, soldiers returning from combat operations were more likely to report problems with alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and divorce than those who had not been deployed.
The impact of war on military families has been well documented in the media and there are a number of books and films which discuss this topic in detail. One such book is "The Things They Carried" by Tim O’Brien, which tells the story of a platoon of soldiers during the Vietnam War. The book provides a detailed account of how war can affect soldiers both physically and mentally. Another book which discusses this topic is "Operation Homecoming" by Andrew Carroll, which contains first-hand accounts from veterans of wars dating back to World War II up to present day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book provides an insight into how war affects not only those who serve in combat operations but also their families back home.
4. The Role of the Military Spouse:
The military spouse is often the primary caregiver for the children while the servicemember is deployed. In addition, the spouse may also be responsible for managing the household finances and maintaining the family’s home. The military spouse often has to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation due to the frequent moves to new locations. In addition, the spouse may also have to deal with the effects of PTSD if the servicemember suffers from this condition.
The military spouse plays a vital role in supporting the servicemember and helping him or her to cope with the stresses of military life. In many cases, the spouse is the only person who truly understands what the servicemember is going through. The military spouse provides an invaluable support system for the servicemember and his or her family.
5. The Importance of the Family Support System:
The family support system is essential for the well-being of military families. This system includes extended family members, friends, neighbors, and community groups which provide support to military families. The family support system can help military families to cope with deployment by providing practical and emotional support. In addition, the family support system can also help to raise awareness about the challenges faced by military families and can provide information about available resources.
6. Managing the Transition to Retirement:
The transition from military to civilian life can be a difficult one for many servicemembers. In many cases, servicemembers have spent their entire adult life in the military and have never known anything else. The transition to civilian life can be made easier by planning ahead and seeking out resources which can help with this process. There are a number of organizations which offer services and support to servicemembers transitioning to civilian life such as Veterans Affairs, Military OneSource, and Hire Heroes USA.
The military family is a unique family type which is defined by its members’ service in the armed forces of their country. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a profound impact on military families. The impact of war on military families has been well documented in the media and there are a number of books and films which discuss this topic in detail. The military spouse plays a vital role in supporting the servicemember and helping him or her to cope with the stresses of military life. The family support system is essential for the well-being of military families. The transition from military to civilian life can be a difficult one for many servicemembers but there are a number of resources which can help with this process.
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