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Scene, Sunday, August 26, 2007

Where is home when your spouse is deployed? One military family returns to their hometown. Another considers every assignment “home” and stays. What if you move overseas and then your spouse is notified of a 15-month deployment? Do you find “home” by staying or going?

Perhaps there are as many answers as there are deployments, and there are plenty of those. I asked spouses from various military services for their views. Their thorough and thoughtful answers need no interruptions from me:

“I think it is best to stay put whether one is overseas or stateside — I’ve done both — during deployment or remote tour … Especially if you’ve just PCSed overseas. That’s a big change already and too much bouncing back and forth isn’t good for anyone … I had four teenage boys, a 2-year-old boy and a full-time job at one point during my husband’s career, and in addition to a number of TDY’s he did a remote tour. It never even occurred to me to do anything but hold down the fort and keep things as normal as possible for my boys.”

— Tarita (Army)

“(My husband) left a week after we got married in 1991 and was gone 6 months. I did go back home, since I was just moving to Little Rock and didn’t know a soul! … After we had kids, I just found it easier to stay in my own home. I have always had friends who were in the same boat, and we have made the best of it! I have to say though, if I was a young wife with kids who were not yet school age, and my husband was going to deploy for 15 months, I would go home!”

— Stacy (Air Force)

“The first deployment my spouse had after we got married, I went home. I would never do that again. It taught me that you can’t go back.”

— Catherine (former military, civilian contract)

“Ideally, the military would have in place enough of a support network that the spouses and families would want to stay and support each other. Civilians don’t understand military life, so it is nice to be around those that do, especially now.”

— Emily (Air Force)

“While in Savannah, we went through five combat deployments. I found it very important to stay put and be involved as a (Family Resource Group) leader. I think it is important for the wives to bond together at this time. This was a time of growth in my relationship with God too, and you learn a lot about yourself.”

— Rebecca (Army)

“Having recently moved (before deployment) it was important that we not upset the kids’ routine yet again. Things were going to be upset enough with dad being gone a year. It was important for me that we remain independent … For me, it was also a matter of being in control of something.”

— Marcia (Air Force)

“Home is where my husband I and have made it. I have never traveled … for a deployment and never will. I have never felt alone … I feel more alone when I am away from the bases, military and other spouses.”

— Marie (Navy)

“The bottom line is that the spouse needs to do what will get her or him and the family through the time of separation with the most loving support around them that they can find.”

— Pattie (Air Force)

Read more responses and share your views on the Spouse Calls blog.

Terri Barnes, military spouse and mother of three, lives in Germany. Send questions or comments to her at spousecalls@stripes.com.

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