Spouses in Germany have own predeployment training
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Jeannette Morales already has been through four deployments as a soldier’s spouse, but on Tuesday morning she was among the Army wives getting the lowdown on what to expect during the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division’s looming mission in Iraq.
Even for spouses experienced with the rigors and emotional strain of a deployment, such meetings continue to play an important role in preparing for what’s ahead, according to Morales.
“Many young people come here from the States and expect that things are going to continue the same way,” Morales said. “The young spouses need to understand a change is coming.”
Army Community Services in Baumholder conducted a series of presentations Tuesday aimed at helping spouses prepare. The program — Spouse Battlemind Training — is an introduction to the various psychological and practical concerns that typically arise during a deployment.
“Identify now the things that are a problem,” advised Kathy Ledbetter, Baumholder’s ACS director.
Then make a plan with your spouse, she continued.
For instance, make sure a strategy is in place for managing the finances, handling the extra income earned downrange and getting the bills paid. The more planning the better since household chores once divided no longer will be, Ledbetter said.
Also be prepared for sporadic communication once a soldier is downrange, and make the most of those conversations when connections are made. And be sure to cultivate a support network of friends who can be relied on during hard times, Ledbetter said.
The presentation also dealt with what to expect when soldiers return home. Simply picking up where things left off 15 months earlier is an unreasonable expectation, said Dan Fur- lano, ACS’s manager of deployment-related issues.
“No soldier comes back untouched,” said Furlano, noting that feelings of detachment are commonplace and are to be worked through in time.
But the soldiers aren’t the only ones who will be changed.
“You’ll come through the deployment a different person,” Ledbetter told the new Army spouses.
“What you’re both going through is an emotional roller coaster,” Furlano said. “Our destination on this whole thing is a successful reunion at the end.”
Rebecca Boglioli, a 1st Battalion, 35 Armored Regiment spouse going through her first deployment, said the meeting helped her focus on what needs to get done between now and the brigade’s 2008 deployment.
Talking with a friend after the session, Boglioli said: “This is really coming up. I’ve got to get myself in gear.”
But the biggest concern, she said, is the impact her husband’s 15-month deployment will have on her 3-year-old daughter.
“She’s already having a hard time with it,” Boglioli said.
For more information about the Battlemind program, visit www.battlemind.org