The military offers a lifetime of opportunities to young Americans and there families. Many young people see joining the military as a great escape to a better life, an education that is vital yet paid for, and security for their families. The military offer great incentives and benefits, but there is also the risk of being sent to war.
The immediate effects of war on family members of military personal are psychological including separation anxiety and the fear of losing a loved one. Many people see the military as a tough system which sends people to work or war and does not offer any repercussions. This is not the case. Reviewing the effects of separation anxiety and the fear of losing a loved along with the programs the military has set up to help families through this transition will enable others to see this is not a one sided phenomenon.
Separation anxiety occurs when families are separated effecting the spouse and children as well as the military personal, causing heartache for all parties involved. Spouses and children are often at the butt of separation anxiety especially during times of war. Children often have many questions regarding war and the concept of terrorism. The military has great services available to help families cope during this difficult time including local support groups and psychological support.
The military has also incorporated virtual help for deployed military personal. The thinking behinds this being that a soldier knows “that if his comrades see him talking with one of the shrinks on base, they would lose trust in him, label him a head case. A medical file soon would contain records of the visit. If he ever wanted a promotion, he’d have to explain the weakness of his mind”(Berton, 2004). So with virtual therapy nothing is displayed on the soldier’s record and the soldier receives the emotional support and help he needs to cope with this difficult time.
Fear of losing a loved one can lead to many types of psychological distress. This fear may cause anxiety or depression in family members. Beth Sneller gave some insight about military families “In some ways, they almost feel guilty. When many military parents hear about the death of a local soldier they think at first how glad they are it isn’t their child. But then, they say, that relief gives way to a deep feeling of sadness. ‘Every time you hear of a death, you can’t help but feel emotional for those poor parents’ said Rod (A father whose son is an army captain)” (Sneller, 2004, p. 13).
There fear of losing a loved one has many military families seeking support from local facilities or internet groups. The internet groups support those who have lost a loved one “so almost weekly, they say, they’re sending condolences to friends across the nation who have lost loved ones overseas. ‘Every single time a picture gets flashed across in the evening news, it’s deeply personal,’ said Nancy Manzie of Naperville, whose son, Brent Lewis, is in the inactive Marine reserves. Even if they don’t know the soldier (personally), they still feel a connection to his or her family” (Sneller, 2004, p. 13).
When considering the military’s effect on society during our current war and wars of the past there has been a negative outlook among the public. There are rumors of injured soldiers not receiving proper medical care when they return home to the states. The tough and rigorous lifestyle causes people to shy away from seeking psychological help because of the way the will be viewed by their friends and peers.
“Army Reserve Sgt. Mike Durant, 33, who fought in Al Doha, Iraq, about 20 miles south of Baghdad from
February 2005 to January 2006, said the view toward therapy among the ranks was “comparable to what it was in the 1940s.” During his tour, Durant, who now lives in Sacramento, saw a friend blown up by an improvised explosive device. At the time, his wife at home was in the process of divorcing him. Durant admitted he had thought of killing himself. “I wanted the waiting to be over,” he said. “We’d do IED sweeps along the same roads, some days all day. You were just waiting for it to happen to you.
You were waiting to get blown up.” His officers ordered him to visit a field Combat Stress Center for a mandatory 72-hour evaluation. Even before he returned to his battalion, he knew his commanders had lost faith in him. Anyone who was shipped to the shrinks, or sought treatment, was a liability. “In their eyes, I was no longer reliable,” Durant said. “I couldn’t be trusted. I was unstable to them.
” Even though he had been a member of the unit for 10 years and had served as an infantry team leader who was responsible for three men, Durant said that, while he was not officially demoted on paper, his duties dropped from one of leadership to that of a rifleman. “Before I was sent there, I was fairly respected and highly regarded,” he said. After his time at the Combat Stress Center, Durant said, “Peers and friends didn’t want anything to do with me; it was like I had some sort of disease”(Burton, 2004).
The military still has strict over the top views about many things. It is important to keep in mind that the United States Military has been one of the strongest military forces in the world for hundreds of years. We as a nation are kept safe, happy, and considerably wealthy, compared to other countries, because of the strength of our military. The military is aware of the damage that can be done by separating a couple or a family and they take every step possible to ease the pain. There is compassion within the military, just not when it comes to warfare.
Sneller, B. (2004, October 13). For Military Families, Every Death Hits Close to Home. Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), p. 13. Retrieved March 19, 2007, from Questia database: https://www.questia.com/read/1G1-123950032/for-military-families-every-death-hits-close-to-home