Hi everyone! I wanted to do a post about being a military spouse, at least in this house. I know a lot of people are curious about what it’s like and what we really live like. So I want to tell you!
Like I said in my first post, we are stationed at Fort Drum, NY and my husband, Matt, has been stationed here for over 10 years. This is UNHEARD of! To stay at one place so long is really not very common. People could say we’re very lucky… or very unlucky! I know many military families really hate Fort Drum but for us, it’s just home. My whole family lives here and always has so it’s perfect for us.
When we first got married in 2003, we lived in the Army base in a 2 bedroom apartment, with a garage. Pretty darn nice for a first apartment. We had our garbage picked up every week and if something went wrong inside we just called housing to fix it. As well as the bedrooms, there was a living room, a dining room, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a full laundry room. And a small balcony (or a small fenced in area if you lived on the bottom floor) out back. It was really perfect for us and served us well for two years. Then we decided on buying a house and found a great one out in the country. Because we no longer live on post, we get a monthly stipend of money for our living expenses on top of our regular pay. As it stands right now, this amount exceeds our mortgage amount, as well as our utilities. In other words, it’s a GOOD THING! This amount changes based on the post area you are in and your rank.
At Fort Drum, right now, and since 9/11, it is very common for soldiers to be on bi-yearly deployments… meaning they deploy every other year, for about one year. This has been true for Matt. Here is the rundown for him, we were married in March 2003. He left in July 2003, and came back in May 2004. Then he left in February 2006 and came back in May 2007 (this ended up being a 16 month deployment). Left again Dec 2008, and came back in Dec 2009. Then they often leave for trainings, schools, and weeks in the field. Yes, he’s been gone for about 50% off our marriage. And he is getting ready to deploy again within the next 6 weeks or so. This is the hard part of this life.
But is it all bad? NO WAY! I would never say that the “perks” make it worth it, but they certainly help! Aside from our housing allowance and a steady job… we get medical care. And when I say that… it is pretty much all-inclusive! I do not even pay co-pays when we go to the doctor. Our prescriptions are paid for. I had surgery in 2006 and did not shell out ONE DIME for it! On top of physical care, they also allow us to have counseling services, which come in handy dealing with everything we all deal with. How many people in this country can say their health-care is this good right now? For this, we are BLESSED! Another thing the military does for us, is gives us a bit of extra money when Matt is deployed. This has allowed us to pay of debts many times.
There are other small ways we are blessed by the military such as gyms to workout in, a few hours of childcare each day while the soldiers are deployed (these are on post), cheaper gas prices (usually) on base, and many more. I will never say anything is worth my husband being gone all the time, but we have it better than many in this day and age. I am grateful for all that I have and hope other spouses feel the same.
I would love to answer any questions you might have about this aspect of our life so leave your questions in my comments section and I’ll reply to them! 🙂