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hi my partner is currently in the army reserves and is joining the full time army at the start of next year.i'm wondering if anyone can tell me what it is like to be the defence force spouse i'm a little afraid of what i'm facing
Hi, I am a Navy spouse so I can't really tell you what an army spouse's life is like. I think they are home a little more than Navy but then again with all the trouble in Iraq etc this may be wrong. There are quite a few army spouses on Bub Hub so they will be able to give a little more insight. Just hang in when the times are tough and enjoy the times he is home.
My DF has been in the Army for 6 years. He went to East Timor in 2003 & is currently 6 weeks into a 6 month deployment in Afghanistan. Which corps would your partner be going to? My DF is Infantry. He does alot of bush time when he is home.
Its a very different life, compared to a civillian life & I honestly dont believe just anyone can handle it. In saying that, I'm a bit of a sook and I surivive. I think it comes down to how much you love your partner. If you want to be with them, and them only its suprising how much **** you can tolerate and what you will give up for them.
I could go on for ages about the lifestyle, good & bad. Do you have any specific questions you want answered?
Okay, you asked for it lol! MY DH is in engineers in army, and in past four years he has been away three times to East Timor, one for six months, and two seven month stints. In the past five years since we have been together, he has been away 75 % of that time. He goes away on course a lot and on deployments/exercises and is generally never home for more then two weeks consecutively. This is not normal for most units, he is extremely good at what he does and the amount of time spent away as attachments to other units testifies to that.
So it will depend on what unit firstly.
Secondly at some stage you will face posting to another location which can be stressful. We have been lucky, DP has been here in Brissie for almost 14 years now, a very rare thing in the Army. It will happen soon that we will have to post somewhere. IT can be a stressful time waiting to find out where you will be.
DCO I have absolutely no time for at all. Whilst my DP was away in East Timor I had to have emergency surgery on New Years Eve. I contacted the DCO rep who I knew and she was supposed to get word to him through another defence organisation. She forgot. I was so peeved as my DP was in E Timor trying to get hold of me for four days before I finally called a few other people from hospital chasing it up. I dont find my local DCO office good, in fact I find them ****.
DHA have really looked after us with housing, we have one child and were given a new four bedroom air conditioned house etc at the miminum amount of rent and close to the barracks etc and my childs daycare centre, as I have epilepsy I dont drive so they were fantastic in taking that into consideration.
I have heard positive stories and negative stories, I have had positive experiences and negative ones. Overall it is a huge thing for the partner who is away and the partner left at home. I do have times where I really break down as I find it hard to parent alone and then all the adjustments of DP being home and then leaving again.
That being said having friends in the same situation has been a lifeline for me on more then one occasion.
My husband is in the navy full time, and like Tarynduggan said, the time spent at home and/or away is probably a bit different between the different forces. Earlier this year my husband was away for a 6month deployment to Iraq, and is going away again on Monday for a 6 week exercise (and will miss our 1st year anniversary) - though those 6 weeks can turn into a few months when they are on stand-by for disasters, like the tsunami, earthquakes and also wars that Australia is involving itself in, like Korea and Timor.
Defence life is something that takes getting used to, even then no one actually gets used to their partners comings and goings. Personally, I dont think that I am really cut out for it - and if I was given the option I would choose OUT. But it is the career that my husband chose, and rather than whinge and complain about it to him which would lower his morale while away, I choose to be supportive and love him even more.
We tend to find that we really cherish and savour the time that we have together. We have noticed that out of all our friends who are in 'normal civillian' relationships, we argue the least out of them all. In the days leading up to a deployment or exercise this is different, cause there is a strain on the relationship - but otherwise we have a fantastic relationship.
Communication is an artform when your partner is away. Learning what to say, what not to say, whats important and what isn't is so important are useful tools for those 5 minute conversations you may have every fortnight or so (well - thats in my case cause my hubbies ship only has a satellite phone). Though he does have access to email, so it would be unusual to not receive at least one email every day.
There is quite a bit of support out there for when your partner is away. DCO (Defence Community Organisation) can be helpful if you push for it; and in times of absolute crises I have always found them to be good. The financial security is always a bonus, and the knowledge that Australian soldiers have the lowest fatality rate out of our major allied countries is also a positive thing.
Take care, and feel free to chat with us some more :)
I wish that I had asked that question a few years ago. I probably would have kept on hubby shopping!!
I'm not a fan of the army ATM. They must take their hearts at Kapooka, I'm hoping DH gets his back when he gets out.
My DH has always said "the country comes first" and he puts it first most of the time.
He is basically on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If they want him to do something, he has to do it! I guess if you accept that, it is easier, its not his fault he has to go away or misses every family function.
Be prepared to move alot, and have plans changed. I'm a bit uptight and like to know months in advance whats happening - it doesn't always work like that.
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