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American poet Richard Watson Gilder once wrote, “Better than honour and glory, and history’s iron pen, was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men.” This mantra especially rings true to the 429,995 soldiers on active duty and the 850,880 soldiers enlisted in the seven reserve components as of January 31, 2013.
May is Military Appreciation Month, and in honor of the contributions made by all servicemen and women, we present to you an overview of family life within the armed forces.
The Sasser family received the Military family of the Year award for the second time at the Carolina Grill in Havelock. The members of the Sasser family are Harlie, Amy, Jason, Zachary and Cameron.
According to statistics obtained from the US Army Community and Family Support Center, “56.6% of the Active Duty force and 57.7% of the Selected Reserve have family responsibilities, defined as having “a spouse, one or more children and/or one or more adult dependents.”
Spouse and family satisfaction with military life are major factors in a soldier’s decision to stay or separate from the military.
There are 1.4 family members for every service member. Compared to their civilian counterparts, service members are also more likely to be married at younger ages and have young children at home.
With a ratio of 1:1.4, there are more military family members than service members, and in terms of relocation, military families:
Figures show that 74% of the armed forces are stationary, 14% move within same county, 5% move to a different state, 5% are required to move abroad and another 5% move within the same state.
Such frequent relocation poses challenges for civilian spouses. Higher unemployment is marked at a 2.3 increase than in other labor market areas, and wages are an estimated 5% lower than in other labor market areas.
Jeremy Hilton speaks after being named the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington, May 10, 2012. Hilton was nominated by his wife, Lt. Col. Renae Hilton, for his extensive advocacy work on behalf of special-needs families.
The US Army Community and Family Support Center further acknowledge that, “82% of all spouses are satisfied with their marriage at the present time, whereas 10% of spouses are neutral and 8% are dissatisfied.”
54.6% of Active Duty and 51.4% of the Selected Reserve are married. Though the vast majority of military spouses are women, there is a growing number of military husbands who face unique challenges, such as gender norms and expectations, employment opportunities and social isolation.
For each additional year of tour length, spouse dissatisfaction decreased by 4.2%. For each additional year at current location, spouse dissatisfaction decreased by 5.6%.
51% of spouses recently experienced deployment separation for 12+ months. 52% of spouses admit the possibility of re-deployment poses uncertainty in marriage, and 41% of spouses worry constantly about spouse safety in combat.
95% of military spouses report confidence in managing separations of less than a month, but only 30% reported confidence in their ability to cope with separations of over a year. Overall, 52% of spouses feel that they are coping/have coped well with spouse absence during deployments.
Subsequent to spouse deployment(s), civilian spouses generally manage the following tasks with ease:
In cases of post-deployment, 54% of spouses rated their reunion adjustment as easy, while 22% of spouses find the adjustment difficult.
The most difficult adjustments of deployment are:
In cases of military demands, 70% of spouses report their family has adjusted well to military demands, versus 7% who report their family has poorly adjusted.
Between 11%-15% of all spouses report they have experienced the following problems to a great extent:
Children waving their new U.S. flags at the Military Family Resource Fair at Lake Forest Park, Wash.
According to Wikipedia, a ‘military brat’ is a “term of endearment and respect to describe children of a parent (or parents) who serve full-time in the armed forces.”
In terms of age distribution of children in military families, 42% are between 0-5 years; 31% are between 6-11 years; 23% are between 12-18 years and 4% are between 19-22 years.
79% of military families have dependent children living with them and an estimated 73% of military brats are under 12 years old.
Single parents in the armed forces account for 5.4% of Active Duty members and 8.2% of the Selected Reserve.
49% of spouses report their oldest child is/has coped well with parental deployment, versus 20% of spouses report their oldest child is/has coped poorly with parental deployment.
In cases of parental deployment, military brats most often experience:
The aforementioned data has been extracted from the “Demographic of Miltary Familes” infographic, hosted at http://mymilitarybase.com/. MyMilitaryBase.com is a website directory dedicated to the military families who are seeking relocation information, advice and overall community support.