How Deployment Affects Families

The+combat+patch+on+a+US+Army+sergeants+uniform+from+one+%28or+more%29+overseas+deployments. user Ladyheart. CC license.

The “combat patch” on a US Army sergeant’s uniform from one (or more) overseas deployments.

Kira Grega, Staff Reporter

It happens when you least expect it, that one phone call that can change someone’s life. If you grew up in a military family than you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, well, you should know what many of your classmates are going through.


In my own opinion it’s one of the most terrifying things about the military. From having to sit down and being told your family member had to go, to actually watching them walk away. For anyone who’s gone through it, they know how difficult it can be. The United States alone has sent over 2.7 million service members to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, plenty of them more than once. Both countries are places where bombings are still monthly, if not weekly, events.

It’s said that even after the parent and or family member has returned, the whole family still feels a lingering effect. I spoke with some students from Indian River High School and a couple teachers whose spouse is in the military, and what they told me still sits heavy on my mind at times.

Jazmine Reilly, a senior from Indian River high school stated “I wasn’t able to talk or see her [who?] for 2 years. There’s always a worry in my mind that she’s going to be deployed and that terrifies me.” 

An anonymous 1st grade teacher over at Philly primary, whose husband has been deployed for 6 months now, stated “Some days are worse than others, I wake up knowing he’s gone and go on with my day. Then there’s some when I wake up and expect to see him next to me.”

She started to tear up when asked about the last time they seen each other. “We had a fight. I was worried about being alone with the kids and about all of the things that needed to be done before he left. In reality, I was just terrified at the thought of him leaving.”

Military veterans and psychologists both agree that many families often fight as a way of distancing themselves to prepare for the deployment. It’s obviously terrible for everyone to leave this way, but is there ever any “easy” way to leave?

Joshua Lawrence, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, explained to me how deployment affected him directly. “The day I was told I had to leave was one of the most terrifying and exciting days of my life. I was 21, and ready to take on the world. I married young and was extremely close to my family. The hardest part for me was sitting them down and telling them I was going overseas. I can still remember hugging my little sister and brother as they cried, telling them it was going to be okay.”

“Day of deployment wasn’t exactly the easiest either. I gave my family a hug and they waved goodbye as I walked away. I missed them every second of every day.” There are many different points of view on deployment, but every single one of them wants the same outcome, to come home safe and sound and to be reunited with their loved ones again.

Although military families have mixed feelings about deployment, more than half of the 38 people I talked to plan to join the military themselves when they graduate.