November 21, 2017

Dual-Military Families Need Help From The Service That They Aren’t Getting

By Amy Schafer and Moira Fagan

When Renee Swift, an Air Force officer, married an active-duty Navy pilot, the couple added to their already-challenging careers a third, seemingly full-time job: coordinating their advancements and deployments around the life and the home they shared. “In our marriage, we have lived apart longer than we have together, because of our military careers’ demands,” Swift says. The near-inevitability of physical separations in the military, through deployments or separate assignments, is so common that those who undertake it are called “geographic bachelors.” For all intents and purposes, they live as though they are unmarried and childless.

Even having children (or conceiving them) becomes a complicated logistical exercise when you and your spouse are both in the service. “I know many couples that planned having children around deployment windows or shore or school tours,” Swift says. She eventually transitioned from active duty to the Air Force Reserve, hoping the one-weekend-a-month, two-weeks-a-year obligation would simplify family life — and it has, but only up to a point.

Read the full commentary in Task and Purpose.

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