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Written by the Carson Law Firm

Military divorce differs from civilian divorce in many ways. For example, when active members of the military—or their spouses—file for a divorce, they are subject to special and unique circumstances that civilians don’t have to deal with. When filing for a divorce, there are several elements that the military influences that you need to consider. Including:

    • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
    • Where the divorce can be filed
    • Child custody and visitation
    • How support is calculated

If you are in search of legal advice, please contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation with a qualified Military Divorce Attorney to discuss your legal options.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that can affect your divorce or child custody case in many ways. The SCRA protects servicemembers from unexpected circumstances at home so that they can focus on their missions abroad. Because of this, the SCRA allows servicemembers to get a delay in any court or agency proceeding that might affect their relationships with their children.

While the SCRA is good for servicemembers, it can be frustrating for non-military spouses if servicemembers delay proceedings. However, the SCRA protects servicemembers from courts issuing permanent decisions until they can arrange to be there. Courts must balance the rights of military and civilian spouses.

The SCRA includes other benefits for servicemembers including preventing landlords from evicting you, stops foreclosures and several more protections.

Where Can I File My Divorce?

For many military spouses, the difficult decision to divorce may arise in a state where you have just moved. In some cases, one spouse may have moved back to the state they are originally from. However, when an active duty military spouse is involved, both parties must be conscious of where the divorce is filed. Courts need to establish jurisdiction over you and your spouse. Otherwise, your divorce won’t be valid. While this is true for every divorce, federal law only makes court orders relating to military retirement plans enforceable if special jurisdictional requirements are met.

When you file for divorce, there are three points you can meet to establish jurisdiction. You can file in a state where:

  1. The military spouse lives;
  2. The military spouse is a resident; or
  3. You and your spouse must agree to the state.

It is important to remember that the state where you married is irrelevant to your divorce. Only the state laws where you file will govern your military divorce.

Active Duty Child Custody and Visitation

Much like the divorce itself, state law determines child custody and visitation. But active-duty families face unique challenges that civilian families don’t. For example, active duty servicemembers may receive orders that station them at a base in a different state or deploy to various parts of the world. This can put a strain on existing arrangements and create stress for parents and children.

Relocation Hurdles

If your custodial agreement is already in place but doesn’t address military relocation, you have the option of working with a court and the other parent to modify the order appropriately. Keep in mind, these arrangements are generally subject to individual state laws. Other things to consider when filing a military divorce:

  • Your state’s custody and visitation laws are the guidelines for a court’s determination when you request permission to relocate with your child.
  • Some states may require you to show how the move will benefit the child.
  • Some states prohibit relocation without compelling circumstances.
Deployment

Deployments can be disruptive to children. In the past, military service has influenced the courts. Courts have looked at servicemembers as unfavorable primary caretakers because of their military status. However, lawmakers in many states have attempted to pass laws that require judges to consider the best interests of the child over a parent’s military status. The goal is to prevent military parents from losing custody of their children simply because they deploy. Many states have had difficulty passing these laws, but the SCRA does help to delay any court action during deployment. Additionally, the military requires servicemembers to create a family care plan after a divorce that their commanding officer must approve. These plans should be updated annually and must not interfere with any other legal documents, such as divorce decrees.

How is Military Divorce Support Calculated? Child Support

Active-duty servicemembers are legally required to support their children just like anyone else. Because military paychecks differ from civilian checks, it is sometimes challenging to determine what a servicemember’s actual pay is. If children are present, in order to determine what you or your spouse should pay for child support, figure out the active duty servicemember’s base pay, what they are paying for your child’s health insurance and/or work-related daycare.

In Texas, for example, once you know all of the above information, you can plug it into the Attorney General of Texas’ Monthly Child Support Calculator to get an idea of what you can expect.

Spousal Support

Generally, two sets of laws affect military divorce and spousal support. As mentioned before, the first is the state where the divorce takes place. The second is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA).

While state law controls most aspects of the divorce, the USFSPA is a federal law that requires the military to accept the state’s statutes on issues like child support, alimony, military pay and pensions. Additionally, the USFSPA allows the military to classify military retirement pay as property instead of income. The USFSPA requires that the couple’s marriage last for a specific amount of time in order for the spouse to be eligible for certain benefits. For instance:

  • Former spouses can receive a portion of the service member’s retirement pay if the couple’s marriage lasted at least 10 years and the service member performed at least 10 years of creditable military service.
  • Former spouses can continue accessing military benefits (healthcare and commissary) if the couple’s marriage lasted at least 20 years and the servicemember performed at least 20 years of creditable military service.

In both child support and spousal support, the military requires servicemembers to meet their obligations described in the divorce decree or court order. When a servicemember does not meet those obligations they may face military discipline. Each branch of the military requires servicemembers to pay their debts and support their dependents. Servicemembers who fail to meet their duties may face a court-martial. Specific possible violations include:

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

We suggest that anyone looking to file for divorce first speak with a qualified family law attorney, as each situation is different. Our firm has the special knowledge needed to help you navigate through the difficulties of a military divorce. Divorce is difficult enough. But with a qualified attorney from The Carlson Law Firm on your side, you can be sure your rights and the rights of your children will be protected during this difficult time. Contact our firm for a free consultation with one of our military divorce attorneys. We are available 24/7.

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“If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain or bitter.”

With a nod to Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata,” one of my favorite poems, Rosemary Williams included this line as one of ten bits of wisdom to consider on our journeys to success. Williams, who is the Executive Director of Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic (S.A.F.E.) and a former military spouse, was speaking at the 2018 Military Spouse Town Hall.

In a room of military spouses, who had gathered in the spirit of camaraderie, support and celebration, an energy reverberated about the room, convincing us without difficulty that when we work together, we are stronger.

If only all of us could always be in a room like Town Hall.

But there are times when comparisons are made. The military life demands us to participate in high-stakes situations, which can feel surreal and profound. And, at times, such experiences might feel so intense, so extreme that we measure ourselves against each other. In other words, as we grow in our experiences, we gain more “street cred.”

Have there been times when each of us has compared, or – dare I say – judged from time to time, even if only within our hearts? Making comparisons is, perhaps, part of being human, but the way we handle that instinct is what’s important. As I reflected on this, a few things came to mind.

When Pressure Is on the Rise

If we were to look at our military life on a graph, we would probably see a series of valleys and hills with varying crests. Valleys are the merciful times when things are fairly calm. Hills represent times when military life was turning up the pressure, during a TDY, a PCS, a deployment or some other military life event.

Years ago, I sat around a coffee table with a group of spouses, while one spouse vented about trouble with her kids while her husband was TDY. Her situation sounded difficult, but another spouse whose husband was deployed shut her down. At least the TDY spouse’s husband would return soon, she argued. The deployed spouse went on to describe pressures and frustrations with her own kids, and the TDY spouse didn’t contribute any more to the conversation.

I remember feeling sorry for the TDY spouse, because her struggles were certainly legitimate. But I also thought that the deployed spouse’s comment was coming from her own place of stress and weariness. This is legitimate, too.

In her article “10 Reasons to Stop Judging People,” clinical psychologist Barbara Markway reminds readers that judgment is a “natural instinct,” but that we should try to “be mindful” and “depersonalize.”

Before we rush to shut someone down, take a pause and figure out a way to rephrase our words into something that won’t cause harm. And if judgmental words are said, recognize that often those words come from a place of pain, and they’re not about you at all.

When My Life Seems Harder than Yours…

Across the branches, a number of factors can contribute to a person’s assessment of how challenging their military life has been.

  • The number of times you’ve PCS’d
  • The number of times your service member has deployed
  • If you’ve had a baby or experienced a family member’s death while your service member was deployed
  • The average length of your service member’s deployments
  • The number of year-long deployments or remote tours you’ve endured
  • The intensity of your service member’s job – whether it’s operational or supportive
  • Whether your service member’s deployments require him or her to engage in combat/go “outside the wire,” which, by extension, increases anxiety and fear at home

If you check off more boxes, does it make your life harder? If you don’t, is your life a breeze? Not necessarily.

When spouses check off items in this list, it might not always lead to a feeling of great suffering. It could also cultivate a sense of proud strength, sometimes cloaked in stoicism; they’ve endured a lot, tested their abilities and realized they are capable of managing more than they believed.

Still, many of us have experienced judgments. Maybe we can remember judging, when we heard a voice in our head saying, “If only you really knew.” Or, maybe we can remember feeling judged, when a voice in our head cried out, “How can you dismiss my pain?”

Here’s what I think it all boils down to: compassion.

The military life is a breeding ground for highly sensitive life experiences, unique to each person, and to each situation. Regardless of the spouse’s past experience or the current situation’s intensity, each experience is valued as a sacred piece of a person’s life.

These experiences are so very separate from life outside the military community, and spouses need to lean on people within the military community for support. They’re really the only ones who are capable of extending the right kind of empathy. As Julie, author of “Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life,” writes, “Having that compassion helps build up the military community instead of tearing it down.”

What Happens When We’re Compassionate

Comparing other people’s experiences to our own is a natural thing. We probably can’t stop ourselves from doing so. But, we can keep in mind that each person’s journey feels deeply personal to the individual.

So, when we interact, we can be mindful of what we say. We can be compassionate, and try to find common ground even when there doesn’t seem to be any initially. If we succeed in doing this, perhaps then we’ll avoid becoming “vain or bitter.” Perhaps then we’ll be able to work together more easily. Perhaps then we’ll become more resilient, sew more meaningful friendships and build stronger communities.

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Life’s a journey we were never meant to walk alone…we all need friends along the way!

You’ll hear this at the beginning of every episode of the Journeywomen podcast. Hunter Beless (follow her personal instagram here!) is founder and host of this encouraging resource for women to find community where they might not have any, while learning how to conquer life’s challenges and struggles that we all face.

Hunter brings relatable humans on the show to speak about topics from fitness to prayer, from fear to identity. Not only do I always learn something new about myself and my own life journey, but I feel like I make a new friend in every single episode. When I moved to a new place and felt lost without friends or community, this podcast was that for me!

Even better, Hunter is a military spouse and momma to two adorable little milkids. She GETS this life and she is able to see the wonderful in the crazy. Follow Journeywomen on insta here.

In light of Memorial Day, the newest Journeywomen podcast episode is all about navigating military life. Hunter hangs out with Megan Arnold who has been a military spouse for 19 years and stood by her husband, Bo, through 9 deployments.

“Hardships reveal where our heart’s are. They are testing grounds, a proving ground, for what are my idols right now.”

They talk about surviving this transient lifestyle, dealing with unmet expectations, and staying connected to our spouses despite the distances so often faced.

“I have to be willing to not expect anything from my husband in conversation.”

“I try not to think so much about what I’m missing out on, but look forward to what I have coming home to me eventually.”

I was so impacted by the conversation about focusing on what you can be to new people you meet rather than what other people can do for you. They say it’s like walking into a room full of people (or a new duty station full of new people!) and instead of saying, “Hello! I’M here, you’re welcome!” we listen and see how we can best serve others.

“There is blessing that occurs by getting inside other people’s lives. When you understand more of someone’s life your impression of them may change with time and effort.”

They also address the civilian world and help both sides learn how we can build relationship together and be stronger for it.

Some of the best questions Megan answered were:

  • What motivates you to continue pursuing real friendships even though you know you’ll be leaving them soon?
  • Can you befriend other women whom you might not naturally be drawn to?
  • How do you and your spouse pursue oneness when you’re separate in proximity? Emotionally and Physically?
  • What are some of the unforeseen blessings of the military lifestyle?

They cover so much more; this is just a taste!

One thing Hunter asks every guest is what their three simple joys are. From Target to Iced Coffee to tea on the front porch, so many simple things can bring us joy if we choose to see the good. So, comment below with your 3 simple joys to encourage each other today!

And while you’re going about your day, subscribe to the Journeywomen podcast on iTunes, grab some headphones, and listen to this episode on military life. You won’t regret it.

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Have you ever wished some magical handbook existed to help you navigate this crazy, yet wonderful, military life?

I sure have. Like most of you, I was indoctrinated into military life through baptism by fire. (Sound familiar?) I do remember receiving a copy of “Roses and Thorns” when I was a young Marine spouse (like age 19), but I had NO idea how to apply that content into real everyday modern military life….especially since its last update was in 1990!

Look, we’re all gonna flub up in our journey through military life and on occasion we’ll even have some pretty interesting stories to tell as a result. But when it comes to military protocol, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I (and many others before us) made.

That’s why we came up with this quick cheat sheet to help you avoid some of the most common faux pas so far. Even if you’re a “seasoned spouse” (I HATE that term btw), we could always use a refresher on the do’s and don’ts of our role in military protocol and etiquette.

1. Colors

If you’ve ever lived on base, or find yourself there in the early mornings or in the early evenings, you may have heard bugle calls coming from the loudspeakers aboard the installation. These are called morning and evening “Colors” and is associated with the lowering and raising of the flags on post. When you hear this music playing, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. If you’re in your car, hit the brakes. If you’re walking the dog, stop and stand still. If you’re at the playground, stop talking and make sure the kids do as well (as best you can anyway). Most MilKids who live on base already know the drill and will probably be standing at attention themselves. It’s also customary to either face the nearest flag or at least stand and face the direction the music is coming from. The point is, if you’re anywhere outdoors and within earshot of these bugle calls, follow this protocol.

If you aren’t familiar with the sound of colors, check out this video of evening colors so you’ll be prepared to stop the next time you hear them.

2. Saluting

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen other military spouses have this knee-jerk reaction to salute when they’re around someone who is being saluted. I usually see this from newer officer spouses when going through the base gates in their vehicles. I’ve mostly witnessed this aboard Marine Corps bases, as officer and enlisted personnel have different decals on their vehicles. When the gate guard sees the officer decal, they automatically salute, regardless of who is driving the car. But the bottom line is, we DO NOT SALUTE BACK! (here’s what you can call them, too) It’s no big deal if you do, but just in case you didn’t know before….now you know. Speaking of saluting…

3. Left is Always Best

If you’re walking with your service member while in uniform, walk on his left side. Why? Because in the event a senior officer crosses your path, he’s gonna need to salute STAT. I’ve been accidentally wacked in the head few times because I forgot this bit of protocol. If you get confused (as I often did), just start singing some Beyoncé (“To the left, to the left…”)

4. Attire

Here’s the thing about attire…it is totally confusing sometimes! I learned the hard way that my version of “casual” and the military version of casual are two TOTALLY different things. Case in point, MY casual was (and still sometimes is) a pair of ripped jeans and a t-shirt. (See where this is going?) YEP. I was THAT chick. Bottom line: Don’t wear gym clothes unless you’re headed to the gym, don’t run into the c-store in a bathing suit after a trip to the pool (EVER), and ALWAYS keep a sweater/hoodie in your car. Why? Because not every installation commissary or exchange will enforce the same rules so it’s better to be safe than sorry. I (again) learned this the hard way two days after moving to Hawaii. I’d walked into the exchange in a halter top and was immediately stopped at the door. While my…ahem…’girls’ weren’t hanging out or anything, this particular installation didn’t make exceptions for anything and halters were on the list of unacceptable attire. Lesson Learned.

5. Military Ball

There’s a whole HOST of protocol associated with Military Ball season, from clothing to behavior. I’ll touch on two that I have seen more people flub up throughout history.

The first is the attire. Military balls are formal events, so for the male military spouses reading this, you’re pretty much off the hook on this one. Just put on a tux and call it a day.

For my fellow female military spouses, we want to wear floor length gowns…but the attire etiquette doesn’t end there. The world of fashion has evolved over the years and there are some pretty interesting (and sometimes tricky) dresses available out there that may not be appropriate for military balls. Here’s an example of what you DON’T want to wear to one of these shin-digs:

We came up with this example doing a quick internet search… (The Odyssey Online)

That’s right. No whale tale….no “Leave it to Cleavage.” Keep it tasteful and when in doubt, ask one of those “seasoned” (yes, I still hate that term) milspouses for their opinion.

The second thing I want to quickly touch on is alcohol consumption. 9 out of 10, there will be booze available at a military ball, but if you’re a light weight, I’d probably limit your intake until it’s time to hit the dance floor. You’ll be surrounded by your service member’s peers…the same peers they have to face the next day at work. The last thing you want them talking about is how so and so’s spouse can’t hold their liquor and barfed all over the commander’s shoes. When in doubt, save it for the after party.

6. PDAs

Public displays of affection (or PDAs) are prohibited while in uniform….PERIOD. It’s no secret that most of us lose our minds when we see our service members all spiffed up in their duds…especially in their Service Dress uniforms. But we must overcome our need to grab them up into a never-ending lip-lock whenever we feel the urge. Try to contain yourselves…Even holding hands can be considered over-kill at times, but if they can’t even walk around with an umbrella in uniform, they surely can’t be wearing us all over their faces.

7. Greetings

It took me over 10 years to understand each rank in the Marine Corps, and I’m still working on recognizing them in other service branches. They can absolutely be confusing. While I was learning as a young Marine spouse, my husband actually gave me a really great trick of the trade. He said if there’s a lot of ‘black’ on their chevrons or any ‘bling’ where the black on his uniform would be, always go with sir or ma’am. So I took part of that in stride and decided to call everyone I met sir or ma’am….until they told me to call them something else. It’s a rookie trick, but it worked while I was learning.

8. National Anthem

This has been a point of contention in American society as of late. But the question of whether to sit, kneel or stand is not an option in military protocol. You stand. You put your hand over your heart. You stop talking, smoking or chewing gum and face the flag. PERIOD.

9. THEIR Uniform

They earned it. They signed a blank check in the amount of up to and including their lives. They raised their right hands and swore an oath to protect the constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. That uniform is THEIRS. We should never be wearing their uniform in public, (even if we look awesome in it). Now we don’t see this with our male military spouses (though THAT would be a sight to see, wouldn’t it?). But we have seen photos on social media of other military spouses donning their service member’s uniform. This is an absolute NO NO. To some, this is considered borderline stolen valor. Now if it’s a special request directly from your service member? Save it for the boudoir and no one will be the wiser.

10. RSVP

Our lives are hectic, but when we’re invited to a shin-dig at another Mil-Fams home, or for unit get-together at the behest of the commander’s spouse…we HAVE to RSVP. PLEASE don’t just show up if you have not RSVP’d. Hosting an event can be stressful…and there’s nothing more stressful than running out of food or not having enough room to host.

11. Say Thank You

Thank you cards are one of the few timeless courtesies that should never die out in modern society. If you attended an event hosted by a fellow milspouse, send them a thank you card. If you received a meal train after the birth of your last child, break out the thank you cards (you’ll be up all night anyway with baby, you’ll have time). This is NOT an outdated tradition. This is a stellar fixture in military life. If all else fails, go to the dollar tree and get a few packs to keep on hand. If you’re like me and you just KNOW you’ll forget to send it, go ahead and fill it out before the get-together and hand it to the host/hostess on the way out. If you forget everything else in this guide, DON’T forget to say THANK YOU.

There are WAY more topics that go along with military protocol and etiquette, but this mini-guide should help keep you in the clear for some of the most common offenses we commit throughout our military journey.

Have you ever “flubbed-up” one of these examples? We’d love to hear them if you’re willing to share!

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We need a batch of good news. A little hops in our step. Something to sip on that takes us to a different time. 1757 to be exact.

Budweiser has done it again. Making history. And this is just straight up awesome. Using the original recipe from George Washington’s handwritten notes found in a notebook from 1757 during the French and Indian War, Budweiser has crafted the next edition in their Reserve collection. Here is the page from the notebook:

Excerpt on making small beer from George Washington’s notebook as a Virginia colonel. Courtesy New York Public Library. http://dp.la/item/f0b7fb1444dd7f202e86c6ff374da8cb

So cool! And it just gets better.

This limited edition Freedom Reserve Red Lager is brewed exclusively by veteran brewers who brew for Budweiser.

“We are incredibly proud of our Freedom Reserve Red Lager because it was passionately brewed by our veteran brewers who have bravely served our country,” Budweiser Vice President Ricardo Marques

Proceeds from the beer go to support Folds of Honor, whose mission is to provide scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members.

America, ladies and gentlemen.

The 5.4 ABV lager is described as “a rich caramel malt taste and a smooth finish with a hint of molasses.”

Ok, fine, you’ve convinced me. OMW to get some right now. Hopefully you live close enough to snag up some of this speciality brew, too. Enter your zip code here to find out where you can buy it.

This Memorial Day, toast to the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our lives safely in our back yards with the peace of mind to sit and have a beer this weekend.

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From MilitaryBridge

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Aquarium of the Pacific: (California) Join the Aquarium of the Pacific all Summer Long as they Celebrate their 20th Anniversary. Enjoy events, festivals and military savings! Learn all the details here.

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Military Times: Military Times is offering our best subscription pricing in honor of Military Appreciation Month. Click here to check out our special rates for Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times, and Navy Times.

McCormick & Schmick’s: Military Appreciation: Offering FREE LUNCH or DINNER entrée on Monday, May 28 to Active U.S. Military Members, Guard, Gold Star Honorees and Veterans on Memorial Day. Reservations are important as this books up quickly.

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TaylorMade Golf offers a 15% Military discount off the entire purchase for Active Duty, Retirees, Veterans, Military Spouses, Military Family Members. You will see your discount reflected while shopping on their site after verifying your eligibility with ID.me. This discount cannot be combined with other promotional codes and some exclusions may apply. SHOP HERE!

ENTERTAINMENT & RECREATION

Kings Dominion: (Virginia) Military Days: Join us May 26-28th, 2018 as we pay tribute to our brave military service men and women by offering FREE park admission to all active or retired military personnel with a valid military I.D. as well as Veterans with honorable or medical discharge. Head to the front gate and present either a DD214 or government issued ID for admission. Kings Dominion is also offering a Special Military Discounted Ticket for Military Dependents for Memorial Weekend–Save $30 off front gate admission, purchase online HERE. When available to purchase Memorial Day military discounted tickets online CLICK HERE! We are celebrating Memorial Day all weekend long with extended fireworks shows, live entertainment, special offers and more. Kings Dominion also offers Military Days for The Fourth of July. Learn more!

Colonial Williamsburg: (Virginia) The historic attraction will offer FREE ADMISSION to military members and their families during Memorial Day weekend. From Friday, May 25, to Monday May 28, active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans, and their families will receive free admission to the historic attraction. On Monday, there will be a Memorial Day Commemorative Program from 10am-12pm. Gather for a modern service honoring military veterans who died while serving their country. A procession with Fife and Drum support will proceed from the Palace to Bruton Parish Church and the French gravesite. Wreaths will be laid, prayers given, and volleys fired at each stop to honor soldiers of the American Revolution and Civil War interred nearby. Colonial Williamsburg’s Honoring Service Program Expands with Year-round Military Admissions Savings Current Military Personnel, Dependents to Qualify for Free Single-day Admission. Learn more about CW Military Discount Program Here.

Blue Star Museums program: Participating museums will offer FREE ADMISSION to all active duty military and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There are many amazing museums a part of this program.

Blue Star Theatres: Each participating Blue Star Theatre is offering discounted or complimentary admission to all military personnel and their families, as well as veterans. Education programs and other theatre opportunities may be discounted as well. This is a year-round program. There are currently 136 participating theaters with new theaters being added.

Military Tee Times: Is proud to provide an easy way for all members of the United States Military to enjoy golf by offering exclusive savings on tee times at thousands of courses in the U.S. and worldwide. Military Tee Times operates with more than 8,000 course partners in several countries offering military discounts off select tee times.

Armed Forces Vacation Club: Armed Forces Vacation Club is a FREE membership club open to active duty, guard, reserve and retired members of the Armed Forces as well as civilian employees of the DoD. AFVC provides access to resort vacation rentals starting at just $349* per week. Choose from destinations worldwide including Orlando, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, the Bahamas & more. Start your search today – you’ve earned it! Learn more!

National Park Service: The National Park Service offers a FREE annual pass to military members and their dependents. Learn more!

Waves of Honor: This program offers any active duty military, reservist or National Guardsman ONE FREE ADMISSION each year and up to three direct dependents. to either Busch Gardens WilliamsburgBusch Gardens TampaSesame PlaceSeaWorld San Antonio, SeaWorld San DiegoSeaWorld Orlando and Water Country USA Williamsburg. THESE OFFERS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AT THE PARK and military verification is through Troop ID. Click the links to learn more.

Waves of Honor (Veterans Program): SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also has Veterans Offer via Waves of Honor for Sesame PlaceBusch Gardens WilliamsburgSeaWorld San Antonio. These offers are not available at the parks and military verification is through Troop ID. Click the links to learn more.

California’s Great America: (California) Military Appreciation Days Make plans to spend Memorial Day weekend at California’s Great America as they kick off the summer season with exciting special events. To honor their guests who serve in the military, all active or retired military members will receive Free Admission to Great America on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. Just show valid ID at the ticket booths to participate in our military salute. Learn more.

Carowinds: (North Carolina) Military Days: May 27-28 and July 2-8, 2018. Join us as we pay tribute to our brave military service men and women by offering FREE park admission to any active, inactive or retired United States Service men and women with a valid military I.D. Learn more!

Schlitterbahn Waterparks (Texas Locations & Kansas) American Heroes Week, May 28 – June 3, 2018! Members of the Military (Active Duty, Retiree, Veteran, Reservist, DOD), Police, Firefighters & EMTs are admitted FREE during this special week to all Schlitterbahn Waterparks as a salute to our troops and public safety officers. Tickets for Spouses and Dependent Children are available for 50% off the gate price. Eligible members of the military, police, firefighters, and EMTs SAVE 20% off room rates including Stay & Play at Schlitterbahn Resort New Braunfels during American Heroes Week.

The Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium: The Bronx Zoo offers year-round discounts to any active duty or reserve members of the U.S. Military when they present a valid military ID at the admissions gate. Discount includes: FREE Total Experience Ticket or General Admission ticket and 50% off discount for up to three family members included on the same admissions transaction. Discounted tickets are available at the admissions booths only, not through our online ticket store. Military discounts are not applicable on Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo.

San Antonio Zoo: This May, the San Antonio Zoo is honoring active duty, retired, veteran members of the military, National Guard and reserves with FREE ADMISSION to the San Antonio Zoo. Plus, up to four (4) immediate family members can receive 50% off standard admission* on date of visit. Learn more!

Michigan’s Adventure: (Michigan) 05/27/18, 05/28/18 Michigan’s Adventure will be celebrating Tribute to the Armed Forces offering Free Admission for military personnel of the Armed Forces, and National Guard and Reserve. In addition, military personnel may purchase up to six additional tickets for immediate family members at $26.00 each at the front gate. Guests will be required to show one active military ID, DD-214, Veteran’s designated driver’s license or Veteran’s Administration Hospital ID to qualify for the discount. Tickets purchased for this event are non-refundable and are valid for admission on one of the listed dates only. Tickets must be purchased at the park on the day of your visit.

The Polynesian Cultural Center (Hawaii): In honor of National Military Appreciation Month, The PCC has several Military Specials extended to the end of June 2018 available only at the MWR/ITT offices. Admission Gateway buffet Show package: $56 Adult, $45 child (regular price $86.95) Admission Alii luau, Show package : $74 Adult, $65 Child (regular price $119.95) 5pm entrance Gateway dinner, show : $43 Adult, $35 Child General Admission only (no dinner or show) $33 Adult, $25 Child (regular price $64.95.

Valleyfair: (Minnesota) Valleyfair is honoring our Hometown Heroes with Military Appreciation Days during the Memorial Weekend (May 26-29) and Fourth of July Weekend (July 1-4) Any member of the armed service, active or veteran, will receive a free regular admission ticket into Valleyfair. Along with free admission, members of the military will be able to purchase discount admission tickets for members of their immediate family (maximum of six) at a special military discount price of $35.00 plus tax per ticket. A valid military ID must be presented at a Valleyfair ticket window to receive this offer. Check back for other special events happening throughout each weekend! Learn more!

Dorney Park: (Pennsylvania) MILITARY DAYS AT DORNEY PARK May 26-28 & July 1-4, 2018 Dorney Park’s Tribute to the Armed Forces program will offer a free regular admission ticket to any active or retired military personnel Memorial Day weekend (May 26-28) and Fourth of July (July 1-4). Military personnel who qualify for the discount include active military, retired military, National Guard, veterans with honorable or medical discharge and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Valid ID should be presented at turnstile for entry into the park. Along with free admission, active and retired members of the military will be able to purchase discount admission tickets for members of their immediate family (maximum of six) at a special military discount price of $29. Purchase at the Dorney Park ticket window by presenting a valid Military ID May 26-28 and July 1-4 or purchase online to take advantage of this offer.

Silverwood Theme Park: (Idaho) American Heroes Weekend! May 26, 27, & 28 2018 – All military personnel, veterans, police officers and firefighters (identification required) Receive FREE admission to the park on these special event days and their immediate family members (spouse and children) also receive a special discounted rate ($24.00 plus tax, ages 8-64, $19.00 plus tax, ages 3-7 and 65+, a savings of up to $14.00!) when purchasing tickets at Silverwood’s front gate! For information call (208) 683-3400. Also, we will have special May rates during May 28th – June 9th. $38.00(ages 8-64) $21.00(ages 3-7 and 65+) or order online and SAVE even more. (Not valid with any other discounts, coupons, promotions or special offers.)

Kings Island: (Ohio) Kings Island is offering Free Admission to active and retired members of the U.S. military during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, May 25-28, 2018. Military who qualify for the free admission ticket include active military, retired military, National Guard, veterans with honorable or medical discharge and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps with government issued ID. A valid military ID must be presented at Kings Island to take advantage of this offer. Qualifying military personnel can also purchase discount tickets at a special price of $34/ticket for up to six family members at the park.

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort: (Florida) U.S. Service Members receive complimentary admission to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort & Water Park. This offer is not available online. To receive these offers please bring a valid military ID to any LEGOLAND Florida Resort ticket window. ON BASE TICKETS: Discounted tickets are available at your Military ITT offices on bases. Check with your local office on base for pricing AT THE GATE TICKETS: Save 10% on 1 and 2 day tickets with valid military ID. LEGOLAND Hotel Military Discounts: Please click HERE to save 10% on your LEGOLAND Hotel reservation. Valid military ID is required at check-in, discount subject to availability.

Birdies For The Brave: a national military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. As a Birdies For The Brave Sponsor, Quicken Loans is proud to support complimentary and discounted Military Ticketing throughout the PGA Tour season.

Mystic Aquarium: (Connecticut) As a thank you United States military personnel for their service to our country, Mystic Aquarium is offering FREE admission for U.S. Military Veterans and Active-Duty Service Members May 26 to 28 with Military ID. Family members with U.S. Military ID receive a discounted admission rate of $20.99 per adult, $15.99 per youth (13-17) and $13.99 per child (3-12) when each person shows their U.S. Military ID.

Minnesota Zoo (June 30-July 8, 2018 Military Appreciation): Military personnel receive free admission, free parking, and half-price admission for family members.

Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin: (Virginia) In recognition of May being Military Appreciation Month, Nauticus will honor members of our armed forces with a special admission rate. All month, active duty, retired and veteran military adults can visit Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin for only $12. A military i.d. is required. No other discounts will apply.

LPGA Kingsmill Championship: (Virginia) May 14-20, 2018, Military Appreciation: Complimentary Single Day Grounds ticket for active duty, retired and reserve Military plus one guest. To reserve tickets and learn more about military appreciation events click here. For additional guest tickets for active duty, retired or reserve military you may purchase discounted tickets. Plus, The Patriots’ Outpost is a special venue dedicated to active duty, retired or reserve military in support of the sacrifices they have made for our freedoms. This skybox is located behind #15 green and features views of championship golf, player appearances and complimentary snacks and beverages.

Virginia Aquarium: Military Appreciation Month. In honor of our military and everything they do for us; the Virginia Aquarium proudly announces the return of Military Appreciation Month in May! Active duty, dependents, and retired military will enjoy 50% off Virginia Aquarium admission each Sunday and Monday in May when they show their valid military ID (active duty, dependent or retiree).

Cinemark Theaters: Catch a movie at Cinemark Theaters. They offer a fantastic..

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These issues aren’t sexy. They aren’t discussed in most places devoted to solving our problems. But these are the things we need a HERO to solve.

Please believe us.

Solve these 5 things and military families will line up to thank you.

1. Childcare

Show up at a new duty station and you are faced with reams of paper to apply for a space at the Child Development Center. We’re not talking moving from an Army post to an Air Force base or from a Navy base to a civilian provider. No, we are even talking from one branch’s post to the same branch’s post. 

Each duty station, a new set of paperwork; often the same that was filled out at the last duty station.

And, after gathering up the necessary documents and papers, you are put in a queue to wait for a space that probably doesn’t exist. Each duty station, you wait and wait for a slot while being told “here is a great job just for you, military spouse.” Too bad you can’t apply.

 Sometimes we feel the need to spell it out: I’m waiting for childcare to even apply because the military is pretty inflexible when it comes to the service members job so I can’t rely on “back-up” from my spouse even for the interview.



No child care. No job.

No way to work out for stress relief because there is no drop-off care at the gym they say you should use. No way for a chance to “regroup” when a spouse is deployed or to go to the meetings where kids are not welcome. 

Child care is not just a “nice to have” in military life it is a “doesn’t anyone see making access to childcare easier or possible is the root of many of our bigger issues?”

2. Resource overload

How many times have we heard it? “We HAVE a website for that!” or “Don’t reinvent the wheel! We already do that!” So the question is: why the heck does NO ONE know what we already have or that we do “that” already. As one Army spouse said, the problem lies in poor modernization and assimilation of information dissemination to the military spouse community.

Truth is, these websites you speak of, we don’t know they exist. And often we are frustrated by their poor design, broken links, and portals to no where. You may have a website for that but no one is using it. The question you should be asking is “why” no one is using these sites versus pointing us back to it or making more resources. We’re not using your resources because there are TOO hard to use and they often don’t work.

3. Wayne

You may have a process you want us to follow but Wayne is standing in the way of it being completed. Wayne is the guy (or gal) who just throws the whole process out the window, creates a new process or adds crazy things to the existing process, who gets mad at you because you aren’t familiar with all of intricacies of said process, and then tells you, no, the phone numbers on the website that you called to double check you had the right paperwork don’t work but you should have called to make sure you had the right paperwork.

It seems the number of Waynes grow by the day.

So when you tell us “there’s a process you need to follow,” you never seem to account for Wayne. Don’t always assume it is us messing up; instead, evaluate what obstacles are in our way to getting the job done.

4. Doing what’s good for the community vs. what’s good for military families

Sometimes we need someone to stand up for us and just say “we’re doing this because it is good for them” and point to military families instead of the local community. We get it. There is a fine line to walk. You need them to support us and we have to support them to make it happen. But way too often it seems the decisions that are being made are made without thinking of first of how it impacts military families and too much weight is given to how a decision impacts the local community.

We need the hero to stand up and say, “Hey, military kids can be on your local sports teams.”

We need a hero to say, “No, we won’t build housing in the middle of nowhere because your constituency wants to make money off of our military families.”

We need a hero to say, “Yes, you need to create a smoother transition for our military kids when they move to your school. And, no, it is not preferential treatment; it’s common decency.”

5. Destroy the mini-states

Each installation operates as a mini-state. The rules vary from installation to installation leaving military families flexing to operate under new processes, rules, and paperwork. Why there isn’t consistency across at least the installations in one branch seems like a question that shouldn’t even need to be asked.

It is a cost saving measure.

A sanity saving idea.

A way to make transitions smoother.

Paperwork should be the same across the branch no matter where you live for childcare services, medical services, housing processes, on-post schools, and more. If you want to have an even more radical idea: let’s walk into the year 2018. Let’s go digital so we when we arrive at a new duty station, Wayne can just open up your “paperwork” from the last one and update your address.

Unfortunately, the unsexy problems don’t get as much press time, but eliminating these massive headaches for our military families could help eliminate the palm to head moments that plague our community every single day. Eliminate the stressors and you open up a world of opportunity for our families.

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At a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing earlier this year, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Robert Wilkie introduced a universal retention policy on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD) and at the behest of Defense Secretary Mattis.

In an attempt to gain control over the “staggering” number of non-deployable service members within its ranks, DoD ordered each military service to implement a “deploy or get out” strategy.

According to Wilkie, somewhere in the ballpark of 286,000 military members are considered non-deployable; meaning 13-14 percent of the Nation’s total force is unable to deploy worldwide for one reason or another. The new policy explicitly states, effective immediately, any service member who is unable to deploy for 12 consecutive months or more will be processed for administrative separation or referred to the disability evaluation system. While each service has until October 1 to begin processing these service members, they can begin this process immediately. They also aren’t required to wait until individual service members have been non-deployable for the full 12 months…they can begin the separation process at their own discretion.

BOTTOM LINE: If your service member falls somewhere in that 13-14 percent of troops that aren’t able to deploy, there’s a target on their back. They either get deployable or get out.

Who The Policy Impacts

You may be wondering what it means to be “non-deployable.” If a service member has a medical condition that may take more than 30 days to heal from or if they are facing legal or disciplinary issues, they would be in a non-deployable status.

Out of the 286,000 service members deemed non-deployable at any given time, around 99,000 are for administrative reasons (such as missing their regular dental exams or their annual physical health assessments), most of which are an easy fix. 20,000 are unable to deploy due to pregnancy or post-partum recovery, however the policy gives these service member’s a pass (as they rightfully should). The remaining 116,000+ are “grounded” due to short or long-term injuries.

On the surface, the purpose of the new policy makes sense.

BOTTOM LINE: It simply isn’t fair for a small percentage of service members to be carrying the largest percentage of the combat burden. This whole policy was designed to maintain war-fighting readiness and a lethal military force. Part of that means we need to give all of those service members who’ve been doing back-to-back deployments for the last 16+ years WAY more dwell time than they’ve been getting. I get it. BUT, maybe this doesn’t need to happen on the backs of the other ill or injured service members who WANT to join their units in combat and feel guilty EVERY SINGLE DAY that they can’t deploy. Maybe we keep faith with those who were injured in training accidents or those whose bodies have been beaten down and aren’t given the opportunity to bounce back just yet.

How Did We Get Here?

Undersecretary Wilkie presented a very interesting analogy when attempting to explain the magnitude of the retention issue to the Senate subcommittee. He stated online retail giant, Amazon, wouldn’t be the largest company in the world if CEO, Jeff Bezos, was told that 13-14 percent of his workforce wasn’t able to perform their duties during the holiday rush.

While we all realize comparing the DoD to an online conglomerate like Amazon is akin to comparing apples with oranges, let’s play along anyway.

The way I see it, if Amazon actually experienced this type of phenomenon within its own workforce, chances are, Mr. Bezos would work tirelessly to figure out WHY it was happening. And…wait for it…he probably would have done something to correct the underlying issue impacting the readiness and efficacy of his workforce.

Wilkie had a few ideas of his own as to why such a large number of service members are non-deployable. His first theory is the number of medical waivers granted during peak war times in support of OIF/OEF efforts. “The medical conditions that those service members had when they received those waivers followed them into the service as they progressed through their careers. We have to address that,” Wilkie said.

So basically, troops who wouldn’t have passed medical muster under normal (i.e. peace time) circumstances are one of the many scapegoats in this scenario. Basically, DoD is saying: “Hey, I know we waived your (insert medical condition here) so you could do our bidding and we accepted you as one of our own, but here’s the thing….we don’t want you anymore. BYE FELICIA.”

Wilkie proposed a few other theories and issues as well, such as inadequate training and fitness programs and “lax leadership” that didn’t follow up with their troop’s medical or dental issues.

But there’s one more potential culprit contributing to this large number of non-deployable service members….Our very own Military Health System.

A Major Disconnect

Defense Secretary Mattis himself admitted that the military’s retention practices mostly can be associated with the medical health of the force.

Now, I think it’s pretty safe to say the vast majority of us have a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) story. We’ve all experienced healthcare access issues at one time or another; not being able to get appointments when needed, waiting months for a specialty appointment, etc. Unfortunately, it’s pretty commonplace in our culture…(bordering on cliché’ to be honest). But we’re not the only ones who experience access issues. Our service members do too. While not all MTF’s are created equal, there’s still a lot of work to be done in our military health system. Either way, our troops also experience significant delays in receiving their own health care.

BOTTOM LINE: If our troops aren’t receiving the care they need…if their physical and mental health needs aren’t being addressed timely and are made to worsen as their care is delayed and delayed and delayed AGAIN…then it’s time to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. It’s time DoD makes sure its own house is in order before allowing a broken health system to dictate who stays and who goes.

The REAL twist to the story is this: DoD says we DO NOT have a ready force (hence this new retention policy), while the Defense Health Agency (DHA) is saying that our force IS within readiness standards!

In fact, in a recent report to Congress on May 9th, the DHA actually reported an INCREASE in medical readiness! According to the report “The overall medical readiness of the total force was at 87 percent…exceeding the strategic goal of 85 percent. Dental readiness, at 96 percent, exceeded the MHS goal of 95 percent.”

Am I missing something? DoD says 116,000 service members ARE NOT medically fit to deploy and are a drain on our country’s military might. DHA says everything’s good to go. How are we to maintain a lethal fighting force when the agencies CHARGED with that maintenance aren’t even on the same page? (See what I’m getting at?)

BOTTOM LINE: If these non-deployable service members aren’t doing their part, then fine…BOOT ‘EM. If they’re just malingering, then fine…start those separation proceedings. But if they’re doing all that they can to become worldwide deployable while our broken health system lets them fall through the cracks? Then the onus is on YOU, DoD, to keep faith with our military members and do YOUR OWN due diligence…and you can start by putting your Military Health System on notice.  

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For many military families, PCS season is an exciting time, an event involving the whole family as they get news of an upcoming assignment and begin researching and looking forward to a new duty station.

But for others, it brings on an anguish of decision making due to a location not being ideal for the entire family, whether it’s because it’s a shorter tour, an overseas assignment that offers little in the way of family support, or various other reasons. This can cause a family to weigh whether or not it’s worth them going along or if they should stay behind while the active duty spouse relocates alone (called geo-baching in military circles, for geographical bachelor).

Our family’s motto was that, after so many deployments, forced time apart due to my husband’s military training and education, and separations for innumerable TDYs (temporary duty), we’d spent enough time involuntarily separated without adding to the time apart by choice. Our priority was to keep our little family unit together when we could. This decision definitely involved some sacrifices, including choosing to homeschool our children to offset the educational strain that came with moving every couple of years or less, especially as my husband’s career ramped up along with more assignments, me staying home with our kids and later continuing my career as a work-at-home mom to provide stability since my husband’s job was so unpredictable and he was away a lot. So while that worked for us, it doesn’t mean it will work for your situation. We’ve all got to figure out what’s best for our individual families.

Why Military Couples Choose to Live Apart

1. Spouse Career/Education Concerns

One of my friends was halfway through nursing school with her husband finishing out what they thought would be another two years in his assignment when he received unexpected orders to move. It made sense for her and their children to stay behind so she could finish out the final year of her program while her husband went ahead of them. I’ve also had friends who were active duty, Guard, or Reservist themselves and simply couldn’t get a new slot at the same base as their active duty spouse and had to wait months to make the move.

Other military spouses have tenure or a senior position in their chosen field, can’t transfer jobs, or want to set themselves up for their own career goals after military retirement. While we hope this won’t be a decision military spouses are forced to keep making and the future will only be brighter for military spouses’ careers, it’s a real thing we continue to face right now.

2. Family Concerns

Some families reach their children’s high school years and decide that, regardless of where the active duty parent will be sent next, the rest of the family will remain in place in order to let their child finish school and not have to face yet another move. (If your child is about to be a senior in high school, you may be eligible to apply for the High School Senior Stabilization Act, which allows families to stay through the end of the school year.)

In some cases, if the assignment for the military member is only for 12 months (such as a school where the family is authorized to come along), families choose to stay behind rather than have to face moving again in a year.

Others have dependents with special medical or educational needs that simply can’t be met at the receiving base. While it’s beyond the scope of this article to go into details about this issue, EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) families in particular tell stories of delays in paperwork that mean they’re not able to complete requirements to move forward with an assignment or being denied a move to certain locations altogether. Military Spouse writer Megan Hammari says, “I have spent the last two years trying to fix the problems to the paperwork so that we might have a chance to be together as a family again.” This doesn’t seem to be a rarity with EFMP families, unfortunately.

It’s important to keep in mind that this scenario is different from a remote assignment in which the military decides the service member will relocate alone to a location that does not offer adequate family support. In that case, service members should be eligible to receive a housing allowance for their dependents’ location. When choosing to geo-bach, the service member usually only receives BAH based on their actual duty location.

There are some exciting new updates via the Military Family Stability Act, which allows a 180-day window for qualifying families to PCS. Waivers also exist for families staying behind due to medical or other reasons which allow for BAH at the more expensive location. Each service branch administers waivers differently, so be sure to check with yours.

3. Concerns About Location

Some locations are more remote with less availability of common resources, even in the U.S. If your own career is highly specialized or your child has an interest or talent that simply can’t be served in a smaller area, it may make sense to stay where you are. Other military spouses are unable to find work at an overseas base–in fact, some overseas bases’ SOFAs (Status of Forces Agreements), like those in Italy, are so prohibitive regarding military spouse employment that it’s nearly impossible for a military spouse to continue a career in such locations, to include work-at-home positions.

While we all hope that will change at some point, for now, we’re forced to work within the confines of the rules. And that means that certain locations are completely impractical for some military families. (Get more information about military spouse employment at Military OneSource).

4. When a Voluntary Separation Works

One plus of a parent geo-baching is that there can be an excitement about the remaining family visiting the new location and living like tourists for a time. One spouse I know lived several hours from her husband over the course of a year while he was at school, making regular weekend trips back and forth. It added an element of fun for the kids to stay in Daddy’s furnished apartment or to plan weekend getaways together.

Considering all the reasons discussed above, it’s understandable why a family would make the choice to temporarily separate for a time.

But let’s have some real talk about this.

With three decades as a military spouse behind me, I’ve observed many scenarios like this play out. As a volunteer for family readiness groups, a mentor for spouses’ courses, and through years of writing for and connections with the military spouse world, countless spouses have reached out to me. I’ve witnessed numerous friends’ families decide to live apart for a time, and see that time stretch out longer than they ever initially intended. And I’m here to tell you that, if there are already cracks in the marriage, the distance doesn’t help. Studies have shown that for each month apart, military couples’ divorce rates increase.

I know I run the risk of sounding overly negative, but I only mention this so that you’ll have your eyes wide open to potential issues. Can it work? Sure. But it seems to work best for couples who already have a solid, healthy relationship, are proactive about putting in the effort long-distance to keep their marriage strong, who plan a regular schedule of seeing each other and practical ways for keeping everyone in touch, with a definite end date in mind for the separation. They understand the costs involved with maintaining two households and have planned their budget accordingly. All keep foremost in their minds that the separation is a temporary one.

5. The Final Goal: Coming Back Together as a Family

Some families may decide that the stress involved is simply not worth it, and decide on an early retirement or separation from active duty. Should that have to happen? Should military moves be so stressful that the family is forced to make a decision to either live apart or leave the military? No, of course not, and we all hope that the powers-that-be will continue to look at ways to make the PCS process more logical and family-friendly. But until that day comes (I’m an eternal optimist!), it’s important to weigh every aspect before making this decision.

Regardless of the reasons for temporarily living apart, the end goal is obviously one of reuniting. Plan ahead for a different type of reintegration–of getting to know each other again after living separate lives. And above all, rest in the knowledge that you did what was best for your family!

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When will it end?

We are reporting yet another in the long line of school shootings. CNN has the live updates here.

CNN reports: “Ten people were killed and several others injured in a shooting Friday morning at a high school in the southeastern Texas city of Santa Fe, a law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity. Gunfire erupted at Santa Fe High School, about 20 miles outside Galveston, not long after classes began around 7:30 a.m. CT, officials said. Authorities later found explosive devices — including pipe bombs and pressure cookers — in and near the school, the law enforcement official said.”

10 people killed.

More injured.

Over 1000 students put in danger.

The shooter, believed to be a former student, has been apprehended.

Trump addressed the shooting Friday from the White House:

“Unfortunately, I have to begin by expressing our sadness and heartbreak over the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas. This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years. Too many decades now. We grieve for the terrible loss of life and send our support to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack.”

See full story as it unfolds here at CNN.com.

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