As with many military families, the primary goal is to provide the support needed to help advance the service member’s career. Our family was no exception. My husband has been in the military for many years. During his service he has deployed multiple times, participated in TDY’s and training, he is decorated and always had perfect reports. His was rewarded with a promotion in the fall. All was looking good for my family’s future. Until several days later, when it all fell apart.
It was a busy day as always with two kids. First, we had to attend a meeting at my daughter’s school then it was time to take the kids to their after-school activities. My husband offered to shuttle the kids to their various activities if I would go home and get dinner started. It sounded like an excellent trade-off to me, so he took both kids and headed out. After dropping them off, he decided to go to the red box, or so he told my daughter and I, but instead drives off to meet with an underage girl, or so he thought, for sex. What he didn’t know was that it was not the girl he thought he had been talking to, but an undercover agent for a military investigation office. He was picked up that night, arrested, and charged the very next day.
Our world fell apart forever. First, my daughter and I had to give statements and were stared down and intimidated by agents. Second, I had to go to federal court to testify and sign a $30,000 bond for my husband’s release. Third, I had to explain to my children why their dad can’t do anything with us anymore and why I have to be there to supervise them at all times if he sees them. Forth, child protective services came to my house to interview my kids and determine whether or not I have been a good parent because of the nature of the charges against my husband. Luckily, they determined they are happy, healthy, beautiful kids. Fifth, the installation commander decided that he didn’t want my husband there anymore so he issued an order to have him kicked off the installation that day. I got my husband an extended stay place but the court didn’t like his living arrangements, because I wasn’t there to watch him, and they issuee a warrant for his second arrest. My son and I pulled into the parking lot where he was staying and watched him be put into the back of the police car. Sixth, the next day I receive an eviction notice from housing saying I have to be gone in less than a month. Seventh, we get paid like normal a few days later, but several days after that, DFAS went into my account without any notification to me or my husband and took all of the pay and BAH back. Lastly, I had no choice but to pack up my kids and move home to live with my parents.
My story sounds unbelievable. I understand because there are times when I don’t believe it has happened either. But I wanted to share it with the military spouse community because my situation has made me realize that all of us need a back-up plan. Look, we always had a good marriage and I never, ever saw this coming from him. From where I stand right now, it seems that we shouldn’t always rely on our husband’s paycheck or that their moral compass will always be pointed in the right direction. I don’t know if my husband went crazy or if he has always been this way and was just a really good actor. I thought I knew my husband, but I was wrong. I don’t think I am the only person this could ever happen to.
The military has not been able or willing to help me and now I am on my own, applying for food stamps, welfare, and anything else I can just to be able to keep my children fed. I wish I would have been better to myself and gotten an education or a good full-time job, but I thought being a good military spouse meant doing any and every thing I could to better HIS career…always putting mine on the back burner. Look where that got me. Now I am struggling to provide for my kids and having to depend on others to help me until I can get back on my feet…which I fully intend to do.
I know that many of you are screaming comments and questions at the computer screen. You want to know if I am hurt and angry. Of course I am…more than I can express. I know many of you are wondering why I ever signed for that $30,000 instead of letting him rot in jail. I can tell you that you just never ever know what you will do in a terrible situation like that. Initially I just felt numb. At the beginning, I barely even shed a tear. I was like a zombie walking around, just going through the motions every day.