Life in the military is like no other; it is a life of service, sacrifice, love of country, and of putting the country’s needs above one’s own. For those who serve, it is a fulfilling life of challenges.
But those challenges aren’t just faced by the servicemembers. The family members of troops also face challenges of their own. They must function alone when a loved one is on deployment. This may mean giving up a job, frequently moving which entails changing schools for the children, and more.
This is why the month of November is celebrated nationwide as Veterans and Families Month. President Joe Biden signed the proclamation for this year and added his own feelings on the month.
“This month, our Nation honors the strength and sacrifices of the families, caregivers, and survivors of our veterans and our current service members. They may not wear uniforms, but their service is essential to our national security and the character of our Nation. We owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never fully repay,” President Biden said.
“During National Veterans and Military Families Month, we pay homage to the unrelenting bravery and dedication of all who wear the uniform and to the unwavering love and support of all who serve alongside them. Families who put their lives on hold so our military can hold the line represent the best of America, and we will always remember what they do for our Nation,” the president added.
Related: How to keep your military family feeling close during deployment
Support for troops and their families
The Department of Defense recognizes the sacrifices of both service members and families and has a website that offers support for troops serving and going through transition, families, partners, and caregivers.
MilitaryOneSource is a 24/7 website and portal available for troops and families to help them with support wherever needed. There is also a 1-800 number to assist any military family with a myriad of topics.
Military and Family Support Centers: These can be accessed via the web or by phone and offer support. Here are just some of the support topics they offer:
- Deployment Assistance — While service members are deployed, families can access help with the separation, reunion, and reintegration
- Relocation assistance — For families facing a permanent change of station move (PCS), the site offers tips on navigating the factors, including moving costs, housing options, spouse employment opportunities, schools, community orientation, and important information about their new duty location
- Financial assistance — One of the most frequent issues regarding service members, especially younger enlisted troops, are financial woes. Among the help topics are consumer education, budgeting, retirement planning, savings, and investment.
- Spouse education and career services — Transferring to a new duty station frequently result in a loss or changing of a job for military spouses. The site offers career research opportunities, education and training, and more
- Personal and family life education — The site offers assistance for service members seeking college education and degrees, smooth transition for children changing schools, or for spouses seeking education or job opportunities
- Emergency family assistance — All families at times suffer emergencies either at the military installation or back home with extended family members. The assistance offered includes planning for short or long periods of recovery.
The site also offers help with Health and Welfare including physical and mental health care, caregiver assistance, and Wounded Warrior assistance. Recreation, Travel & Shopping benefits include information about leisure and recreational activities on the installation, travel discounts for military members and families including Space-A flights around the U.S. at no cost, and commissary and shopping benefits on the base.
During National Veterans and Families Month, numerous companies are offering substantial discounts for active duty service members, veterans, and family members. A list of just some of those companies can be found here.
For all of our active service members, veterans, and family members, there are many benefits available during the month of November as well as every day. Take advantage of them.
Steve Balestrieri is a proven military analyst. He served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for Sandboxx.com, he has written for 19fortyfive.com and SOFREP.com; he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.
Feature Image: Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steve Knight poses for a group photo with his family after his final flight and retirement ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Boone National Guard Center Feb. 28, 2020. (U S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane)
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