My husband has had a lot of time in garrison in between deployments. A lot. So much so that I noticed a marked difference in this time versus last time.
Now, some of this can be attributed to being on a different post, in a different branch, in a wholly different type of unit, with a different mix of spouses, etc. But I can't help but wonder whether some of the differences can be attributed to deployment being "old hat" in 2008.
The last time my husband left, it was OIF II. This was before we had any idea there'd be a long-term insurgency; they honestly thought their job there would be something like it is in Kosovo, just simple peace-keeping. Obviously, this didn't turn out to be the case. And while the wives in the unit had done a Kosovo deployment mere months before the Iraq one, they all knew this would be a little different even before it started: longer, harder, and less communication. We spouses clung to each other, because this was the first combat deployment for everyone. We had good FRG participation, we sent birthday packages to our single soldiers, we visited new mothers in the maternity wards, and we saw each other through the deployment.
Fast forward to now, and it's a whole different ballgame. It doesn't feel nearly as intense to me. Shoot, when my husband asked the FRG leader what our meetings would be like, he got told, "Yeah, we don't really do FRG; people don't have time for that kind of thing." The pre-deployment fair was a bunch of people who were just there to check the box. The minute the briefing was over, people shot out the door as fast as they could. The vibe I get from everyone is a been-there-done-that boredom.
I think people are just worn out. Deployment may still be a scary word for kids, but it seems like it's lost its edge for folks who've done this two or three times already. And I can't help but feel a little wistful that my husband's new unit doesn't have any sense of "we're all in this together" among the spouses. It's more of a "yeah yeah, I've done this twice already, thanks but I got it" feeling.
I don't need anyone to hold my hand through the process, and I certainly don't need anyone to help put together a trampoline, but in my opinion it would be nice to have some feeling of camaraderie and teamwork.
But apparently that's sooo 2004.