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A 2015 Military Spouse Festivus: Airing of Grievances

Happy Festivus 2015, military spouses. It’s time for the annual military Airing of Grievances, a fantastic Festivus tradition that allows you to say whatever is on your mind about whatever you want.

Sounds pretty great, right?

Don’t know what Festivus is? Here’s a little tutorial:

Now, when it comes to the military, well, George’s father says it best:

“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people. Now you’re going to hear about it.”

Generally speaking, we like to keep things cheery around here. We report the news. We give you updates about what is happening in the military spouse world. We deliver great tips and tricks for coping with military life.

But today – on Festivus – today we get to air some of our grievances. I asked around the military spouse community to find your top grievances and compiled them into the below.

Let’s get started.

A military airing of grievances

Tricare. We love you. We also hate you. And we don’t understand some of the decisions you make. Hearing aids are covered for the dependents of active duty members, but not the dependents of Tricare Reserve Select users and others. You still only cover cranial helmets after surgery – even though using one could save you from brain surgery. Why? We don’t know.

Military separation boards. Listen. We know you’re downsizing. But the way you are going about this is insane and a great example of what is wrong with the military. Your downsizing process gives too much power to lazy and/or vindictive leaders. Just because one person had it out for someone or failed to do his paperwork properly doesn’t mean that the service member they failed is a bad apple and needs to go. Over the last two years I’ve seen some awesome career troops receive pink slips. And I’ve seen some truly worthless ones get to stay. Step it up, folks.

Congress. You’re still on the naughty list. Why? Because you’re all so very bad at your jobs. Will the military get paid? Will it not? We don’t know, because Congress can’t get its act together. You know what service members love? Feeding their families. They are wild and crazy like that. You know what’s super hard? Taking care of your family if you don’t have a paycheck.

Congress, part two. Many people are OK with the military retirement overhaul you did, and that’s all well and good – but you continue to mess around with pay and benefits. This whole idea of nixing half the BAH of dual-military couples? Giving half of the BAH benefits in the GI Bill the old heave-ho when it’s transferred to the child of the service member? The military earns that stuff, folks. Hands off, please.

Paperwork. I know, I know – much of the active duty paperwork these days is digital. But have you seen the family-related forms? Lord have mercy. Maybe consolidate a few of them. Maybe don't ask the same questions on every single piece of paperwork required for a military move. Maybe step into the 21st century. It’s fun here! We have the internet.

Military cell phones. Listen, I understand security requirements. And I understand why you need some people to carry military-issued phones. But do you have to issue what is the literally the most aged smart phone ever? Blackberry is so 2006. Plus when you give out phones with cracked screens, no one can actually see what they are doing. Please, oh please, give them something that works.

Saying we’re drawing down when we aren’t. The reality is we aren’t really drawing down, and we all know it. We’re “doing more with less” and “relying more heavily on the Guard and Reserve.” That’s not drawing down. That’s cutting your bench while still working just as hard. And it’s a terrible idea – and a terrible way to treat the people you have left after you’ve cut some people and others have decided to get out because you’re being ridiculous. RIDICULOUS.

 

And that is a taste of some of our grievances. What are yours?

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