May 14 2009
Senator Warner met with spouses of active duty and reserve military officers yesterday to talk about the need for more support for military families while husbands and wives are deployed overseas.
The spouses, whose sacrifices often go unnoticed or underappreciated, told the Senator about how their lives are affected by multiple deployments, frequent moves, and the challenges of "re-entry" back home into normal life after time in a war zone.
The spouses said that there are many organizations and programs that support soldiers, but not many that support the families of the soldiers while they are overseas.
"I'm hopeful that people will hear voices like ours to give us some more predictability or stability," one of the wives said.
Senator Warner said that leaders in Washington need to do more to recognize that military families here at home often have to make significant sacrifices while husbands, wives, fathers and mothers are deployed to active duty.
"There are other things we can do besides the normal political fights for funding programs," Senator Warner said. "There are basic commonsense things that we can encourage our military to better support these families."
For example, the Navy restricts families from relocating until the beginning of the fiscal year each October -- when the school year for most students actually begins in August or September. While this helps the Navy's budget, it is a real inconvenience for military children who often are forced to move after the school year begins.
Senator Warner said he's also encouraged that organizations such as Blue Star Families, a grassroots effort created by military spouses, is working to help other military families get the support they need.