Partners, Parents + Significant Others
As a partner, parent, or significant other of a service member, you play a key role in supporting your service member. You may be in a committed relationship with the service member, or a dedicated family member or friend who has the service member’s best interest at heart.
As a non-ID holder, you may feel like you are not connected with the military community your service member is a part of, especially if you do not live close to your service member’s installation. There are several things that you can do for yourself to make that connection and to support your service member.
The best way you can connect with your service member’s community is to listen to your service member about what is going on in his or her military life. Have him or her explain acronyms, phrases, or things you do not understand. If you get the chance to visit the installation your service member is a part of, ask him or her to give you a tour. This is a great way to understand how the installation operates and is set up. If you would like to see or participate in certain Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) activities or Family Programs that are available to dependents, have your service member ask his or her commander what programs are open to the public.
Over the past 11 years of war, many family readiness groups have opened up access to information and resources to non-ID carrying family members. This includes partners, parents, or significant others, family members, and friends. Have your service member forward your contact information to their command so that you can receive updates and important information regarding their deployment and readiness events.
Social media can help you stay connected with your service member’s unit. Many installations, units, and family readiness groups have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and even blogs. Updates on Facebook pages and Twitter accounts will inform you about upcoming events and what is going on with a deployment. Even though these online communities might give you a picture about the military lifestyle, for the most accurate information it is best to visit Department of Defense and the seven Uniformed Services official websites. The information on these websites is accessible to the public. For specific information about your service member’s deployment or their military community, make sure that your contact information is forwarded to their unit’s command.
Even though you can build a network of support through your service member’s community, it is also important to build a support network in your local community. Faith-based organizations, school, employment, and community organizations are just a few places to start your own local support network.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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