It's Clear From Here | Husband & Wife Journey
I know I have it a lot better than others. I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I have family and I have friends (with too many miles between us). I have a car that allows me to go on adventures, and a camera to document all aspects of my life. But most of all, I have Ronnie. Ronnie and I have what we like to call “Lender Luck.” In other words, it’s really ridiculous, shitty luck. Murphy’s law seems to rule our lives during the times we really need things to go right, and we begin to wonder if those things we hope and long for will ever come our way. We spend days and nights praying for certain things to happen, and we usually end up disappointed – holding one another as we keep fighting on.
Please bear with me as I educate you on our life recently as well as a few Army acronyms. As Ronnie’s three-year contract with the Army is coming to a close, we both decided we needed a few more years to remain stable with military pay, BAH (basic allowance for housing), and not to mention health insurance (something so many people are struggling with right now). We saved a lot while he was deployed to Afghanistan last year and are still trying to get back into the swing of things and create a budget to continue saving even more. Finances were the most difficult thing to become accustomed to when we were newlyweds. So many arguments because we were financially unstable – living beyond our means and learning to have combined bank accounts. It was tough – I won’t even lie. But now we hardly have an argument about anything because we set up a plan before he left and we know we’ll be okay if we get stuck in a difficult situation in the future.
Why am I telling you all of this? I suppose in hindsight we were meant to work together at that moment in our lives – to sit down and discuss how much we were going to start saving. Because things didn’t go as we hoped and we are now having to find a plan B.
Knowing that we wanted to re-enlist, Ronnie decided to make the decision to change his MOS (job title) and switch to something in the medical field. Ultimately, after he finished his second term with the Army, he planned to get his bachelor’s degree in radiology. We figured his military experience in the medical field would help in his transition from military life to full-time student working to get his degree in the medical field. Two weeks ago, he found out there was a slot open for a 68V – a respiratory specialist. Although it wasn’t his first choice, he knew that he wanted to take what he could get considering the medical field in the Army is essentially “full” at all times. The moment a slot is available, it can be taken within a matter of minutes.
So he requested the slot knowing that it might be denied because there was an English class required that he hadn’t yet taken. We were thrilled when we had heard it got approved by the brigade – first in line of many people who were to approve it – we were told that it was good news if it was passed by the brigade so we were very hopeful. For two weeks we waited to hear a response, and we finally got it yesterday. He was told it was denied – and he later found out it wasn’t because of the class he didn’t have but rather the fact that his school start date for 68V had to be at least 30 days before his current unit deploys (regardless of the fact that he wouldn’t even be deploying with them). They land within the same month – therefore denied.
Long story short, because Ronnie was on gate guard all of the last two weeks, he and many others weren't informed that anyone with an ETS date (estimated termination of service) of March 2015 had only two weeks to re-enlist in the same unit or choose a different MOS. All of the time we were waiting to hear back about his requested slot, time was wasting away. He had no time left to wait for another slot to open, and knew for sure he didn't want to continue another three years as a Cav Scout – and came to the tough realization that he was done after this term is over.
We had a bit of a breakdown yesterday and it’s okay because everyone needs those right?! We really, really wanted to stay in for three more years. It was going to help keep us financially stable as well as give us amazing health insurance – and we were even considering starting a family during the end of what would have been his second-term. All of those goals – we became so invested in them. Couples and families devote their lives to the military – it’s honestly insane how many soldiers are denied simple requests because dates don’t land within specific time frames. Because one day makes a difference to them – and in turn it creates the scary unknown fear of the next three years for military families who transition into civilian life. It might be different for others, but from my experience, the majority of the military doesn’t give back to those who give everything up to live this life. Leaders aren’t leaders – and we are just a bunch of pawns in a game of chess.
Every door that’s closed opens a new window, and we have learned overnight that we will be fine – and in time we will know that this was meant for us, eventually turning out better than we could have ever imagined.
It’s been extremely difficult for me to keep my business afloat here. It’s hard to keep a business going anywhere these days, but there are an unbelievable number of people here who claim to have “an expensive camera that takes good photos and will always photograph sessions for free.” I’ve tried very hard not to fall into this state of disappointment towards people like this because I believe they don't know any better – but it doesn’t help me much and hasn’t helped me for a long time. The only reason my business is staying afloat is because of the business I’m getting back home. I broke down at one point last night, not because I was sad, but because I was happy – because for the first time in nearly three years I had the slightest bit of hope in seeing my future and knowing there is a possibility that I don’t have to fly back home 4-5 times a year just to sustain myself and pay my bills.
Our hearts are exhausted of the military life especially after these recent events, and we are ready to leave this “not-so-normal” lifestyle behind. It is not our loss. Together, we’re looking forward to a long-awaited adventure. Thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support throughout these past several years. It has meant the world to us.
Photo by: Christy Tyler Photography