"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Honoring the Guard

There is a post by an new Army Spouse in Vermont that has the military blogging world turned all upside down. 

I just read it and I have to say I think my skin is smoldering right now with the blood boiling below it. I am sharing the link and I want you to read what she said first and then come back. You can't comment on her blog - and trust me, you will want to - because she has disabled the commenting option but I hope you will here. And I hope you share it and help share a message that our guard families need to hear after hearing the awful one she has to share. 

Now take a deep breath, make sure there are no heavy objects around that you may be tempted to throw at your computer, you may want to wait until small children are napping so that they don't worry about your facial expressions ... take a breath. Ready? Click HERE and then come back!

Update: Her blog has been removed, her soldier was reprimanded, and his unit issued a formal apology. This is a good reminder that what you do and what you say reflects on your spouse. And the rules in the military are very different from the rules in the civilian world. 

I saved what she wrote because I was fairly certain this was going to happen. I am sharing it here because I know that this is how a very, VERY small group of Active Duty Army Wives feel and there needs to be a lesson here. If you think the way this woman thinks, you are wrong. If you think you have some kind of right to belittle another branch or guard unit, you are wrong. If you think, in your wildest dreams, that YOU are somehow better because of the fact that your HUSBAND is an active duty soldier ... (girl, please!) ... You. Are. Wrong.

Here is what she had to say:

Army Wife, Army Life

I want to preface this entire post by saying that this is my blog. The views, thoughts, opinions, and statements are MY OWN. I feel that that gives me the right to express my opinion on whatever matters I see fit, if you don't agree with something that I'm saying, they make a couple handy little buttons. One is a red 'x' in the upper right hand corner, feel free to click it, it won't hurt my feelings. That being said...

Living in Vermont, there isn't a very strong Active Duty Military presence. 90% of the military influence around here comes from the Vermont National Guard. Oftentimes when I explain that my husband is in the Army, people automatically assume he is in the Guard. It's an easy assumption. We don't have an Army base here, we have Camp Johnson, a National Guard base. The Guard ACUs are almost exactly the same as AD Army, and many civilians (and myself) don't understand a lot of the differences in company patches. The Hubs was still assigned here, and we are still going to be sent away from here. If he hadn't been here, I wouldn't have met him. This is where my rant (of sorts) begins.

The Vermont National Guard is just that, they are State Militia. The Hubs is a Regular Army soldier. The National Guard spouses around here like to refer to themselves as 'Army Wives'. They aren't. They are wives of Guardsmen or "Guard Wife". I am the wife of an active duty, federal soldier.  That being said, the Hubs is not a Marine, he is not a Sailor, he is not an Airman. Call a Marine's wife an Army wife and see what happens.  They will correct you as quickly as I will correct you. A dog is not a cat, it'll never meow.

When you try to explain this to a Guard spouse, they get defensive, and often times throw a huge fit.

My husband is a soldier, he got deployed, just like yours!

I agree, your husband got deployed just like mine, but when he came home, he got to go back to a normal civilian life. When my husband got home, he still had to put on his ACUs and go to work, as a soldier.

I agree, your husband got deployed, just like mine, but when he came home, he knew he wouldn't get deployed again for at least another four years, in which time he probably wouldn't have re-upped his contract. When my husband got home, he knew he could turn around and get deployed again. Period.

My husband is a soldier, he has to go to drill!

Yup. One weekend a month, two weeks a year.

I can argue your points all day if you want.

I guess what I'm trying to get at here, is that I would really like people to stop jumping down my throat when I tell them that they are not an Army Wife. I'm not trying to imply that you're any less of a person. I'm not trying to imply that your husband is any less of a man. I applaud him for what he did, if he got deployed, and I respect him for that. I applaud him for the time that he does give up, on his one weekend a month, two weeks a year. I applaud him for going through BT and AIT. He is a member of the Guard, 100%, there is no denying it. He is not a regular army Soldier, you are not an Army wife. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

I'm just trying to point out the blatant differences between a Vermont Guard member, and a United States Soldier.

The second part of my rant is this.

As I said before, Vermont Guard is a State Militia... that still comes with responsibility, in uniform and out. As soon as he opens his mouth about being a part of ANY type of military presence, or dons his uniform, he has to realize that. That's part of what they bash into their heads at BT.

Part of YOUR job as a spouse, is to be a direct reflection of him. That means getting your facts straight, and getting educated. 

- Respect OPSEC and PERSEC when your husband is deployed. I see none of this when a Vermont Guard wife has a deployed husband.

- Respect the higher ranks. When I met my husband's 1SG, I made sure to put my best foot forward. I put on a nice outfit, did my hair, and put makeup on my face. Used manners; ma'am, sir, please, and thank you. I sat quietly and spoke only when addressed. If I had a question, I waited for a break in the conversation, and said 'Excuse me.' It's simple really. I see none of this when Vermont Guard spouses get together for an event with their spouses.

- Respect your husband when he's in uniform. Just because my husband and I aren't on post when he's in his uniform, I keep the 'handling' to a minimum. Technically, you aren't even supposed to hold hands with him when he's in uniform. I keep a hand on the Hub's elbow, or not at all. I don't sit on his lap, I don't make out with him, we hardly kiss for that matter. I see none of this when Vermont Guard spouses are together.

- Respect the uniform itself. Don't put it on and take sexy pictures with it, with boobs/butt falling out all over the place. That's just trashy. A fun picture with his cover on is one thing, flaunting your assests is another.

It burns my biscuits when these spouses, who so loudly (and rudely) insist that they are 'Army wives' can't even handle these simple types of things, that go along with being an actual Army wife. You're just making yourself and your spouse look bad.

I just want to re-state, that I'm not posting this to be disrespectful. My Uncle served in the NH National Guard, and did a tour in Iraq. I'm so proud of him for it! He wore the uniform well, and with pride. He isn't any less of a person because he wasn't active duty for the 4 years that he served. Be proud of your spouses for what they do, no matter if they are a member of the Guard, lawyer, doctor, or burger flipper at McDonald's. Spend less time trying to make yourself into something that you're not, and more time respecting others for what they are. You'll be a lot happier for it, I promise.


How ya doing? Are you breathing? Did you bash in your computer screen? 

Okay? Yes? No?


My name is Megan Williams. I have been married to an active duty soldier for nearly five years [did you think it was longer? ; ) ]. At the age of seventeen he joined the Mississippi National Guard and spent his weekends at Camp Shelby. At the age of twenty-four he became an active-duty soldier.

He has deployed to Baghdad, Iraq and Kandahar, Afghanistan. He will deploy again to ... um ... somewhere ... sometime in the ... um ... future. 

I was born and raised in the incredible suburbs of New Orleans, Louisiana. I lived through Katrina. Humvee's roamed our ruined streets, were patrolled by guardsmen from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. Have you heard the horror stories from New Orleans after Katrina? Can you imagine some of the things they saw?

Anyway, here we go. 

As an American, let me first thank our National Guardsmen for taking an oath not only to defend the Constitution of the United States but to defend the constitution of your state. To not just fall under the command of a President and a nation, but of a Governor and a state. Because unlike the Army Wife who wrote such an awful post, I realize that your oath of enlistment varies in only one thing - you swear to both.

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.

It is the same oath as an ACTIVE-DUTY AMERICAN SOLDIER but with the state and governor added. The very same oath.

And to think that they are not "soldiers" because they are "part-time". Come on, now. Do you really think it is easier to get notice one day that you will leave your civilian world, your civilian job, head over to a war zone, lose buddies (and do not think for a moment that guard units do not lose troops - don't. even. dare.) come back, take off the uniform, put on civilian clothes and return to the civilian world that has little to no understanding of the military sector. Do you really, seriously think that is SIMPLE? Do you really think it is easier to stand up for your nation and simply re-enter into it with next to NO services to help you do so? Easier?

Hell, no!

For the National Guard Wives - you ARMY WIVES - let me apologize for the words this new Army Wife has spoken. Let me assure you that they are no where near the words and thoughts of so many of us. Thank you for giving your husbands. Thank you for allowing them to leave suddenly, for something you may not have planned on. Thank you for making it through, and loving them and supporting them, with little to NO support around you. Thank you for patiently accepting the misunderstanding of a nation - and of ignorant spouses - who do not realize how difficult it is to live the life of a guard family. Thank you for living with dignity and for biting your tongue when you really didn't want to. Thank you for being the bigger person here.

Because she doesn't deserve that.

To serve is to serve. 

To serve it to give selflessly, to live for something greater, to give a life if asked. A terrorist's IED does not distinguish between Guardsmen and Active-Duty; bullets aren't just aimed at the men who are "full-time". That doctor who gives that one-weekend a month, two-weeks a year in your eyes, he may save your Active Duty husband's life some day - when he finishes his recruiting time. And I don't think your husband will give a damn if the patch on his arm belongs to a guard unit. Will you care if you get that phone call that the love of you life has been very-seriously-injured and a surgeon is trying to save his life? Will you ask if he is guard or active duty? Will he be less of a soldier, less of a hero if he is one or the other.


He won't.

How dare you belittle the families of the National Guard! How dare you speak down to them. How dare you disrespect the service of your husband. And by speaking against ANYONE who serves, you dishonor his service.

I hope you understand that in time.

pray you understand in time.

Who serves more, who serves "greater" is not an argument to be had. To argue over whose service matters most is not for an Army wife to begin. It isn't for anyone. 

To leave your family, to miss births, deaths, LIFE, to see men fall in battle, to have to see things most can't imagine ... You do not get to lessen that.

Thank you to our Guardsmen and especially thank you for what may be asked of you in the future - as our active-services are lessened. Thank you in advance for stepping up to fill the gaps. For going when you are asked, whenever and where ever that is. Thank you for choosing to serve. 

As the wife of an Infantryman who has given fourteen years (seven as a national guard soldier), I am forever thankful for your sacrifice and service. Thank you to our National Guard Soldiers and their families!


  1. My Husband Served Part time in the National Guard for 12 yrs, He then Transfered to the Active Duty Reserves For the last 5 years. I don't care what branch of the military you serve or how otfen you are still a US Soldier and should be honored for your service to your Country, I have always said I'm an Army wife. My husbands life is my life and always will be.

    1. Thank you for supporting your soldier and thank him for his service!

    2. Thank you for supporting us Guard families and our well-deserving soldiers. My husband almost died two years ago in Afghanistan and his oath to give his life to his country and his brothers are true. Did his friends that died get valued any less because they were Guard? Heck no!!! As for that ignoramus' original post about the 1 weekend a month, that is wishful thinking. In the past 7 years, I saw my husband 3 out of 7. So much for 1 weekend a month.

      Thank you thank you thank you for posting this!!!

    3. Warriorswife - THANK YOU for commenting and thank your husband for his service and sacrifice from me, please!!

  2. For her first post I'd say she is starting out on the WRONG foot (very wrong). I thought is was sad to see how generally she stated that the National Guard's wives show no respect for their husband's rank or uniform. How can she make such a generalization about that or anything? I enjoyed reading what your wrote on rank and it seemed to me that she is one of the women some of the comments discussed. Maybe you could share your thoughts on the attitudes between wives in the different branches of the military? That woman needs more grace in her life to deal with the few wives she didn't get along with that caused such a bitter post... not a good idea to write such a radical opinion. Praying for her understanding is definitely the only thing we can do! That's one blog I'm not going to be reading :) -Faith

    1. I am sure I could write on that, Faith! I'll start brainstorming!

      I am sure she has suffered from this and I hope she has LEARNED.

  3. Bravo!

    Thank you for your eloquent post. I read the original blog post last night, and quickly became extremely irritated. My husband is in the Air National Guard, so while I am not an "Army wife", I am the proud wife of a Guardsman.

    I am grateful that the majority of AD wives (and Servicemen) do not share that same ignorant attitude towards the Guard. I am grateful that the Command of the soldier in question quickly and publically addressed the situation. Thank you again, for writing this "rebuttal" post. Hopefully the original blogger will have the opportunity to read your post, and possibly learn a thing or two.

    1. I do hope that she can learn from those around her. She is new into this and I am sure that has some to do with it. I hope she comes to understand that EVERYONE who serves has a purpose for the greater good. We all go through deployments, hardships, separations. We ALL are fighting the same battle. I feel for her husband.

  4. As the wife of a soldier that joined Mississippi National Guard and is currently AD, this makes my blood BOIL!
    Every soldier that has served deserves recognition for what they have done for our country. It doesn't matter what branch, how long they served, National Guard, Reserves, and what rank they were/are. A soldier is a soldier. Hands down!!
    This is a wonderful response to a blog that is written ignorantly. Thank you for sharing this with everyone Megan.

    1. Thank you! A Soldier is a Soldier is right! Thank you for commenting!

  5. Amen! You couldn't have said it any better. I clicked on the link to her post, and it said that the blog is no longer available. So, she must have deleted it . . . hopefully. My sister-in-law is in the National Guard, and I get so frustrated when people say they aren't important. She has to leave her husband for 4-7 days a month to go to drill. She's had to be gone for months at a time for training. She's facing a deployment here in the next year. Yes, she's just as much a soldier as any active duty military. I get so angered when there are places who give discounts for active duty military, but they refuse to recognize National Guard as military. Thank you for your response to this girl. I hope and pray that she will learn that military is military. There are no levels.

    1. I am hoping and praying for the same thing! Thanks, Lydia!

  6. To start, my husband is ARNG and the Guard is the best fit for him and our family. He signed as Guard, was never AD but we enjoy the (limited) flexibility of our life while he defends what we believe in... plus he gets to have fun with the big toys (the main thing keeping him in Guard haha! 7 years in, 13 to go!!).
    Now I will admit that I feel incorrect when I refer to myself as "Army Wife" because I do not have the exact same challenges but I find that civilians do not understand the difference between Guard and AD Army or they look at me like "oh, he's just lazy" or whatever kind of belittling emotion they feel that I really don't ever want to see. Whats important that my husband is a soldier and he serves to defend this country in the same way as every other service member, regardless of branch, MOS, or rank.
    The ignorance that she displayed in her post had every Guard family talking (& cursing)about her for her blatant disrespect. I want to thank you for catching our challenges so accurately to portray the ridiculousness of this one "Army wife."
    After first reading her post last night, I'll admit, I was livid, as one would image. However your post reminded me that not all people believe that trash and that we are to be respected like any other military family (and more importantly, respect my SOLDIER) and I really want to thank you for that. Your beautifully written blog helped calmed my fury and even brought up a tear or two (ok, ok, I'll admit... perhaps more than two).
    I wish I could say more than this but,

    From the bottom of my heart, Thank You for standing up for my soldier and my family. It means the world to my soldier and I.

    Note: as of 4 hours ago she had removed all images, removed certain sentences (like the one stating Guardsmen "are not soldiers") and all previous posts leaving nothing but this rant-fest. When you go there now, she has removed her entire blog (thank GOD!). Remember that SHE stated what a military spouse say and do directly reflects on our service member and yet she writes that trash. I feel sorry for her husband whose career as a recruiter may now be jeopardized from her arrogance - even if he at first defended her. I hope she learned an important lesson... you never mess with ANY military spouse ;)
    -Schlenk's Army (Guard) Wife - A title that I hold dear =)

    1. THANK YOU for your incredible comment! I am so very happy that it calmed you. That is one of the things that angered me most - is that some may take her words as the words of every active-duty army wife and they are NOT. I feel horrible for her husband. I read the apology his unit issued. I can only imagine what the two of them are going through right now. I just hope she learns from it.

  7. I appreciate this so much. And "bullets aren't just aimed at the men who are "full-time" " is the best way to put it!

    1. That may be the simplest way to explain it ; )

      Thank you!

  8. First off, I enjoy following your blog Megan. = )My husband and I started dating during a deployment and I wish I had discovered your blog then to help through that time.

    My husband is with the Army National Guard. What I found most insulting in this post was that she's assuming those in the Guard get deployed only once and have no plan of putting in 20 years like the AD soldiers. My husband's ETS date arrived during a deployment. He re-upped for 3 years. He didn't get out of the Guard to avoid future deployments. We were facing the decision to re-up again this year, and he chose to stay in. He took a promotion with another unit that is deploying sooner than we planned. He re-upped fully aware of that. Deployment is inevitable, whether AD or Guard.

    One last thing...my husband is not an active duty soldier. We don't have to move (something for which I am very thankful). I can't begin to understand what other challenges you AD spouses and families face. But we face challenges too.

    Imagine trying to go to school and have it postponed numerous times (Basic, Hurricane Katrina, deployment etc). Imagine finally having your degree and getting a new job and then deploying 3 months in. Legally your employer has to keep your job for you, but it's not always waiting for you when you get home.

    When you are an active duty soldier, your full time job is sending you overseas. Deployment is not conflicting with your full time job because it IS your full time job. When you're in the Guard, your full-time job is ALWAYS interrupted and put on the back-burner. The sacrifice is huge when you are young and trying to get established. Why should someone hire a soldier when he's just going to leave? And then you have all the people who won't take you because you've been deployed and might have PTSD. I'm not trying to make light of those who do suffer in this way, but assuming every soldier has PTSD is absurd.

    Anyway...I hope this makes sense. Life's tough. AD or Guard. Please don't assume one is easier than than other.

    1. THANK YOU for commenting! What you said is EXACTLY what I was trying to say. I hope she learns to understand that we ALL, ALL, face challenges in living a life of service. I hope she hasn't been shunned so much that she doesn't have anyone to guide her.

      Thank you for your service and dedication to your soldier! Please thank him for me!

  9. Megan, you hit the nail on the head with your example of Katrina. I can assure you that anyone from the gulf coast area would disagree with this girl as to the importance of our National Guard. In addition to saving people from rooftops and keeping the violence in check, when we were gutting our house, the National Guard (from all over the country) were our personal heroes. Providing supplies, helping us out, taking time to show compassion toward our situation and just laughing with us. The National Guard will always hold a special place in my heart.

  10. Wow. Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. From one ARNG wife, here's my take:

    I get that if you're used to AD, the NG might seem a bit more... lax. My soldier complains all the time about how about 1/2 of the guys in his unit wouldn't be able to pass a PT test. I get it. And true, "rank" isn't taken as seriously as it might be in an AD unit. They're weekenders. Some have never been deployed. I get it. But that's an issue for the leadership of that particular unit. No one would ever say my NG soldier isn't a soldier through and through. He simply exudes military. We don't have the hardship of moving every 2 years, relocating our families. We don't get deployed (most likely) as often. I get it.

    But don't say they aren't soldiers. And please, don't state that AD has harder because when they return from deployments they have to put the uniform back on. If she thinks it's easy going back to work with people who have NO concept of what you've been doing the past 12-15 months, think again. That is, if you have a civilian job to return to. My soldier's civilian position was vastly different from what it was when he first left -- when he returned, his department had been parceled out to other divisions, his staff reduced and his responsibilities diminished. Welcome home, soldier. You think NGs get the same promotions, pay raises, and bonuses as their peers who worked in the industry and who don't get deployed? Laughable. Last time I checked AD was still advancing in their career during deployments.

    If she thinks the NG doesn't deploy multiple times, she's got another eye opener coming at her. Soldiers from my husband's unit returned last July, and some are already on their way back. The newest kick in the gut? Making NG soldiers take the same schools as AD--with the same timelines of 12 weeks or more. Are you kidding? Who can be away from their regular civilian employment for 12 weeks at a time?

    And don't get me started on support networks for those NG families who don't have a base or an FRG nearby while those deployments happen.

    Still, she's entitled to her opinion. So glad my husband and the countless other men and women --both AD and NG-- who wear the uniform provide her with that right.

  11. The apology (on the unit's facebook page) was taken down. This really bothers me. . .

    1. I don't know how I feel about it either. I am sure they are trying to put it all behind them and move forward. I think it may have been a little too soon but that was a decision for their command.

  12. I ran across your blog somewhat randomly and just want to say THANK YOU for this post! I am not a military spouse, but a former ARNG soldier who served in Florida many years ago. I was lucky enough to not have been activated. And, just as a side note, I don't qualify for many VA benefits because I don't have enough active duty time in my record, although I served my full 6-year term (that's just how the military rolls). Had my small detachment been activated, there was a strong likelihood our members would have been scattered to the winds among different medical units (some serving in field hospitals, others in more permanent structures). So, we wouldn't necessarily be serving with the people we normally worked with. The "Army wife" states that 90% of military in her area are Vermont Nat'l. Guard. So, she's in the 10% minority and she can't just be polite about it? Maybe she should try being another type of minority, a female soldier, and see how that affects her perspective. The military world is a different animal than the civilian world--you may have to do some education for people to gain some understanding. Chances are, you will never be able to fully explain it anyway. It's sad that a lot of people still believe the outdated notion that Guardsmen are the last to be deployed. ARNG soldiers receive the same BT as regular Army--except additional training in riot control. National Guard members know they could be deployed at any time, with little warning. That, in itself, is it's own type of stress. Thank you also, for posting the oath that National Guard members take when they sign on; over the years, I'd forgotten the exact words. I thought for a long time about joining and took my oath seriously; reading those words again still gives me goose bumps.

  13. Thank you Megan! I am married to a 17 year 11B 1SG, every bit of it is with the National Guard. I'm a random babbler so forgive me now. I have shown up to my husbands office (desk in the corner of some windowless room) at the Armory before in me jammies to drop him off a cup of coffee, guess who cared what the 1SG's wife looked like....nobody. My husband wears 26 ribbons on his dress blues,one being the purple heart. (yep guard guys get them too)He earned that on his second deployment, his first he came home to a new baby. Then came deployment #3, his "part time job" didn't care that the courts wouldn't let his son stay with us and forced a teenager to move back to his mothers, oh yea and #3 also came with yet another new baby that his company picked out the name of. Deployment #4 just ended. Those rocks, bricks, tear gas containers, or grenades sure didn't care if he or his fellow men were stationed on a base or in small town USA, he is up now up for a BSMV for dragging several of those "part time" guys to the chopper for evac. Here is another thought to ponder, the current time in my time zone is 0230, why am I reading blogs...because I can't sleep. Why? Because the man I love tosses and turns, talks, yells, and jolts himself awake some nights, tonight is one of those nights. Thank God I am an Army wife and don't require as much sleep as those silly wives of the "part time guys" huh. Oh and my husbands full time job is excavation, this deployment ended in the fall, guess what that means?? He came home 20-35 hour weeks and a seasonal layoff coming soon. Instead of the 24/7 he has worked the past year, or the 70+ hours he works a week in the summer. Speaking of Summer those 2 weeks...yea for the last 3 years it has been 17-27 days, all while he is making "straight time" and loosing all that hard earned overtime he works in the summer. Even as an E8 we loose between $500-1000 when he goes in the summer, yet another sacrifice. (Imagine what that would do to say a PFC). For him Drill starts on Fridays at 1900, how convenient is it that Our Son's football games start at 1900 Friday night as well...usually the same Friday as parent night. Oh and our 3 girls, that he was home to witness the birth of 1, their Dance recital is also on Drill weekend every May without fail. Since I am thinking about school stuff, how many teachers in small town USA understand military kids, make a point to say the pledge every day or understand why your kids are throwing a fit because the flag out front hasn't been lowered yet and it is after dawn? Our FRG??? Yea we have one, the keep us up to date the best they can, but the Armory is 35 minutes away from us, for others it's hours. I am so glad that you posted your thoughts, it is the thoughts of many of us "guard wives". But here is one of the advantages you might have over looked. See my husbands Company is compiled of 160 men, all in different walks of life that for one reason or another can't be or don't want to be full time. However out of those 160 guys we have 160 different civilian skills, and because we are a family, those guys go to great lengths to help each other out. We have photographers,electricians, builders, farmers, excavators, educators,pet groomers, furnace repair guys, computer geeks...and this list goes on. If our company doesn't have what you are needing one of our sister companies probably do. So we don't live close enough to a base to be offered Military Discounts, we have each other, and help each other out. Isn't that what family is all about?


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