Wheels down, another successful deployment complete! Service members reunite with families and friends to reconnect. Human beings need love and affection, whether from family members, partners, teachers, friends, colleagues, or pets. Military service members and their families are no exception. They need each other and build each other up through the numerous sacrifices they make together for our beloved country.
The love that military men and women share with their families also keeps them motivated to fight. Being a part of the military is not easy; you have to endure painful situations during deployments, along with experiencing loneliness. However, in most cases, there is a family at your home station to return to.
But what about single people who decide to join the military out of love for their country and not just for family security? Although camaraderie and Esprit de Corps are fused in the fabric of all the service branches, there are a few unique challenges that quietly prevent some single military men and women from thriving and fighting heroically.
The Challenges of Being Single in the Service
In this section, we will address the challenges that single military service members face and see whether their hardships resemble those faced by military families.
According to a study published by a student of U.S. Army War College in PA, single military service members are disadvantaged when compared to their married counterparts because they are a minority in the military. Several military programs focus on assisting military families, with little to no focus on single people’s needs.
There are also deficits when it comes to pay, allowance, and inspection policies. Single military service members feel that their married peers are given unfair advantages like extra time off, more permanent duty preferences, and assignment to duty stations with additional facilities.
According to one service member, “While deployed, we operate as a family unit because we are all we have, and our lives depend on our mutual support. When back home, we have family and other activities that pull us in different directions, weakening our bond and support.”
Being single in the service also increases the likelihood of loneliness. Some single members have an established network of peers, colleagues, and family members. However, there is a high chance that some may still find it challenging to cope with dreadful military experiences, injuries, emotional losses, and mental health issues. Being married and having a partner gives you a shoulder to cry on in most cases. Single people rarely have this kind of support.
Loss of Confidence
Loss of confidence is a prevalent issue among single military service members. They believe that they are treated more harshly than their married counterparts, which drives their frustration further. At times, they feel like they are not part of any support network and have no security provided by the service, which can affect their ability to perform.
Struggles of Single Parents
If you are a single parent in the military, raising a child and fighting for the country, you are one true hero. Single parents must endure additional challenges, including being separated from their children when they are transferred or deployed to restricted locations. A large part of their lives is also spent not being able to watch their child grow up. Their 24-hour military duty prevents many of them from being the parent they wish to be. Even with added day-care and support programs, which can have long waiting lists, the struggles of a single military parent can sometimes feel never-ending.
Support Networks for Single Military Service Members
As a single military service member, you must have a support network that helps you feel connected to life when you are back home, help you cope with stress, and help you reintegrate when you return from deployment.
Try to build close, interpersonal relationships with people in your support circle who have similar interests as you based on respect and trust. Having a group of people who value you can create a stronger sense of belonging and reduce stress. Knowing that you have someone to depend on will give you peace of mind and boost your confidence.
We encourage single service members to check their Family Resource Center (FRC) for assistance. Each service branch has programs specifically for Single Service members. The Single Airmen Program, the Single Marine and Sailor Program, and Better Opportunity for Single Service Members program (BOSS) are a few of these programs. Single Service members can also connect with Military One Source for support. The military’s mental health department is standing at the ready to help you as well.
The military is trying to provide essential human services while balancing the needs of all service members. Unfortunately, single service members are less likely to receive the same services or treatment as a family service member. For example, a family service member will most likely have more family-related sensitive needs that the military must consider when assigning the service member to a permanent duty station or a deployment roster. The challenges mentioned above are just a few of the obstacles impacting Single Service Members that may prevent them from thriving. It is clear that the system is not perfect, and steps should be taken to close the existing resource gaps for Single Service Members.
How We Are One! Incorporation, CA., Can Help
We Are One! Incorporation, CA., is committed to helping fill these gaps. We aim to be an additional resource that assists single military family members, as well as military families, facing challenging times. We understand how hard it is to thrive, especially when you are alone, and we wish to be a ray of hope for service members and their families.
This is why we invite everyone to join us today in our mission to help us reach the goals that we have set for the year. Our goal is to collect $3,000 in financial assistance, $4,000 worth of deployment care packages, $3,000 worth of clothing gift certificates, and $3,000 worth of food gift certificates by December 15, 2020, which will be distributed amongst military families, as well as single service members. Our distribution is set to start in August 2020. The theme for our military campaign in August is “Clothing Needs of Military Members,” and we hope that together we can make it a big success like this month’s Food Insecurity campaign.
Please visit our website, weareoneca.org, to learn more and make a donation today!
If you are an individual who can empathize with the pain of military families or a corporate donor wishing to make a difference in the world, come work with us. Your collaboration can help stabilize their lives and ease their hardships.
We sincerely thank you for your support. Your generous gift and support make our work possible to help reduce the financial insecurities facing military families so they may thrive. Not only does your support help our military families thrive, but it also enables service members to focus on the mission of keeping our country safe.