Military Families – The Common Challenges They Face

The Military and the Challenges That Service Members and Their Families Face


There are millions of military veterans, active-duty service members and their family members in the United States and around the world. No matter where you fit into the mold,  looking for stable housing, trying to raise a family and starting a career are all things military members face. You can learn more about these challenges and what you can do to deal with them below.




Buying a house is usually the biggest issue for a military family. If you are considered active duty, you generally deal with countless relocation assignments. You may constantly have to move to different locations within and outside of the country. Financially, the average family cannot deal with the pressures of renting and buying in countless locations. Doug Norman, the writer of “The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement,” recommends that veterans and service members should rent until they can afford to buy. When you buy, you should research all of your options and military benefits, especially from VA home lenders.


Job Opportunities


Another major issue is the lack of choices given to the spouse of a service member. When you move too much, it may be hard to keep a job. Creating a budget on a single income is one suggestion. If one spouse loses a job, there is at least one income to fall back on. The Military Spouse Advancement

Accounts program is available to help qualified members receive tuition assistance.


Solutions to Help You


There are many challenges that face a military family. Though these issues exist, a number of programs are available to these families, including assistance with buying a home. No matter what your duty is in a military family, know that there are solutions to help you through.


Military families often face similar challenges raising children, focusing on careers, and establishing homes due to the face they are often constantly moving. These challenges can be difficult hurdles for most families to get through. The following infographic presents these common challenges and how military families can cope with them.

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Military Families - The Common Challenges They Face
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What is OPSEC?

I keep hearing people ask about OPSEC so here’s what I know…

OPSEC Rules for (forum, blog, chatroom name):

1. Do NOTpost/discuss exact deployment dates or redeployment dates
2. Do NOT reveal camp locations, including nearby cities. After the deployment is officially announced by Military officials, you may discuss locations that have been released, normally on the Country level.
3. Do NOT post discuss convoy routes “we traveled through O on our way to X”
4. Do NOT post/discuss Detailed information on the mission, capabilities or morale of a unit
5.Do NOT post Specific names or actual nicknames
6.Do NOT post Personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, etc)
7.Do NOT post Details concerning security procedures, response times, tactics
8. Do NOT discuss/post equipment or lack thereof, to include training equipment
9. Do NOT speculate about future operations
10. IF posting pictures, do NOT post anything that could be misconstrued or used for propaganda purposes. A good rule of thumb is to look at your picture without your caption or explanation and consider if it could be recaptioned to reflect poorly on coalition forces. For example, your image might show your Soldier rescuing a child from a blast site, but could be recaptioned to insinuate that the child being captured or harmed. (it’s happened!)
11. AVOID  the use of count-up or countdown tickers for the same reason as rule #1
12. PLEASE be very careful if posting pictures of your loved one. Avoid images that show significant landmarks near their base of operations, and blackout last names and unit affiliations
13. Do NOT ever post information about casualties (coalition or enemy) before the official release of the information.
14. Do NOT pass on rumors “I heard they’re coming home early”, etc

This article was written by guest blogger ~Dawn~ founder & lead MOD of MILITARY FAMILIES MATTER
Join their facebook community:

VA Programs and Resources for Women Veterans

There are far more men than women in the military, yet each year the number of women serving in our Armed Forces grows. In fact, women are the fastest growing group of Veterans. In 2008, 11% of Veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq military operations were women and these numbers are expected to keep rising. As the numbers have increased over the years, so has the need for resources geared specifically towards women veterans who have experienced trauma related to their military service.

Trauma is common in women; five out of ten women experience a traumatic event. And women tend to experience different traumas than men. Women in the military face specific stressors. While not always trained for combat, they are often involved in combat or combat-support missions, experiencing hostile fire and injury. They may feel alone in their units, with few other women for emotional support. It may be hard for women with young children to be deployed for long periods of time. Still yet, another source of stress and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, for women veterans is Military Sexual Trauma.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is the term used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to refer to experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment. This may also include being threatened with negative consequences for refusing to go along with the advances, or promised promotions/advancement or better treatment for going along with it. If the MST is especially traumatic, as in the case of sexual assault, it can lead to PTSD.  The Department of Defense conducted a study of sexual victimization among active duty populations and found rates of sexual harassment to be 78% among women, and attempted or completed sexual assault to be 6%.

In response to the recent increase in women Veterans, the VA has put in place a number of health care and research programs just for women, including the Women Veterans Health Care program.  Every VA Medical Center in the country now has a Women Veterans Program Manager.  This person is there to organize services and resources so that women veterans can get the specific help they need. The following VA programs are devoted to women veterans’ health care:

  • Women’s Stress Disorder Treatment Teams – special outpatient mental health programs. They focus on the treatment of PTSD and other problems related to trauma.
  • Specialized inpatient and residential programs for women – These are live-in programs for women veterans who need more intense treatment and support.
  • Women Veterans Comprehensive Health Centers – Many VA centers throughout the country have complete health centers for women veterans only.
  • Women Veterans Homelessness Programs – These programs can help women veterans find shelter if they are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

For more information on any of these programs, or to find out what programs are available in your area, contact your local VA Center, and speak with your Women Veterans Program Manager.

(Information for this blog post was found on

Wife to an Honorable Soldier

The following essay was submitted by Sara Colqui via our Facebook Essay Challenge where we invited our Facebook Friends to submit a short essay sharing “What is your best experience in (or with) the Military?”

Wife to an Honorable Soldier

My husband joined the Utah National Guard when he was seventeen years old, and is a soldier through and through. I met him when he was twenty-one and was okay with his devotion to the military; actually it was quite attractive to me.  He was deployed to Iraq after we had been married only eight months, and that was the biggest trial of my life. I struggled with feelings of him not loving me anymore, and it took a year after he had been home and a verbal commitment not to re-enlist for me to overcome my issues and have my heart realize he really did love me more than the military.

Once I had overcome my issues from his first deployment, I was a seasoned Army wife (and he did re-enlist). Now leads to my best experience with the military. In 2006, David had the opportunity to volunteer to go to Iraq again. He yearned to go and serve his country, and I was okay with that. Our first son was only seven months old when we decided, together, that he would volunteer to leave to Iraq the following May in 2007.

Over the years, I have grown to love my country. I love the values it was founded upon and I love the freedoms I so naively enjoy. I love that our country has the ability to help those who have lived oppressed lives under a tyrant government. Most of all I love that I can stand beside and behind a truly honorable soldier who wants to fight for our freedoms as well as the freedoms of others.

I don’t feel I could be a soldier, but I know I can be a soldier’s wife! I can be his support when life during war gets dark and grim. I can show my love and support for this country by standing beside and behind my soldier. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to support my husband as he serves as an American Soldier.

Being a wife to an honorable soldier who wants to volunteer for deployment is my best experience with the military.

by Sara Colqui

Christmas Suprise Giveaway

LowVARates is providing up to $250 of Christmas presents for a fortunate military family.  To nominate a family, please submit a 200-word essay to stating why the military family should win the contest.

(Lehi, Utah, Dec. 10, 2009) – Christmas is just around the corner, and the season of giving is sweeping through the nation.  As the famous carol states, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

LowVARates is adding to the Christmas spirit this season by providing a military family with up to $250 of Christmas presents.

Please submit a 200-word essay telling us why the military family should receive the prize.  Essays must be submitted by Dec. 22nd at midnight to enter the contest.  The goal of the giveaway is to help a military family going through tough times receive some good fortune.

According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. military is deployed in over 150 countries with around 25% of its active duty soldiers serving in foreign countries.

President Obama just announced another 30,000 troops are deploying to Afghanistan in the next six months.  Many of the troops will spend Christmas and other holiday’s fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.

The holiday season and particularly Christmas can be a difficult time for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and the families they leave behind.

“Many valiant men and women don’t get to spend Christmas with their loved ones,” Owner of LowVARates Eric Kandell said.  “Hopefully the giveaway can provide a deserving military family a Merry Christmas.”

LowVARates recently provided the Chesney family with a free Thanksgiving Dinner.  The husband Tim is deployed in Iraq and missed his first Thanksgiving with his wife and two daughters.

“The Thanksgiving dinner giveaway was such a great success that we decided we wanted to do another contest for Christmas,” Kandell said.

To enter the contest, please submit the following information to

1) Name

2) Address

3) Contact Information (Phone or Email)

4) 200 Word Essay

5) Name of the family you are entering in the contest

Individuals can nominate their own families or other military families.  We also encourage individuals to submit more than one family.

The family must be associated or enlisted with the military or they will not qualify for the prize.  Once again, all entries must be submitted prior to December 22nd at midnight to enter the contest.



Craig Walton

Director of Public Relations

Office:  801-341-7048

Cell:  801-824-1635

Military Family Honored on Thanksgiving

The Chesney Family, the mother Brandie and two children Ella & Amelia.
The Chesney Family, the mother Brandie and two children Ella & Amelia.

(Layton, Utah, Nov. 30, 2009) – A local Utah military family received a free Thanksgiving dinner at Mimi’s Café on Thanksgiving Day courtesy of The Chesney family has endured various challenges in the past year and deserves Lady Luck to shine upon them.

The family was chosen after submitting a short essay stating why they deserved the free Thanksgiving feast. Tim Chesney, originally from Michigan, is currently deployed in Iraq and will not be able to spend Thanksgiving with his wife Brandie and two twin daughters, Ella and Amelia. “Deployments are hard,” Brandie Chesney said. “It’s always one-day longer that you have not seen your husband, but that also means that it’s one-day closer till you can see him again.”

The Chesney’s moved to Hill AFB in April and Tim was deployed to Iraq shortly after.  Tim is an Airman First Class working in Computer Operations in the 729th ACS Squadron.  He is expected to return home in March 2010, but his squadron currently deploys every other six months. “My family means more to me than anything in this world and I love them more than words could ever explain,” Tim said.  “It’s hard to be away from them during the holiday season.” Tim and Brandie were married in March of 2008 and shortly after Tim began basic training in Texas.

A few months later the couple was assigned to Hill AFB. Military life can provide a large amount of time away from family, but the Chesney’s understand that it’s a major part of enlisting in the military. “The hardest thing about him being gone is just the support he provides for our family,” Brandie said.  “It’s also hard seeing our daughters grow up and learn new things every day and know he can’t be there.” Brandie and her two daughters, fortunately, speak with their Dad through video conferencing on a regular basis.  Every night before Ella and Amelia go to bed, they both kiss a photo of their father and tell him they love him. This is the second consecutive Thanksgiving Tim and Brandie spend apart.  Last year Tim was in basic training the entire holiday season.

However, Brandie and the children still keep a very positive attitude and understand the nature of the military. “Two Thanksgivings in a row is definitely hard,” Brandie said. “But I also feel very honored to have a husband who is willing to be away from his family and home to be in Iraq where he is most needed.” This Thanksgiving Brandie and her two daughters will enjoy a free thanksgiving dinner at Mimi’s Café compliments of

Even though Tim will not be at the dinner, he is grateful his wife and daughters are being cared for. “I know it’s very hard for her taking care of our kids all by herself, especially over the holidays,” Tim Chesney said.  “It makes me feel so much better knowing that she’ll be able to have a nice meal on Thanksgiving.” The family enjoyed the free meal at the Layton Mimi’s Café on Thanksgiving Day.

CONTACT: Craig Walton Director of Public Relations Office:  801-341-2048 Cell:  801-824-1635


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