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|Posted: Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:18 pm Post subject: In the Midst’ helps spouses beat deployment blues
Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force
Story Identification #: 200572691620
Story by Sgt. Tracee L. Jackson
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-- (July 24, 2005) -- Military spouses from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division got together July 23 to celebrate the halfway mark of their husbands’ deployments at an “In the Midst” brief sponsored by Marine Corps Family Team Building.
While enhancing communication skills and life lessons, ‘In the Midst” incorporates friendly competition and new experiences for spouses awaiting their husbands’ safe return.
Gunnery Sgt. Raul A Agosto, family readiness staff non-commissioned officer for 2/8, explained the brief is another avenue to provide complete support to spouses until their husbands come home.
“This is a good source of information for spouses when they’re in the middle of a deployment,” he said. “They have a pre-deployment brief, and a return and reunion brief, but in between there’s a time the wives might start to get a little antsy. When their husband has been gone three to four months, this gives them a little camaraderie.”
Melissa C. Slater, a deployment support specialist with MCFTB, explained the basics of the brief, which is scheduled through the commands of deployed Marines, and how its design is oriented to empower military spouses.
“We want to capture them midway through the journey of that deployment,” she said. “It’s really to enhance and sharpen the tools we have as military spouses. We don’t focus on the deployment or talk about Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever they may be deployed. We talk about things that may have occurred and the way we can get through that.”
The critical things emphasized in brief, such as communication skills, education tools and networking with other wives, are the keys to reducing deployment-related stress, said Slater.
The “In the Midst” workshop, enthusiastically supported by MEF and its subordinate commands, divides its participants into teams and challenges them to complete a series of drills designed to enhance their life skills and morale.
Catherine Bruggeman, also a deployment support specialist, agreed the program is beneficial for spouses.
“Twenty-six years ago, my husband deployed for the first time and I had no choice but to go home,” she said. “Programs like this have made all the difference in the world.”
“In the Midst” is unique to other deployment training because it focuses primarily on the individual military spouses and strengthening them as individuals. After they say goodbye and before they say hello again, they have a wonderful opportunity for self-discovery and improvement.
“I think we need to empower wives to be strong and stand up for themselves and deal with the issues that surround deployment. We need to give them a helping hand if they do have something that does come up. It’s a very trying and stressful time,” said Bruggeman.
Jessica D. Argentina and Hillary J. Rymoss are military spouses who participated in the program, and both enthusiastically recommend the “In the Midst” brief to others who may be in a similar situation.
“It’s great to meet other spouses and to know you’re not alone,” said Rymoss.
“It gets you to start thinking about communication and direction for when they come back as well as throughout the deployment,” said Argentina.
“They need to know they can survive on their own while their husband is deployed,” said Agosto.
“To me, the biggest asset is that my husband doesn’t have to worry about anything at home. If I know he’s not worried about us, I know he’s going to be able to do his job and stay safe,” said Bruggeman.
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