MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Japan --
Lauren Blond has great advice for any spouse dealing with the separation of a military deployment: Set expectations ahead of time.
“It helps a lot knowing that I will expect to wait two weeks for things to start settling in before we can talk, instead of waiting by the phone or constantly clicking refresh on my email,” said Blond, a Marine spouse and family readiness officer.
Marines and spouses of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (Reinforced) gathered at the Habu Pit club here Jan. 16 to share advice on how to cope with the stresses of a deployment.
Some advice shared that night was how to navigate the financial, legal, emotional and communication issues while separated.
Instructors familiarized the spouses with the different organizations available to help manage the stress during a deployment, such as the Families Over-Coming Under Stress (FOCUS) program, military and family life consultants, military One Source, the DStress Line and the Chaplain Corps.
Families were introduced to the legal officer, who gave advice on powers of attorney, Japan Compulsory Inspections and base housing. They were also presented with information about benefits for families with a deployed Marine, such as the deployed spouses benefits card, which offers many discounts on services and products, as well as free scuba classes.
For spouses on Okinawa, keeping busy helps the months pass faster, and staying in touch with other people in the same situation gives you someone to talk to, according to Lauren, from Atlanta, Georgia.
The same goes for the Marines, according to 1st Lt. Kyle Blond, Lauren’s husband and a maintenance officer with VMM-262 (REIN), which is currently assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as the aviation combat element. Keeping busy makes the deployment easier, whether you are taking care of finances and legal work back home or planning a mission on the deployment.
Spouses understand the important role their Marine performs towards mission accomplishment, and are now better prepared for the upcoming deployment.
“Out here in Okinawa, it feels like we’re with family because it’s a really tight-knit community, and even though he is going to leave and I can’t fly over to family, we still have friends to depend on,” said Lauren. “I’m proud we’re in Okinawa, and I’m proud he is serving and protecting our freedom.”
For more information about services available to spouses on Okinawa, contact your unit’s FRO. The FRO provides a communication and referral network for spouses and communication links for other immediate family members, built on personal relationships based on mutual trust, understanding and a sincere desire to help each other, regardless of rank or time in service.