Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
When Renee Swift, an Air Force officer, married an active-duty Navy pilot, the couple added to their already-challenging careers a third, seemingly full-time job: coordinating their advancements and deployments around the life and the home they shared. “In our marriage, we have lived apart longer than we have together, because of our military careers’ demands,” Swift says. The near-inevitability of physical separations in the military, through deployments or separate assignments, is so common that those who undertake it are called “geographic bachelors.” For all intents and purposes, they live as though they are unmarried and childless.
After her husband was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 2015, Patricia Ochan set aside her career as a lawyer with a cybersecurity degree to become a full-time caregiver to her husband while raising their young child.
The military is facing a growing recruiting crisis: 71% of Americans between 17 and 24 can’t meet the minimum criteria for service, which places the burden of service on an ever-small and shrinking pool of troops with a family history of joining the military.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a new Task & Purpose column called “Swamp Warfare,” in which thought leaders examine the growing intersection of military, politics, and policy in the United States.