What I wanted to know is what its like be in infantry rolls (11 series, 13 series, 19, or even a combat engineer) when not deployed? I have a family and my wife is worried I will always be away from home and I will never watch my daughter grow up. I wouldnt like that either, but when not deployed are you away from home alot more then other MOS's. I know you have feild training but when people refer to field exercises does that mean being away from home, or is it mostly just during the day and home at night with the exception of away training here and there.
If someone could give me an example of how many time a year (not including deployment) they are away from home that would be great.
Do many infantry soldiers have family's or is it a single man's job.
Please remember I am just a dumb civilian, hoping to get some insight.
I would really appricate any input any of you are willing to give me.
|Highly Experienced Member|
When I was in about half were married with kids. Some have marriage problems because of the hardship (it's not that easy in garrison, IMO).
Yes you spend weeks in the field 24 by 7 away from your family when your in garrison. Your wife gets a second husband and gets married to the Army. She doesn't have to participate but it was kind of expected in the 1980's that the wife participates in some of the family and unit activities (I think they call it FRG now).
The whole point of garrison life is to keep up a minimum stress level and proficiency training so when a overseas assignment comes you are ready.
Can't speak for now but in the 1980's we were in the field every 2-3 months for something or another, durations would vary widely. FTX's lasted about 3 weeks on average and we would be in the field at least once a quarter for 3-4 weeks FTX. The rest of the time was in the barracks or day trips to the field. So back then it was about 3 months out of the year your away from your family while in garrison. 9-10 months your on post and usually able to get home at a reasonable hour.
There are additional stretches of time during field recovery, weapons qualification, etc where the duty day stretches way past dinner.
One thing to also consider, that even if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq end tommorrow, some Army Infantry units will still be doing overseas deployments on occasion. They will be peacetime deployments but they will still ship overseas......thats not going to stop. The frequency will be far less BUT it will still happen.
I had a 1976 Sportster (Harley Davidson) so I got in trouble all the time unless We was in the field where I dug the Army and all we did, it was my life off post that made me and others unhappy ! I was torn between two lifes, both I loved ! Troop/Sc00ter Tramp ????? Pro Patria doughboy
I have recent experience in an active duty Infantry unit. I got out in 2007. I can tell you that as far as we were concerned we did spend weeks out in the field. 2-4 weeks was the norm. However when we got back we usually got a long weekend (3-4 days) and the time off when we weren't in the field was pleanty. I remember thinking it was odd at one point when we didn't get at least a 3 day weekend.
One thing you have to understand is that as an Infantryman your bread and butter is earned in the field. When you aren't in the field you will still work of course, but a good chain of command will try to get you pleanty of time off. Erich is right, this lifestyle can be a strain on some families. Overall though I would say that I was provided with more time off than other types of units such as administrative jobs, cookc, MPs etc.
Our optempo was along the lines of 2-4 weeks in the field, and about a month or two at home (leaning towards two months at home). It wasn't unusual to spend 2 weeks doing combat training in the bush and then not have to go to the field again for two months. Sometimes it would get more hectic though. Especially if we had a deployment coming up.
Many Infantrymen have families. It's not just a single man's job. I have been both married and single as an Infantryman. I much preffered being single because barracks life can be a blast. But having a family is not a big deal.
Married people (Im not) I would imagine have it pretty damn hard.
Look at the way a BCT life cycles work...
15-12 month deployment then 12 months back.
So when you are state side how many of those months are you really "home" with youre kids?
Do the math.
Although I was never deployed as an 11B, there was still PLENTY of field time...most of us actually looked forward to the field because it gave us a chance to do what we were paid to do. Sitting around in garrison cleaning weapons, NVG's, and TA-50 sucks...it really makes for a long day. The field time wasn't exactly awesome or anything, but time did seem to fly when we were out on missions....once I became a Bradley driver everything changed...no more sitting around, but we were in the motor pool from dusk til dark, breaking track, PMCS, etc...I preferred being a grunt to a mounted crewman.
I can tell you that yea you get a lot of time off during garrison myself being an 11b teamleader but you have at least one or two month long off post training events like JRTC in ft polk where you train for the next deployment and you come back get days off for the weekends that you missed you also get two block leave periods usually 15 to 20 days once in the summer and one around xmas unless you deploy around xmas every major holiday is a four day week end and you get a lot of three day weekends field problems come once every quarter lasting about a week some even less and the usual overnight range to qualify your weapon or shoot something after deployments you get mandatory 30 days vacation. myself i am married with a 3 month old son and im gonna miss his one year b day and a lot of other things but those are sacrifises you make for this lifestyle because the army is not a job it a lifestyle and yea your wife ends up being married to the army just like you and shell both love and hate it at the same time but like i said it's part of the life i have seen guys get married and divorced in my 4 years in so far and i have also seen guys that don't have a single problem it's all about how dedicated you are to you family and accepting that both you and your family will have to make sacrifices if your thinking of joining talk to your wife about it research army life this is a good website to do it in and talk to her and show her the pros an cons in the end it will be up to you and how much you are willing to sacrifice for by far one kick ass job
|Highly Experienced Member|
It itches alot. And then later you're really cold.
From Barracks Hoes?
Ever heard of a floor buffer?
Qualified EXPERT buffer, 1962, Ft. Riley.
Did you stay on for 6 seconds?
8 seconds! That was on the upgraded M-5817A4 Buffer with M-6 Recoilless Anti-Whiplash Assembly.
WooHoo Buffer Rodeo!!
ShweeshweeshweeshweeBUMP...ShweeshweeshweeshweeBUMP...ShweeshweeshweeshweeBUMP...ShweeshweeshweeshweeBUMP = the sound made buffing the hall in the Company HQ at Camp Hansen, Okinawa...
|11B and proud of it|
I was in during the '80s.
I think the percent of married people among lower enlisted in my units was much lower than some of the other guys'. That was probably luck of the draw. I don't think it was above 25% if that. I can't remember more than one or two in a squad, actually. I couldn't have been married and in the Infantry at the same time. I honestly don't think I could have done a good job at both.
My first unit had an unusual mission (which doesn't even exist anymore), but we spent a tremendous amount of time away from garrison. We had a real life mission of nuclear security (where we were locked in the site) on top of our full schedule of field duties on top of OPFOR duties. We were almost always somewhere. I never spent more than a week in garrison in that unit. Between our time on site and our time in the field, I spent over 200 days away from garrison one year. I didn't even keep track the next year. I spent both Christmases on site over there. That was an odd unit, though. I also only know of one marriage from my time there that survived it and is still together.
At Fort Carson, we spent a similar amount of time to what Erich described. We did three or four big exercises a year (NTC or at Pinion Canyon) and smaller three or four day times downrange at Carson about once a month. We also went downrange for EIB once a year. That was another week or so. We also had a deployment to Idaho to fight fires for a few weeks.
It's a tough job on a family. Anybody that says it isn't is lying. It can be done, but it's tough.
Well... if you're at Fort Riley today, you're FREEZING!!!
But seriously folks... Our current battle rhythm is to do field training and ranges Tuesday thru Thursday, unless its a major Platoon-level or above training event (e.g. HMMWV Gunnery). In those cases, you train until complete, but there is comp time on the back side.
I expect this to change somewhat after the new year as we really start ramping up for our NTC rotation.
Overall, the married guys have had lots of time with family. For single guys its just more time to be bored.
Oh, and for my fellow "old guys," we only have one buffer in the Battalion, and I think its broke. I can't remember the last time I saw a bucket of wax! Its all sweep and mop these days.
See the logic, Captain?
|"Lord, Beer me strength!"|
Expert floorbuffer, 2004 Ft Benning. Stay out of the KillZone!
Kids in the back seat cause accidents; Accidents in the back seat cause kids.
|"Go tell the Spartans"|
Not to be discouraging but like many others have said here. You'll be training, and training, and training. Once you are done training, you'll then train some more. It's what we do.
Now that I'm not doing it anymore it's easy to say to be thankful for all that training, it will save your ass one day.
It's not all bad though. There is still lots of 4 day weekends, training holidays, and other days off for just about any reason at all. It's a lifestyle, and once you get used to it it's hard to live any other way. After being out for 6 years I still have trouble not being in.
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