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Monday, November 14, 2016

We have a new president-elect. Here are five things the AUSA Family Readiness Directorate wants him to know:

We are proud of our soldier but…

When we married a soldier, we married into a culture that values national service over individual wants and desires. Military families sacrifice in many ways and do so willingly to support our service member and the military community to which he or she belongs. Constant separations, numerous moves, and saying goodbye to family and friends are all part of the deal. But pride will only get you so far. If the lifestyle becomes too unpredictable, too cumbersome or too one-sided, we have other options. We’re educated, we’re smart, we’re adaptable. We can do other things with our lives.

Don’t just use us as photo ops.

Want to get to know us? Find out what we need? Then come talk to us. Don’t just stage a photo op and not stay long enough to find out what’s on our minds. Refer to the work that has been done by the Joining Forces initiative. Keep the momentum going. We’ll help guide you.

We are still at war and the lack of resourcing continues to affect family life.

Remember when we said we are a culture that values service over individual wants and needs? That’s true, but it doesn’t mean we don’t feel the impact of being underfunded and under-resourced. Sequestration causes our soldiers to work longer hours, add additional duties to make up for lower personnel numbers, train without proper equipment, and also affects readiness. When home, our soldier leaves at o-dark-thirty and returns home after children’s bedtime. When deployed we worry that the equipment he or she is using might not be up to par, and when training we hear the frustration in our soldier’s voice that the lack of training dollars is impacting their ability to be ready to fight. END SEQUESTRATION NOW.

Don’t use our military benefits and entitlements to lighten your budget.

As our commander in chief, what you do and say impacts our lives directly. Our soldiers are ready to follow you to the ends of the earth to make our country safe and secure from all who wish to harm us. But we should have a strong sense that you have our backs. We fight for our country; you fight for us. Small cuts to our benefits and entitlements add up.

We love our country and we know you do too.

Put us in a room full of other Americans and you’ll find that we can sing the national anthem louder, stand taller and puff our chests out bigger than anyone else. Being married to a member of the military, serving in our own ways as military family members, are the things that bind and define us. We will make you proud. Make us proud in return.