Remote Experience

A remote to Clear Air Station, Alaska gave me new respect for my family and an
understanding of the great sacrifice military members experience. I feel this
assignment gave me an insight into how much I really depend on my families
support and trust in their decisions. I believe to become a successful leader
one needs an understanding of the sacrifices which might be required by our
subordinates, and time away from a loved one is one of our most demanding. A
remote is an assignment to an area with no facilities for family members. It is
at least a year long with an opportunity to take a vacation at the six month
point. One area that took a while to get used to is the attitudes of the various
personnel stationed at the site. Everyone is in a similar situation but each
individual reacts differently to it. Most try to make the best of it, while
others tend to dwell on their loved ones or are bitter about being put in such a
bad situation. This is one assignment where the people you live and work with
have a direct impact on site morale. When I was first notified of this
assignment I thought it would be fun to be able to act like a single
irresponsible and carefree person. I had visions of getting off work and going
out to party, then coming home to my room and watching television until I fell
asleep. This was exactly what it was like, only after a couple of months it was
not fun anymore. I began to miss the company of my wife and children, ironic
since when I was there I kept to myself and tried to find solitude every chance

I got. I made a decision, when I was done with this remote I would change the
way I used to be and spend more time with my family. Chavez 2 At about the
middle point in my tour I realized my wife Teresa deserved more credit than I
gave her. She took care of the children, paid the bills, managed the household,
and never once complained to me about the situation. My oldest son Mark, seven
years old, took on the responsibility of being the man of the house. This really
didn't consist of much, but I think my son felt he needed to show Dad he could
take my place and in the process grew up too fast. To this day he still
disciplines his younger sister for staying out late or talking on the phone too
long. One day my six year old daughter Valerie came down with a fever and a
searing pain in her left side. My wife decided to take her to the emergency
room. The doctor's determined her appendix was close to rupturing and she needed
surgery immediately. Teresa called me from the hospital and explained the
situation. I felt so helpless, all I could do was sit in my small lonely room
thinking about all the possible outcomes. Thank God the surgery was a success,
but it was a couple of days I could have done without. I received a commendation
medal after leaving Alaska, but in my mind the courage and dedication of my wife
and two children deserved the medal; for without their loving support I could
not of given 100 percent to my job. This leads to my belief one does not really
have an idea of the many sacrifices required to go on a remote assignment, but
must experience it firsthand. I saw at least three marriages turn to bitter
divorce as a result of that assignment. Either the military member or spouse
could not spend a year without jealousy, whether warranted or not, finding its
way into an already difficult situation. I am reminded of the night I got off
shift, went to my small cold room and had to listen to at least 8 excruciating
hours of the song "My Achey Breaky [sic] Heart"; because my Chavez 3
neighbors girlfriend had broken up with him and would not accept his phone
calls. In this situation, I had learned by then, it was best to let him blow off
some steam with a little noise. Suicide attempts where fairly common because of
situations like this, but thankfully they are mostly for attention. My
experience taught me much about myself, my family, and military profession. I
regret some of the things I missed while gone, but think