Thursday, January 9, 2014


I'm a little uhhhhhh about posting this because I feel like a lot of wives are going to disagree and I'm going to get yelled at. But I also think I'm right. So there. If I'm wrong, well thought out arguments are welcome.

Lately I've been reading a lot of posts on the Army Wife 101 FB page concerning getting "chaptered out" - Military for getting discharged from the military before your time- for not meeting health/weight requirements. Out of curiosity I read hundreds of comments, and found the attitudes of the wives were extremely disturbing. It didn't matter if it was their husband or someone else's- what was happening was terrible and horribly wrong.

In lieu of sounding like an asshole:


What partially bothers me are the wives who say that they're husband's are "suddenly" getting booted,  or are upset that this type of thing is happening at all. One wife is half way through their stay in Germany, and her husband was given until mid march to get back into shape. When I saw this post it was the beginning of January, and they had already given up and decided to get chaptered. That was quite the slap in the face. It's an amazing opportunity to live in another country, and also too expensive for the military to just send someone for half the time.

Here's what really happens when you don't make weight:

You get in trouble.
You get a counseling session.
You are given an end date of which you need to be in shape by which is MONTHS later.
In between there are more counseling sessions, check ins, and mandatory physical training.
Doctor visits and prescriptions are pretty much free. If it's medical, there isn't a problem sorting it out.

So to say this is all so sudden and happening too fast to fix is crap.

The other reason this whole thing boggles my mind is that, when you sign up for the military, you sign up knowing that being in shape is part of your job. Just like when I took a job in advertising, I knew even as I got promoted I would continually work insane hours, I would constantly have to perform well under stress, and that if I sucked I wouldn't be employed. As a member of the military to let yourself get out of shape, and to be surprised when you are threatened to be kicked it, is to live in denial.

I can say all this because I've experienced this first hand.

A lot of the wives complain that their husband is "just husky" and it's easy for them to not pass weight. This is true because the doctors take a look at your height on a chart and match it up with whatever weight you should be at. My husband is one of those guys.  When he entered the army, he was at first deemed over weight- ludicrous because his waist was only slightly bigger than mine, he just had a lot of muscle.

What they do next is something called taping. They find out how much body fat you actually have, and finding out he was under 10% body fat, he passed with flying colors and moved on. The moral of the story: even if you don't make weight, nobody is kicked out if their BMI is under 25 (25-29.9 is overweight, 30+ is obese).

After Hub's original test he started flight school. They wake up at ungodly hours of the morning, come home after a 12 hour day, and study more. There were days we barely spoke because he was so busy. The only thing he did besides study and sleep, were the minutes he spoke to me. He didn't worry about working out or eating healthy, just doing well in school. The consequences for his, and many of the guy's actions, were losing muscle, gaining weight, and failing a PT test.

When it happened I was livid. I called my mom and cried. For most of you this seems kind of stupid, but for us, it was a big deal.

For him, if he failed again he was booted from the army. He had mandatory PT in the morning and had to work out on his own at night. During this time, he was out of class and it set him back starting to learn his aircraft.

For me, it was complete betrayal.  I was already having a hard time not just quitting Leo Burnett to be an Army Wife, and giving up my entire career I had worked so hard for. And I worked hard- because in advertising it's not just a job. It's your culture, family, friends, and your life.

While I was working to excel at every aspect of my job in Chicago, he was giving part of his a back seat. I though, why should I give up my dream job for someone who had their dream job and wasn't doing all he could to be the best? It was perhaps a little over dramatic, especially since I know he studied very hard, but I was upset none-the-less.

In the end it only took him three weeks to pass the test. They didn't "just" threaten to kick him out. They gave him 6 months to get into gear, mandatory morning physical fitness, and afternoons off to insure him time to work out a second time on his own. During all this he chucked the beer in the house, and used his free time to go grocery shopping and cook healthy meals.

They gave him, just as they give everybody in the military, and opportunity to fail or succeed. Like any job, task, or dream you have, it all depends on just how bad you want it. And if you don't want it, then see-ya - but please leave quietly and don't complain about the system.

Although I'm not really a patriot, I do support the people of the military. They sacrifice a lot to protect us, but they also are given a lot of amenities most people don't have- free health care, housing, pensions- and there is no reason they should not be held to the same standards at their job that I am at mine.

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