February 1, 2013
The Pentagon's decision to open up combat roles to women was such great news in a number of ways. There's the basic justice of allowing women to get credit for something they are already doing. Lifting the combat ban also means that women now can serve in positions that are generally essential for promotion to the top of the military (who wants a general or admiral who hasn't actually served in combat?). And we got treated to a spate of articles and interviews featuring amazing women soldiers, sailors, and pilots.
The only thing we didn't hear about, or at least I didn't, was the need for army husbands. (I'm not leaving out the other services, but "army wives" is the term often used to describe military wives generally.) Army wives have their own TV show and reality TV show, their own lore, books, and blogs; even their own radio network—all of which are filled with pictures of groups of women. As a society, we understand that our military men could not do what they do without their wives, who must handle the stresses of long deployments, single parenthood, changing plans and locations at the drop of a hat, and the omnipresent fear that their husbands will never come home. Holly Petraeus, daughter of a four-star general and wife of another, moved 23 times over 30 years.
How are women going to be able to make it to the top of the military without an entire new generation of army husbands? Obviously men married to military women are not new, but they are in the decided minority. Consider the following plaintive post from an army husband writing in to a portion of an army website titled "Experiences of Army Wives":
Read more at The Atlantic.
February 1, 2013