1LT Michael Switzer is reunited with family in Baton Rouge after returning home from 9 months in Afghanistan with the 927th Engineer Company, 769th Engineer Battalion, Louisiana Army National Guard. 1LT Switzer is also a part of the Army H.E.A.L.T.H. team.
This Father’s Day we want to honor all of our military dads. Military dads, just like military moms, wear many hats: parent, Soldier, spouse, house handy man, and more. Often, they wear the “long-distance dad” hat. Since 2001, more than 2 million American children have had a parent deployed at least once.
On Father’s Day and many other holidays, countless military families will not have the opportunity to celebrate with their loved ones. Although military dads and their families may not always be physically together at a time like Father’s Day, it’s not surprising that military dads have found their own unique way to stay connected.
They’re Present and Involved (Even while Away)
One thing that separates military dads apart is that they often have to be stationed away from their family for an extended period of time. Many have to miss important milestones and significant events: anniversaries, birthdays, and sometimes even the birth of a child or the death of a loved one. This is a great sacrifice.
Given their time away, military dads are also usually experts at Skype and FaceTime, writing letters, and the art of just having a presence without actually being present. And when they are home, you can usually find them spending time with their family at every school function and military event, cheering on their kids.
They Take Care of Business
Due to the demanding nature of their work, many military dads are not always around when their family needs them. A leaking pipe or an emergency trip to the doctor can be even more difficult to handle when dad is away. Fortunately, most military dads are good at planning things in advance when they know they will be deployed or on temporary duty assignments. They have a plan and they make sure that their family is taken care of when they are away.
Military dads utilize valuable resources, like Military OneSource. These resources offer support and help military families manage their affairs in times of need. Military families also have a strong network of family, friends, and community, which helps families cope with the absent military dad. Knowing their family has the support of family, friends, and the community, can help ease the Soldier’s mind a bit.
Ask any military family and they will probably tell you that one of the hardest things to do is say goodbye when dad is leaving for deployment. As hard as it is on the family staying at home, it is just as hard for dad. Not only is he thinking of all the moments he will miss by leaving his family for such a long time, he is probably also thinking about how to keep himself and his comrades safe while deployed. Military dads are brave because they exude pride, patriotism, and confidence all the while holding the responsibility to their country on their shoulders and in their hearts.
They’re good under Pressure
One of the perks of having all that military training is that military dads are great under pressure. No matter how hectic or stressed things get in life, military dads handle the situation with patience and clarity. No task is too difficult. They always seem to have a solution to the problem at hand, no matter how trivial or significant. Whether using their quick reaction time or their critical thinking skills, military dads are great under pressure.
This Father's Day, pause to remember military fathers near and far, and especially those military dads that are still deployed to distant places either training or fighting to keep us all safe and protecting our country.
If you know a military dad, take a moment to say an extra special "thank you" and “Happy Father’s Day” to him -- even if you have to do it via email or Skype.
--Thank you to all military dads. Happy Father’s Day--