You might become a bit overwhelmed when your child joins the military. There is a new language to learn, new fears, new pride and so many other unexpected twists and turns. It takes courage to be a soldier, but it also takes courage to be a Blue Star parent!
We live in an information age, and we’re not used to having to think through what we would do in case of emergencies. We know most of our loved ones are just a few button pushes away. This remains true of your soldier in training (and even when he or she deploys), but there are a few things you can do now to proactively tackle what could be a difficult moment.
There are procedures to quickly contact your service member in emergency situations.
Knowing what information you need on hand can help in a family crisis. When we are facing something difficult like a death in the family, we may not remember vital information that makes contacting our soldier easy. Here’s what you need to have on hand:
Know your local American Red Cross chapter contact information. Write this information down, store it in your cell phone and share it with relatives. This is how you will contact your soldier in case of an emergency. Should an emergency arise the American Red Cross (ARC) is more than able to locate your soldier and put you in touch.
Know the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine base where your son or daughter is located. Know his or her rank, and if you have a address be prepared to share that, too. This will help ARC contact your son or daughter more quickly.
Keep a good rapport with your son or daughter’s recruiter. Before your son or daughter ships out make it a point to meet the recruiter face to face, introduce yourself and ask if you can have the appropriate contact information.
Finally use wisdom when going this route. If you are facing the death or serious illness of a close family member it seems pretty obvious that your soldier needs to be informed. Sometimes it’s unclear if the situation rises to the level of an emergency or if it’s probably a distraction.
When in doubt call the friends and family whose opinions your trust.
Just make sure you think about if the situation carefully before contacting your soldier.
Adrienne May is a military spouse. Her husband is an Army soldier and now is serving in the Army National Guard. Together they have three children from preschool to pre-teen. Adrienne has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology & Non-Profit Management, and is actively involved in family readiness and disaster preparedness on the state level. She spends her free time advocating for military family programs, homecoming transition programs and adequate veterans benefits.
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Adrienne May maintains Military Family Central for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. As a mom of three, from toddler to teenager, and wife to a National Guard solider, Adrienne has built up a massive library of resources, tips, articles and contributors for military families of all shapes, sizes and branches!