US army in battle to cut divorce rate

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Tommy, Dec 31, 2004.

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  1. US army in battle to cut divorce rate
    By Tom Leonard in New York
    (Filed: 31/12/2004)

    The United States army is sending troops returning from Iraq on 'marriage enrichment' seminars and romantic getaways in an effort to stem a rocketing divorce rate.

    Reversing the armed forces' traditional no-nonsense attitude to soldiers' private lives, senior commanders are concerned that marital worries are compounding the stress of troops serving in war zones, often leading to domestic violence.

    Research shows that about 20 per cent of marriages fall apart within two years when one spouse has been sent off to war.

    Four army wives were murdered at Fort Bragg in North Carolina in 2002, allegedly by their husbands.

    A variety of army-funded marriage programmes are being made available, including vouchers for romantic getaways in luxury hotels and courses in forgiveness and communication skills.

    Soldiers who complete a 40-hour course, with lessons on the dangers of alcohol and tobacco and how to recognise post-traumatic stress, are rewarded with a weekend break with their spouses.

    To make the courses more popular, commanders are being encouraged to give soldiers time off and, where necessary, provide babysitting facilities.

    At the 101st Airborne Division, 300 couples have attended marriage enrichment courses.
     
  2. Perhaps they shouldn't be extending 6 month tours to 12 months and 12 month tours to 18 months. 'It's the army or me' - sound familiar anyone?
     
  3. I remember my Garrison Commander telling me 17 years ago that when he was a young officer, they had one year unaccompanied tours but stopped them because the divorce rate rose so dramatically.... and that was in the 1950s!

    Another told me about 4 years ago that his regiment had just returned from yet another tour of the Balkans to start preparing for yet another tour of NI - within 4 weeks of the previous return the Regt had had 53 applications for divorce - including from the CO and the Adjt....

    All very sad.
     
  4. Many people like to use the analogy of the army as a great big family, but we all have to remember that the day you leave, the army says "who"? There's no indispensable man/woman and, at the end of the day, your family has to come first. The army is (albeit a lifestyle) a finite contract, while your family will always be your family (ok - except divorce etc).

    So no matter how much you love the mob, remember that the day you leave they'll not give a hoot about how good you were. One has to question how important a sense of "duty" is, and whether the country ever properly repays that debt of gratitude. An awful lot of ex-soldiers (incl my own now-deceased Dad included) have ended up in broken marriages due to the strain of constant tours and many of them ended destitute. Don't think this busy tour schedule is a new concept - look how many units toured NI back-to-back every year in the early 70's.

    PD