By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice
May is National Military Appreciation Month. This month is a good time to display your support for active-duty military servicemembers, who perform a difficult job in defending our country and others.
Serving in the military is an honorable commitment to our country. Unless you are an active-duty servicemember, veteran or a family member of a servicemember, you may not fully understand the dedication and commitment it takes to serve in the military.
Military Service Is Tough on Servicemembers and Their Families
For enlisted servicemembers, military service typically begins with attending basic training. Basic training occurs at one of the military branch’s basic training facilities, and this training is physically and psychologically challenging for new recruits.
Military recruits work long days with very limited contact with their family members. For example, the Marine Corps does not permit recruits to call their families during the 13 weeks of basic training, aside from the initial call upon arrival or when recruits are in their final week of training. These phone calls typically last five to 10 minutes.
Once active-duty servicemembers graduate basic training and are assigned to their new units, they have tough work to do as junior members. These new recruits are typically assigned the tasks that senior servicemembers don’t want to do.
In addition, military servicemembers, regardless of rank, are often required to spend a lot of time away from their families. For example, servicemembers could be on a Navy ship away from home for months at a time. They could also be deployed at short notice and be required to serve in another part of the world.
Servicemembers are held to very high standards through discipline, both on and off duty. Servicemembers may be sent to the frontlines of war, and it can be very stressful to serve in the military.
As a result, public support for the military is very important. Military servicemembers serve selflessly and give up a lot of the comforts and freedoms that the average citizen takes for granted.
How to Support Active-Duty Military Servicemembers
Public support is very rewarding for servicemembers because it shows that their service and sacrifices are appreciated by the public. One way that you can display support for military servicemembers is to offer help for military spouses when their loved ones are away from home on deployments. For military families, deployments are especially stressful and challenging, especially when there are children in the family.
Many organizations, such as Project Sanctuary and the Military Spouse Advocacy Network, provide various services for military spouses. You can financially support these organizations or volunteer your time to these organizations.
A second way that you can aid military servicemembers is through volunteering your time to organizations that support the troops. For instance, the United Services Organizations (USO) helps three million servicemembers and their families through 250 USO centers located on military facilities in the United States and around the world.
The USO offers around-the-clock hospitality to traveling military members and their families, worldwide entertainment for deployed servicemembers, and many other services. There are various opportunities to volunteer for the USO.
A third way to display support for servicemembers is to send care packages to active-duty servicemembers. Servicemembers love these packages from someone they don’t know because it shows that people personally appreciate their service enough to send useful items such as:
- Writing materials
- Non-perishable sealed snacks
There are a lot of organizations that citizens can partner with to have care packages sent to deployed servicemembers. For instance, the USO Care Package Program enables care packages to be sent to servicemembers around the world.
During National Military Appreciation Month – or any other time of year – please consider getting involved and display your support for our nation’s military. This support goes a long way toward maintaining the mental and physical well-being of our servicemembers and their families.