Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sole Survivor Policy

I've been getting some comments about brothers serving in a combat zone at the same time, and will try to address that with the limited knowledge I have.

From Wikipedia:

The Sole Survivor Policy describes a set of regulations in the US military that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft or combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service. This does not protect children without siblings—only those who have already had an immediate family member killed in the line of duty. It furthermore does not apply strictly to the sole surviving son, but to all surviving sons. The need for regulations first caught public attention after the Sullivan brothers were all killed when the USS Juneau (CL-52) was sunk during World War II. Since then, each branch of the military has made its own policies with regard to separating immediate family members.

So, yes, the boys can all be there at the same time. They are not in the same units, and add into the mix that Son #2 and #4 are my stepsons, while Young SGT is "my" son. I don't think that matters, but there it is.

VFW Magazine has had several stories like this one about family members serving together.

And there are always the tragic ones, like the story of Michelle Witmer, of the Wisconsin National Guard. Michelle, her twin sister Charity and older sister Rachel were all in Iraq. Michelle was killed in an ambush. Her sisters had the option of returning to their units after her death, or requesting to be reassigned to non-combat units. If I remember correctly, they opted to be reassigned.

One of the biggest traps we fall into is the idea of "fair". If I thought too long about the fairness of three kids overseas, I would make myself crazy. Is it "fair" that they joined the Army and have to go to war? Folks, these are MEN who joined AFTER 9/11. There were no illusions. Is it "fair" that a certain portion of the world's population has just gone bat-shit crazy and wants to kill or subjugate the rest of us? Fair ain't got nothin' to do with it.

It's just hard, sometimes. And I vent. It's said that God doesn't give you more than you can bear, and He apparently has a very high opinion of my burden limit.


At 10/13/2007, Anonymous Bou said...

I think you have some valid points. Yes, they were men that signed up after 9/11.

You know what I wish? I wish that it was still the thing to do to wear a blue star (or son in service) pin that signified how many of your sons were serving during war. They did that during WWII. My great grandmother had one. I want to know who has sons over there... I want to know when I go to the grocery store, when I run into someone pumping gas, when I'm out and about. I want to know, so I can say a silent prayer, and if we start to talk, that I can thank them and ask them about their sons.

But we don't do that and I think its sad.

And I think your step sons are YOUR sons too.

On a side more flippant note, I tell people that if God controlled how much crap we had dished out at us to carry on our shoulders, there would not be insane asylums. ;-) But... in my case... little chocolate doughnuts seem to help. ;-)

At 10/13/2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know...Mama Vi has always said "No, the Lord will NOT give us more than we can handle, but I think he might get the records confused sometimes...."


At 10/14/2007, Anonymous LL said...

I've always understood that the military didn't want the last male in line to go into combat so that the family name doesn't end with him. So if there was a sole male, he would not get drafted or anything of that nature. Nowadays, the military situation is so fluid and I think a lot of the men WANT to serve, regardless of how many are in combat zones.

Either way, you and your family have my admiration for the steadfast duty you give to us and our country. Thank you again, sugar.


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