This post is sponsored by Operation in Touch, which includes a fabulous sweepstakes at the bottom! This article details a handful of reasons and insight into our experience as a family with the Army Reserve, so I hope both my pointers as well as the sweepstakes are of interest to you!
Once Jamie made the firm decision that he’d be “dropping his packet” and concluding his time serving active duty, it didn’t take him long to start throwing around the idea of serving with the National Guard or Army Reserve in the future.
Simply put, I was firmly against the idea of him immediately continuing to serve in one of these capacities because I felt like we needed a clean break from the military, at least for a little while. We had done too much time apart, missed out on way too much “life” together, and I simply felt bitter from some of the curveballs thrown our way in recent years. My personality normally doesn’t lend itself to being overly bitter or negative, so these feelings toward the military in general made me want our family to close this chapter for good. This wasn’t my call to make though; It was Jamie’s, so I did my best to really censor what I shared with him while he gathered info and figured out which avenue to take.
Jamie, however, was persistent that the Army Reserve was something he wanted to see through and that it would be a good decision for our family. I knew he had done a tremendous amount of research about what serving in this way would entail, so I followed his lead and gave him my support. His initial commitment would only be three years, so if it turned out not to be a good fit for Jamie and/or our family, he could call it quits at that time.
Though Jamie has only been serving in the Army Reserve for seven months, our experience has been extremely favorable. Though there may be bumps down the road, so far we have been so pleased with how things have shaped up.
Here are five reasons I’m glad my husband joined the Army Reserve.
He still gets to live out his passion for serving our nation.
All he’s ever wanted to do was serve in the Army, and though active duty Army ended up not being the best route long-term for our family, being a Reservist still allows him to wear the uniform he is proud to wear, be around other service members, and fulfill his call to serve.
Our family still receives Tricare benefits.
It’s hard to beat Tricare Prime that offers 100% free healthcare, but Tricare Reserve Select is a pretty great option as well! When compared with the health insurance offered through Jamie’s full-time job, we save thousands of dollars annually by utilizing Tricare Reserve Select. In full transparency, we pay a premium of $220/month + whatever you pay out-of-pocket toward our annual deductibles and catastrophic cap.
He is still able to work toward Army promotions and retirement.
Though his promotions will obviously be much slower, he is still able to work toward promoting to a major in the next couple of years, which is exciting for him. As far as retirement goes, all of his time at West Point plus his time serving active duty is transferred into Reserve points, which will go toward a potential future retirement package.
Here is a throwback picture to Jamie’s last promotion (to CPT) in May 2014 in Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
He is paid for the days he drills.
This financial benefit is pretty great. He is paid a specific amount for each day he drills, which is a nice little “extra” each month. Though going from a full work week right into a full weekend of working with the Reserve, and then right into another full work week is tiring for him, he powers through and keeps the best attitude. He makes me very proud of him for this work ethic.
We can still take advantage of many military discounts that are extended to service members and their families.
Many military discounts we previously took advantage of are still available to use thanks to Jamie’s continued service as a Reservist. One of the biggest perks: We are still able to shop at our local Commissary (on Redstone Arsenal). It’s a quick 20 minute drive from our house, and we head there frequently to stock up whenever we need to do a big trip. You just can’t beat their prices!
On top of shopping at the Commissary, I also like to arm myself with printed coupons from Operation in Touch, a website sponsored by Unilever that’s designed to be a “one stop shop” for exclusive discounts and information pertaining to military families. As an email subscriber, I receive coupons for top Unilever brands strictly for use at the Commissary straight to my inbox (I love that the Commissary carries some of my favorite Unilever brands, such as Dove and Knorr.)
I also receive beauty tips, recipe ideas, and other general announcements about military life happenings and opportunities. It’s awesome; Every military family should be signed up!
This holiday season, Unilever and Operation in Touch have launched their “Make Meals That Do More Sweepstakes” and are giving their members a chance to win a $100 Commissary gift card!
Entering is so, so easy! I did so myself just a few days ago. Simply enter your email and other requested information, write a quick paragraph about why you’re grateful for veterans, and submit! Boom! You’re entered to win one of the $100 gift cards!
Another wonderful reason I highly encourage you to enter this giveaway is because it’s designed to support the Meals on Wheels America program! For every entry, Unilever will donate $1 to the Meals on Wheels program to ensure that veterans are getting their meals and their visits. Yes, yes, yes!
NO PURCH NEC. Open to US citizens, regardless of where they reside, 18+, & active or retired military/their immediate family. Ends 11:59 a.m. ET 12/27/18. Rules: operationintouch.com
Do you have a loved one who has served or is currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves? What was/is his or her experience like?
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to two little girls (ages 5 and 2) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo