The men and women that serve in the United States Armed Forces help to protect and defend the rights and freedoms of those who are still at home. They perform an admirable and necessary service for this great country. And there task is not without some sacrifices. The life of military personnel differs from that of ordinary citizens in a number of ways. However, the United States military takes an active interest in trying to assure that military personnel’s daily lives are similar to that of civilians. Today, I would like to convey to you what military life is like for those who live it to help further your understanding of the daily activities of those that serve your country.

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According to GoArmy.com “A soldier’s daily life is not that different from the life you lead now. You’ll still eat the food you normally eat. You’ll sleep in a regular bed. You’ll shop, worship, maintain and live your daily life pretty much as you do now. There are vets to take care of your pets, chapels and religious buildings, grocery stores, dry cleaners, etc” (Army Daily Life, 2014). The website goes to tell us that the names of the store may be different but they are virtually the same as the stores that military personnel frequented in their civilian life. And the housing for military is set up to be as comfortable as possible whether on or off post.

Many of you may not be aware that one of the biggest difference of military life is camaraderie that develops between those in the military, their families and the military community. Military members experience an extensive support system and find that making friends is easier in military communities than the civilian world.

Military soldiers are generally in active duty for two to six years. At some point, military personnel are often deployed in service. When this happens, this can cause the family members that are left behind to feel alone, but that support system that was there before is still there to support the deployed military personnel’s family. In addition, there is a family readiness group to help your communicate with military families and ease the separation. While deployed in service, military personnel perform their specific job functions that they have been trained to do. After six months of deployment, service men and women are entitled to a two-week leave. One reason for this leave is because deployment can be tough on soldiers. A Washington Post report concerning soldiers who have returned home and tried to convert to civilian life, tells us about the recount of a soldier whose platoon in Afghanistan used to shot stray dogs to relieve stress (Saslow, 2014).

Many of you may not be aware that the daily life of women in the military is vastly similar to that of men. A Time Magazine article entitles “Women In combat: Vive a Difference” published in January of 2013, all ground-combat slots are now open to women according to an announcement released by the Pentagon” (Thompson, 2013). Therefore, just as in other areas of employment where women have fought for an achieved equality, the United States military has recently recognized the equality of women in the military, allowing women in the military to now feel as though they are equally welcome and make an equal contribution in service to this country.

The Time magazine article points out the difference in men and women in the military that hampered the view of equality. “Males are more aggressive, which can be beneficial in combat. But that trait also leads to more accidents and injuries, up to and including eye injuries (men in the military have twice as many as women) and suicide (men account for about 95% of military suicides). Women are more nurturing, and their most basic form of nurturing – motherhood – accounts for 58% of hospitalizations among active-duty female troops. But they also crash and kill themselves much less often. Yet even once pregnancy and delivery hospitalizations are removed from the equation, female troops are hospitalized at a rate 30% higher than their male counterparts” (Thompson, 2013).

After a soldier’s term of service, he comes back to civilian life, but many times it is a difficult adjustment. According to a Washington Post report put out in April of this year, 64% of those who served in combat feel disconnected from civilian life. In addition, 56% miss something from their time at war, mainly their fellow soldiers and camaraderie. Moreover, 33% of those who have served in the military think about their service in war every day. The Washington Post report goes on to give this recount: “The only light in the vast Wyoming darkness came from the lit end of another 5:30 a.m. cigarette as Derric Winters waited alone for sunrise on the porch of his trailer.

He never slept well, not anymore, so he smoked and stared across the three miles of barren landscape that separated him from town…It had been five years since he returned from 16 months at war, and some days he still acted like he was back in Afghanistan” (Saslow, 2014). This recount helps us understand that military service is not always easy to endure and can have some lasting effects. However, no matter how tough it got, many former military personnel still miss the camaraderie that they shared with their fellow soldiers.