Never Too Old For Deployment


I am too old for this deployment, don’t you think?  I am not old in the rest of my life.  But the world looks at 47-year-old me and wonders why my husband is still deploying– and why I put up with it.

I wonder this, too.  So when Blue Star Families asked me to participate in the deployment project that they are running over the next five months in connection with their E-book Everyone Serves, I was interested.

They have gathered all different kinds of military families to share real life stories of the different stages of deployment and reintegration.  I think we’re supposed to be the old people.  That’s, um, better than the alternative, I guess. So we will share our stories here and link to other Blue Star families for you to enjoy.

So if you don’t already know, I’m Jacey Eckhart.  My Navy husband is currently on his eighth deployment.  He is with an amphibious squadron of ships (the kind that carry the Marines everywhere they need to go). The group started workups in January.  They deployed in March.  The ships are expected home late in the fall.

eckhartYou would think that after 26 years I would be used to this by now.  You would think I would be one of those senior wives who sniff and tell you, “I look forward to having him gone.  I need my alone time.”

I am not one of those women. Those women make me wonder whether their husbands do not change their socks often enough.  Who did they marry that they wish he would leave?

Sure, I know for a fact that having a life of your own is a requirement for military spouses, not an option. But really, folks, my husband is my favorite person in the entire world. That is why I am still waiting for him.

He is the only one who cares about what I did at work today.  He is the only one who thinks our three kids are as smart and funny as I think they are.  I want to hold his hand when we walk the dogs.  I want to bring him cold drinks while he stains my deck.  I want to press my face into his chest and feel all the troubles of the world melt away.   Of course, I want him home. 

First, I have to get through this deployment. I know how to do that. As the Director of Spouse and Family Programs for, it is my job to discover all the skills that get people through all of their different deployments–even the ones that take place late, late in a military career.

By taking part in this Blue Star Families project, I hope to show how the lessons we learn every time we deploy are the things that make us a better couple, a stronger family.

No deployment is easy.  No deployment lasts forever.  And the way through a deployment is never how you expect it to be.  Especially for me.


Follow Blue Star Families on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and build a support network so you can keep your family and personal community strong throughout the duration of the entire deployment life cycle.

I'm blogging about Everyone Serves

About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at
  • Jacey, it’s an honor to stand with you in this deployment series as a fellow mil-wife blogger! :) I’m looking forward to hearing all the wisdom you have to share.

  • Only those in the military can appreciate the added value benefit of people such as Jacey Eckhart. and the support groups, When the Mom or Dad is away on deployment (or sometimes both these days), the military family takes care of their own..always and always will. As an Army brat they did for me.

    Thank You Jacey !

  • Jacey-as someone going through literally the same deployment than you just on the “younger side” I have to tell you this is exactly what I needed to hear today. I had a similar conversation with a friend yesterday and I’m glad to know I’m not alone in actually liking my husband and wanting him home but also living my life and not dwelling on it. The good news is, we are pretty much 1/2 way there!!!

    • jacey_eckhart

      Its good to know we are in this together!

  • sabrinacking

    Jacey….ugh. John is doing this West Point TDY all summer. It’s only four months. I have already been down there, and he has been up here twice….and still daily, if not hourly I am mumbling “I am too old for this”. The thing only we can understand is no matter how many deployments or TDYs…(I mean you’d think after 5 solid years of sandbox deployments and the Korean hell tour I’d be used to this by now)…you NEVER get used to it. As I get older…the HOW to get through a deployment is not my problem….the WHY has been my problem for awhile now. It’s hard to wrap yourself in red, white and blue and trudge on…year after year…..recently I went down to West Point to visit John. Both of us really received a renewed sense of Hoooah just being there. In fact, I think spending the summer there might be the best thing for him, he seems to be healing in ways we had been told not to ever expect. It is difficult not to be skeptical, but if anyone is reading this: old and crotchety like me, 18 years of marriage to it and a decade of war dragging you down…I challenge you to go visit your service academy and fall in stupid love all over again with your patriotism.

  • mel

    We more experienced wives know the myriad of ways to get through a deployment, but I have found that for myself, I am getting tired of getting through the separations. I prefer to be with my husband than without my husband. Even though I am used to separations and I can easily get through the day to day BS, I seem to miss him more than the last time. I have wondered that it may be because the longer I am with him, the more enmeshed he has become in my world. I consider myself independent in many respects and I don’t necessarily need him so that I can function, but I want him with me so that my life is better than what it would be without him. We have been together 27 years and my threshold for how long we can be apart has definitely shortened as time has passed. It took a long time to get to this point of feeling like I’m done, but we’ve got a few more years to go and I’ll keep dealing with whatever comes our way. I’m proud of what he is doing and I appreciate what this life has brought us and I can suck it up for a few more years.

  • Jacey,
    First 3 sentences I utter to myself at least once a week. I’m never felt that way during a deployment before, but I’m sure feeling that way this time.
    Nice article, and I look forward to the series.

  • Diane

    I am with all of you. A military wife veteran of over 36 years and still going. Military wives understand the word commitment for better or worse. We have many qualities that all married couples should embrace. Neither of us stays the same as the wedding day. With each deployment or mission, he comes back a different man to a different wife, yet the love is richer and stronger and melting as one more and more each time. The times together get better after the initial roles meld back together. One difference with the work separations from civilian vs military is that life hangs in the balance. His, hers, friends, foes or bystanders–all are precious and worth it.

  • Mary

    I’m 52 years old and this deployment thing is a first for me. By the time he returns, we will have been apart, longer than we’ve been together. I would appreciate any advice anyone can share about how to get through this, especially such a new relationship. I don’t think I could do this year after year. Thank goodness this will be his last deployment! The only way I know to begin to tackle getting through the next 9 months is 1 day at a time.