HOMECOMING AFTER DEPLOYMENT:
DEALING WITH CHANGES AND EXPECTATIONS
A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet
Ilona Pivar, Ph.D.
With deployment comes change. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with changes can make homecoming more enjoyable and less stressful. Below are some hints you might find helpful.
Expectations for Service members:
- You may miss the excitement of the deployment for a while.
- Some things may have changed while you were gone.
- Face to face communication may be hard at first.
- Sexual closeness may also be awkward at first.
- Children have grown and may be different in many ways.
- Roles may have changed to manage basic household chores.
- Spouses may have become more independent and learned new coping skills.
- Spouses may have new friends and support systems.
- You may have changed in your outlook and priorities in life.
- You may want to talk about what you saw and did. Others may seem not to want to listen.
- Or you may not want to talk about it when others keep asking.
Expectations for Spouses:
- Servicemembers may have changed.
- Servicemembers, used to the open spaces of the field, may feel closed in.
- Servicemembers also may be overwhelmed by noise and confusion of home life.
- Servicemembers may be on a different schedule of sleeping and eating (jet lag).
- Servicemembers may wonder if they still fit into the family.
- Servicemembers may want to take back all the responsibilities they had before they left.
- Servicemembers may feel hurt when young children are slow to hug them.
What Children May Feel:
- Babies less than 1 year old may not know you and may cry when held.
- Toddlers (1-3 years) may hide from you and be slow to come to you.
- Preschoolers (3-5 years) may feel guilty over the separation and be scared.
- School age (6-12 years) may want a lot of your time and attention.
- Teenagers (13-18 years) may be moody and may appear not to care.
- Any age may feel guilty about not living up to your standards.
- Some may fear your return (“Wait until mommy/daddy gets home!”).
- Some may feel torn by loyalties to the spouse who remained.
VA Adjustment and Reintegration Programs
The transition from military to civilian life can be both exciting and challenging. The goal of Vet Success In Transition is to assist Veterans in exploring the options available to them during this particular period of their lives in order to ensure their seamless transition from military to civilian life.
VA Vet Center
180 Otay Lakes Road
Bonita, CA 91902
2790 Truxton Road
San Diego, CA 92106
(877) 927-8387 (Toll-free)
One Civic Center Dr.
San Marcos, CA 92069
(877) 927-8387 (Toll-free)
Provides readjustment counseling and outreach services to Veterans who served in any combat zone. Services are also available for their family members for military-related issues.
Peer-Based Adjustment and Reintegration Programs
American Combat Veterans of War
3508 Seagate Way, Suite 160
Oceanside, CA 92056
Enables combat Veteran volunteers to mentor, coach and assist others in the transition from combat, allowing them and their families to lead productive lives in the wake of combat.
Combat Support – Veterans Village of San Diego
4141 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92110
Support group for military who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families to address concerns and receive assistance related to combat experiences and re-entering family and civilian environments. Meetings are held in various locations throughout San Diego County.
National Veterans Transition Services
4141 Camino Del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108
Assists Veterans in transitioning from military service to civilian life. Services include early-stage cognitive-behavioral educational intervention, developing successful re-entry plans, and helping transfer military training to the labor force.
Our chapters and communities deliver consistent, local opportunities for Veterans and the community to connect through physical and social activity. They host weekly fitness activities, monthly social events, and participate in local races and events together. These programs are at the core of Team RWB’s mission.
4 Wheel to Heal
4 Wheel To Heal (4W2H) is dedicated to taking Wounded Veterans, from all branches of service, to off-roading events. These events involve four wheeling, rock crawling, mud bogging, shooting and camping. Their mission is to boost morale for these Veterans and give them an experience they will never forget.
Wounded Warrior Adjustment and Reintegration Resources
Wounded Warrior Project
2468 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 150
San Diego, CA 92106
Telephone: (619) 981-9642
To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members. To help injured service members aid and assist each other. To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
San Diego Heroes to Hometowns
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Transition assistance program that provides welcome-home celebrations, temporary financial assistance, financial planning, housing assistance, home and vehicle adaptation, government claims assistance, entertainment options, and family support to severely injured service members returning home from OEF/OIF or any daughter or son of a Veteran.
Pugilistic Offensive Warrior Tactics, POW
Gym: (619) 229-2699
Todd Vance: email@example.com
Pugilistic Offensive Warrior Tactics, POW, is a non-profit charitable organization. POW gives Veterans quality physical conditioning while focusing on Veteran specific issues. Working with physical and mental limitations and learning to overcome and adapt to these challenges. To provide Veteran camaraderie and networking, while establishing better health and focus through the short term and long term goals martial arts provides.
Social Networking for Veterans and Transitioning Service Members
Google for Veterans
This site was made by some Veterans, family of Veterans and friends who work at Google. We understand the challenges of serving, coming home and transitioning to civilian life. We’ve been there. Some of us are still figuring it out. Here are some free Google products we’ve gathered together that have made our lives easier. Hopefully, they can do the same for you.
Got Your 6
In order to set up military Veterans for success in civilian life, the Got Your 6 campaign focuses on the six pillars of reintegration: Jobs, Education, Health, Housing, Family & Leadership. Got your 6 seeks to use the tools and reach of the entertainment industry to reintroduce military Veterans and culture to all Americans. The relationships that will be created aid the transition of Veterans, create opportunities for Veterans to take on leadership roles at home and in the workplace, and provide the pathways for Veterans and civilians to reinvigorate our communities together. Elements of the awareness campaign include script integration, creative original content, celebrity endorsements, distribution of Got Your 6 merchandise, Veteran hiring fairs, civilian-military service opportunities, and many additional programs.
Online Transition Planning Resources & Support Networks
Military Transition Center
Online resource bridges the gap from military to the civilian world with personalized checklists to guide a service member through their transition.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
Provides online mutual support networks just for military Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also links Veterans with resources and local events, and advocates for needed support of troops, Veterans and their families.
Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families – San Diego County
The Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families is a one-stop-shop for virtually all services, information, support, advocacy, and much more. This public service is an attempt to bring together critical information for all components of the Veterans’ community, including Veterans, family members, active-duty personnel, reservists, members of the National Guard, employers, service providers, and the community at large.
Veterans of Modern Warfare
Provides online mutual support and advocacy for individuals who served in the Persian Gulf War and the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (from 1990 and onward).
VAntage Point Blog
At VAntage Point, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA employees will provide Veterans with a wealth of information. We will talk about things you might not have been aware of and we’ll break down and explain processes which might have bewildered you. But it doesn’t end there. If you’re a student on the GI Bill, a Vietnam Vet, a VA employee, the spouse of a VA patient, or anything else, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute. We’ve opened the comments section of each of our front-page posts and we have a special section for “Guest Posts” where you can submit your own writing for publication.
Federal Adjustment and Reintegration Resources
Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is a DOD-wide effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle. Through Yellow Ribbon events, service members and loved ones connect with local resources before, during, and after deployments. Reintegration during post-deployment is a critical time for members of the Guard and Reserve, as they often live far from military installations and members of their units. Commanders and leaders play a critical role in assuring that Reserve service members and their families attend Yellow Ribbon events where they can access information on health care, education/training opportunities, financial, and legal benefits. We work in conjunction with federal partners, including the Small Business Administration and Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs, to provide up-to-date and relevant information to the members of the all-volunteer force and their families.
DoDTAP.mil is Department of Defense’s official website providing information for service members on transitioning from military service. This site is also supported by the Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs. DoDTAP.mil is intended to supplement the services offered by the Transition Assistance Offices and other groups.
Career One Stop – Military Transition
Key to Career Success Web site is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor through the CareerOneStop project as part of the department’s assistance to service members, military families, employers and the workforce staff serving them. Much of the content in Key to Career Success is based on U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored resources and has been customized to meet the needs of recently separated military personnel.