chain of command military

Learn From My Mistake: Don’t Contact His Chain of Command

I did it. Okay, I admit it. When my husband was in basic training, I was anxiously awaiting information that was supposed to arrive on when I should pick him up for Exodus.

News flash: I have ZERO patience. And the Army only made it worse, if that’s even possible.

Every day, I went home to check the mail just knowing the paper telling me when I could have my husband for two whole weeks would be there.

But it never was. And every day I got more and more anxious. I needed to plan. I HAD to plan.

So I got the bright idea to email his commander at basic and ask for the information. If I only knew then what I know now.

Luckily, by the grace of God, my husband didn’t find out I had done this until after he graduated.

I was at least smart enough to only use my first name and an email address with no identifiable information….which is probably what saved my husband from being called out in formation.

But it was a mistake. And let me tell you why.

If my husband had a job at a normal civilian employer, I would never dream of calling his boss and asking him what time I could come to pick him up when his Christmas vacation started.

Why would it be any different in the Army? I think the Army makes us misplace our common sense sometimes. And it makes us feel much more involved in his career than we are (or should be).

Now, the commander was very gracious in his reply. But he didn’t have to be. And he wouldn’t have been in the wrong if he hadn’t been. I was wrong for sticking my nose into the middle of my husband’s job.

What I should have done was patiently awaited for the letter (which arrived the following week, by the way) or waited for my husband to relay the information to me. It wasn’t my place to contact his boss and circumvent him on it.

It’s your soldier’s job. Not yours. You really have no place contacting his commander, any more than you would contact his civilian boss.

He should be the one in that communication channel, not you.

Can you relate to my mistake of contacting the commander? Do you agree it’s not your place as the spouse to be involved?

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. I partially agree, except for the fact that the army wants and needs spouses and familys to be intimately involved in soldiers “jobs”. The primary reason is that being a spouse requires living under the same restrictions as the soldier. Move when they tell you to move, live where they tell you to live, seperate when they tell you to seperate. . . ect.

    When you have been assigned OCONUS and dragged away from family and friends all you have is your family unit and the Army. Yes as a member of the army you need to respect that they are slow… at everything. Also you should definately think, would I contact my husbands civillian boss about this?

    You also need to think, how does this situation apply to civillian employment. In your analogy you would be wise not to contact your husbands civilian boss, but your analogy is broken. If your husband were traveling for his company and lost contact with you it would be perfectly acceptable to call his office to find out what was going on. Especially if the office said they’d contact you and they hadn’t.

    Don’t let the army make you feel crazy for being a planner. The fact is that they encourage and ask for the kind of envolvement that you were engaging in, at least on a theoretical level they do. Then they bitch and punish soldiers when families get, “too involved.” So I agree that you shouldn’t contact your husbands chain of command about much of anything, but I believe that this is a shame and that the army would be a better organization if the petty punishment and say one thing do another attitude were removed from it.



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