Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Heather Wiegand and over the course of the past year, I have had the pleasure of dating a U.S Marine. On December 31st, he was honorably discharged into civilian life after serving over 4 years in the Corps, including 29 total months on deployments to Iraq. It’s been a battle for him to become acclimated to a life where veterans do not receive the respect they deserve and often his service to this country is overlooked for petty reasons.
My blog idea is to shed light on a veteran’s life post-military that is far from the vision they were given by their recruiter. A life where they’re being denied G.I. Bill benefits, denied a Honorable Discharge with little to no explanation from their C.O., disrespected/harassed/assaulted by anti-war protesters, and unable to achieve a positive quality of life post-discharge because they continue to suffer from post-deployment psychological effects because the VA is underfunding mental health services.
I feel I might expand the topic to not “post-military,” but “post-full time active duty” because there are plenty of veterans serving in reserves. I am also toying with the idea of making this blog a Marine Corps-specific blog considering my experience with USMC. There are websites about “the benefits of military”, and discussion boards about life post-military, but I have hard a hard time finding blogs about the struggles these men and women are going through after they are discharged.
One of my goals I hope to accomplish with this blog is to create a community of veterans, active-duty, military girlfriends, boyfriends, brothers, sisters, parents, friends…anyone who has a veteran they care about in their lives. I see what veterans go through once they leave the military, and I don’t feel they are being treated justly when compared with everything they’ve accomplished for this country.
On Friday, October 2, 2009, a fellow blogger plugged me on her site, Real Life As a Marine Wife.
Tracy Moulton Peterson called me a “like-minded blogger” and summarized my blog’s content as “more no-holds-barred discussion of military quality-of-life issues, from a post-discharge perspective.” This summary captured exactly what I am trying to accomplish and makes me proud that people, if even slowly, are beginning to recognize and promote my mission.
This blog is an experiment for a Writing For New Media college course in Baltimore, Maryland, and I assure my audience this topic was chosen because it is one I am passionate about, and one I have first hand experience living through my relationship with a U.S. Marine. Once a military girlfriend, always a military girlfriend.
To all veterans, living and those who have gone to protect us from above…I salute you.