'Army Wives' author reaches out to fellow spouses

By Bob Mathews, DFMWR Marketing Publicity SpecialistAugust 20, 2009

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

<B>FORT STEWART, Ga.</B>-- Tanya Biank, whose book "Army Wives" inspired the No. 1-rated Lifetime TV network show of the same name, will experience the same hurt and pain of separation as other 3rd ID families when the division deploys in less than two months.

Her husband, Lt. Col. Michael A. Marti, the division G2, and her sister, Lt. Col. Maria A. Biank, the division G6, will deploy from Fort Stewart with the division.

Although an officer's wife Biank points out that separation pains are the same for all.

"Whether you are a private's wife or a colonel's wife, it still feels the same to have your husband deploy. You have that same hurt when they are away, when your loved one's away and it harm's way," she said.

Regular back-to-back deployments with varying lengths and currently no end in sight are major issue facing today's military, said Biank.

"It's tough. It's tough enough to go through a 12 or 15-month deployment, but to know that after your spouse comes back, in another year, he might be going back for 12 months or so, that's very tough on families," said Biank.

"It can be tough to be a family during war, because you get married to be together, right' You have a family so you can raise your kids together. And so that's a big challenge.

Biank does believe, however, that after several years of Soldiers' deployments, the military has gotten better about handling the separations, citing the many great programs the Army offers spouses and families.

"There was a time," she said, "when it was confusing because everybody, every agency was doing their own thing to try to help military families, and it was confusing to the spouse to know where to go."

"I think the Army realizes this is an important thing to deal with, because as they say, 'You enlist a soldier, but you re-enlist a family.'"

Biank added that maintaining and retaining the Army's force comes down to spouse and family support.

"Fort Stewart has wonderful quality of life programs for the family," said Biank. "It's a great post for families, and I have been very impressed with that."

Biank and her family, who moved here from Virginia, have been at Fort Stewart for over a year.

"Fort Stewart is its own kind of oasis here. If there isn't something off-post, they have created it here on post and it's a special place. There are so many resources on post, and it's all free," she said.