As hard as it is to admit because I am the spouse of a Special Forces guy (and in our community we are constantly reminded about what to do), I did get lax and it could have cost me my personal safety or worse, the safety of my children. I am personally & professionally well-educated on matters of OPSEC. In fact, I teach others the value of OPSEC at work on a daily basis. I live, eat, and breathe the stuff! So naturally I’m good, right? Not so much… deep down inside I am still a spouse just like any other. I long to share within my community and social media has become my lifeline to family and friends unseen in many years.
You see, it wasn’t a surprise that my service member had to go away for a course he had applied to and been selected for. I was elated for him as this was a great move for his career, but inside I was cringing. Once again I would be left at the helm to keep the home front manned just when I got comfortable with having his help. I was in the last few classes of my Master’s Degree, working a full-time job (as usual), traveling for another job when possible, being an active part of my church, and on top of that raising two kids.
So the ill-fated day my husband left, I took some photos as I normally do. Now, mind you we have been a military family the entire duration of my children’s lives. This was nothing new to them. For some odd reason, this day it just seemed like our world stopped; we simply did not prepare ourselves for his departure. In our defense, this was one of those rare times that he was home for more than a few months, and we totally allowed ourselves to get used to him being a permanent figure at home. As we watched him drive away my children seemed so sad, even the dogs whimpered and sat with them as they waved goodbye. It was a heartbreaking moment; I mean you would have thought we had just sent him off to war again. Anyhow, being the pinnacle of strength and resilience for my children (as all milspouses are), I comforted them and we continued about our day.
A few moments later I decided to post a picture on social media of the kids waving goodbye. I did not reveal information as to why they were waving, I simply stated, “I can’t believe how much this man means to our family.” I figured my profile is private, I’m good. He could be going to the store or something as far as others know. WRONG! What was once a driveway with two parked cars in it had now become a driveway sporting one lonely vehicle.
That very weekend, in my tiny town, in my super quiet neighborhood that is chock full of service members, at my very well-lit and secured home, at night- I believe someone turned my front doorknob to check if my door was open. It is the most distinct of sounds, one we don’t realize we know. Someone was there to come in, had they gotten the chance. The scene as I recall it was chaotic at best, dogs barking about (which is rare for them, they are normally quiet unless instructed to bark or alerting me that the UPS guy is there) kids terrified at the noise, and me thinking “what the…” As a former Military Police Officer myself, I did what was second nature and retrieved my personally owned “safety device” and prepared to defend my home and those in it. My daughter worked up the nerve to look out the peephole, but nothing was there. Just like that, all was calm. Those few minutes felt like an eternity.