Having been deployed three times and getting a divorce because of it really teaches people a lot about themselves.
You can say you are dedicated and can handle it but until it happens it’s only an idea. Life was perfect for me in Southern California and if you told me in March 2005 that in two years I’d be divorced and living in Tajikistan I’d have sent you out for drug testing.
Yet it happened.
She was not a military wife. She thought she was, but she could not handle it. It happens ALL the time. You think you can, but you can’t. She is angry at me for being in the Army, I am mad at her for running off with a mutual friend.
By the way, in the Army we call that guy “Jody.” When we are at war, “Jody” stays home and fools around with your wife or girlfriend. If we stay in long enough we see many Jodys. They are the parasites who take the place of the military service member.
Plenty of folks join at 18 and get out at 38, so when you meet a guy in the military who is over 40 and divorced his head is usually spinning from things going on around him. He may be a reservist, he may have had a bad relationship because of his military status, his finances may be a mess, oh yes, and people half his age and twice as fast as he is may be shooting at him.
While I was deployed and had downtime I was able to sign up on dating sites.
Some were serious like Match, and some were flirty like fubar. I met women who claimed to have been in a marriage where there was no sex, the men never paid then any attention, they were great cooks, and looking for a man who…well let’s face it ladies, men don’t read past the “I need sex” part. If you are cute and want sex we reply.
And therein lies how I lost lots of money sending money for plane tickets, passports, babysitters, etc. The scammers know how to get us, just like they know how to get you. Let’s just hope we all learn from our mistakes.
After a few emails from women who needed sex I learned to ignore them, true or not. Better safe than sorry.
I started to look for people who have a life. They scuba dive, skydive, fly, write, or even if you just plant flowers and raise a cockatoo that’s fine. In other words, be a person of substance and have your own experiences to bring to the table. You do not have to have a resume a mile long or anything like that, just tell us what you are like.
Maybe you hate peanuts on your ice cream sundae. Or you think coconut is shredded cardboard. Or you are afraid of heights. Or prefer dogs to cats. You collect coins, hate mornings, need one shower a day, and drive an import.
All that is personal detail that is about the person. That little bit was about me. There is really nothing in there about what you want in another, it is just who you are. That is the information that grounds a person’s description. That is much more than just being in the military.
So when you ask about us, we are really eager to share info about us!
We will tell you about the countryside here, the people, where we trained, how we got here, what the food is like, what we do for the holidays, where we want to go on leave, where we have gone, where we have been stationed before, when we joined, why we joined, what our family thought of us joining, what our life goal is, do we want or have kids, what they like, why they make us laugh, what we miss most about home, what we miss least about home.
Now all that information will paint a picture for you. Do you like what you see? Respond in kind. Does he like you? Good, now you can move on to Phase 2 and ask question you don’t want your mother to know you have asked. In all this, the best advice I can give is to never settle. Mr. Right is better than Mr. Right Now. Because when you meet Mr. Right you will feel imprisoned by your previous brash decisions.
Now let’s look at the scammers.
Drama! Their wife died and a relative in a far off country is watching their child. Check for dead people at http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi . In reality if something major happens like that while in service we get home for leave. If no one can take the child a compassionate discharge is not out of the question. But sending a kid to Nigeria? Hold the phone please.
They are in the Army? Prove it. Can you show me your CAC card? Tell me your unit? Show me the orders deploying you? Tell me your MOS? DOR? BEPD? GT score? They should be able to rattle off that information easier than counting to ten. And NONE of that is classified.
In the past I have researched claims of military membership for folks. We all have access to what is like military White pages. Anyone in the military can do this, so you can call a recruiter or anyone you know in the military. Now there may be suppressed members like if you are in Delta Force, but they’d not be whining that they need cash to anyone.
Oh, the scammers so need money. They need cash for a satphone yet they are online, which means Skype to the US is free. Or they can get a Google phone number for free. When I was deployed I indeed needed debts paid, so I had a friend write checks that I had pre-signed for me. Easy enough. It’s no different than if you were out of town for a month and had to have another person help you. Before we deploy our money goes into a stateside bank, and if there is an issue (and there can be, I had one) the finance office will fix it in a few days.
We do not pay for leave or to retire early. DA31 is the Army leave form, you can find the others. I only need permission from my chain of command for leave and travel is usually free from where I am to the states.
Or they need money to build an orphanage or buy stuff for kids or pay a bill back home. And of course only YOU can save the day.
Be alert. If I have money issues I am not going to be looking into dating sites at that time. I will be offline until I get my ducks in a row. Wouldn’t you? And if I needed cash I would not ask anyone to send it to someone in Canada, Idaho or Nigeria.
If I truly desperately needed cash I’d ask for a deposit to a stateside bank. Go to Wells Fargo and deposit money to account 1234. From there it is all electronic. While deployed I needed money transferred from one bank to another and had a friend physically go to the bank and move money, but it never involved Western Union or Moneygram an definitely not a third party. And the whole time it was my money, not yours.
Want to send me something that makes me smile? Get me a newspaper from my hometown. Send me a CD of a recording off of the local radio station, complete with commercials. Send me a magazine about a hobby I like that is from this month. Send me pictures of happy American life that I am fighting for. Send me a picture of you sitting at the computer looking at my web page or our emails. Hand write a letter.
There are exceptions to every rule.
I have lived in a hotel while deployed, even had a rental car. I wore civilian clothes. I worked on things that were classified and that’s all you’ll hear about it. I had drama happen at home which I could not help. While deployed my marriage died, my mother died, and my dog died. But I can verify all of that with my social networking accounts or other info. It’s not secret or unobtainable.
So to sum it up:
Phase 0: Verify a .mil e-mail address. Do not continue the chat if he cannot send you an email from a .mil account. (If he says he is locked out or needs a new password then say fine, see you in 24 hours). Verify hometown. Verify death claims. Verify military status. Ask for MOS and other standard details. Review his social networking page. Google the name that he gives you.
Phase 1: Ask questions about him, give details about you. Avoid talk of money. Get a photo of him holding a paper with your name on it or with him and your webpage. Exchange snail mail addresses.
Phase 2: You can figure this part out. But by now you have found that you have a real soldier.
This was written by an Army soldier, things may differ slightly for other branches. Scammers who read this will start working on ways around it, but it will be a long time until they manage to beat many of these simple rules.
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