“I came home to friends, but we weren’t together,” he said. “This was better, since I have support here.”
Although the demobilization process is very similar and for the most part, coming home has been good for the 16-year veteran, he has faced some challenges. Chaloux admits he has trouble sleeping.
“Go to bed late and get up insanely early,” he said.
Wife, Jennifer, says he’s had some respiratory issues, including nose bleeds.
“(The respiratory issues) have been a common complaint,” she said.
It’s because the people of Afghanistan burn anything they can to stay warm, including plastic bottles and television sets.
“They don’t have our luxuries,” she said.
Chaloux said he plans to have the breathing problems addressed when he gets an appointment at a V.A. hospital.
Mrs. Chaloux said staying with him at Fort Stewart when the 108th returned home was an eye opener for her.
“He was still in soldier mode, they all were and they were so busy with demobilization that the wives just wanted to soak up every minute with them,” she recalled.
Some of the adjustments have been good, she said.
“As an Army wife, you get used to doing it all. Now that he’s home, the little things he does mean so much,” she said, adding that he keeps the house clean and washes dishes while she’s at school.
And she’s finally slept through the night.
“Army wives . . . don’t sleep. Now I sleep like a rock,” she said.
There are still some adjustments to get used to, they admit. Some they consider normal for a blended family. Mrs. Chaloux’s 15-year-old son, has had to get used to “not being the man of the house,” once his step-dad returned home.
Chaloux said he is looking for a job, but may return to school in the fall while his wife finishes her nursing degree at Dalton State. He’s pretty sure he’ll stay in for another four years, until retirement. Mrs. Chaloux said that if he does get deployed again, they will make the best of it and she has even considered going to work for a contract company as a nurse so she can be stationed close to him. For now, though, they are going to enjoy those little moments they missed.
“I’m looking forward to holidays with him here,” said Mrs. Chaloux.
“You cherish everything so much more – your friends, your relationships,” said Chaloux.