Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Interviews.....

Military deployment does not only affect the service member but the family as well. For the course project, I selected Kimberly Casto, a Navy wife, and Valentina Kennedy, a professional school counselor, to interview. Mrs. Casto has been married to her husband, Douglas Casto for twenty years. Douglas Casto serves the country in the U.S. Navy. Nine years ago, Mr. Casto was deployed for nine months on a Mediterranean Cruise while Mrs. Casto raised their twin children. Mrs. Kennedy is a professional school counselor for Charles County Public Schools. She has worked for nine years at school near a naval station. During her tenure, she has counseled students about parental deployment through group and individual sessions. She has counseled parents during pre-deployment and post-deployment and provided community resources to families.

I conducted both interviews on Wednesday, January 8th. I conducted a phone interview with Mrs. Kennedy. I have never personally met Mrs. Kennedy; however, she was recommended to me from my professional school counselor. I emailed her the questions prior to the interview, so she was familiar with them.  Since she was familiar with the questions, there was not a lot of down time as she formulated her answers.  The interview lasted approximately thirty minutes. After school, I interviewed Mrs. Casto in person. At the beginning of the interview, my instructional assistant and her son were leaving.  Mrs. Casto made a few comments about their relationship which led into a discussion about previous relationships.  After the small talk was completed, I began the interview.  I did not provide her with the questions prior to the interview, but she easily answered the questions.  The interview lasted approximately 40 minutes.  During the interview, I interjected my experiences which I did not do the previous interview .  Was this interview more relaxed due to the fact that I work with her or was it due to the fact that the interview was with a co-worker?  It was probably a combination of the both. 

Question: During both interviews, I had generated questions that did not easily follow the response from the previous question.  Sometimes, I was able to generate follow-up questions while other times, I stated the next question on the list.  While determining which action to take, there was an awkward silence. Did anyone have similar experiences?  How did you handle it? 

Key Point:  A key point from the interviews, Mrs. Casto said, "Some people aren't programmed for being a military spouse." When I asked her to elaborate, she stated, "A military wife needs to be strong, to be able to care for yourself, to trust their spouse, be loyal, and don't believe everything you hear."  She followed-up her response with advice from her mother who was a military wife as well: trust in your husband, trust in God and you'll be fine.   


  1. Melissa,

    I wanted to follow your blog because as I stated in our class discussion, my school serves many naval families and I have let them down by not understanding the effects deployment can have on the entire family.

    The people you interviewed play an integral part in helping children deal with the stress and trauma of a parent being deployed. Mrs. Casto understands the situation from a parents view and Mrs. Kennedy is the professional who helps the entire family deal with what can be a very stressful situation. I look forward to hearing more about your interviews.

    The interview process is not always easy, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. When I prepared my interview questions I placed them in an order that made most logical sense to follow a train of thought. However, sometimes in asking questions we need to change the direction. What I did was when I came to that place that could possibly be awkward, I simply stated "With my next question I am going to change the subject a little" and then went right to the next question. By acknowledging an awkward change, this makes it a little less awkward. When I sent them my questions, I also included a brief overview of the course and what we are studying. I explained the project and told them about my topic and challenge, this way the questions did not seem to be so random. I hope this helps you in the future.


  2. Darla,
    Thank you for your interest in my Course Project.

    Before the interview, I shared briefly about the Course Project while I was collecting their biographical information. I had arranged the interview questions in a manner which I thought was logical but their replies did not always lend themselves to the next question. I like your idea of using transitions such as with my question, I am going to change the subject. Both interviews had time restraints which may have caused some of the awkwardness. When I interviewed Mrs. Kennedy, it was during my planning time, so I knew the maximum amount of time I could take was 45 minutes. When I interviewed Mrs. Casto, it was after school. She was trying to get home to her family, and I was trying to join my exercise team. If I had been completely focus with the task on hand the interviews may have been different.

  3. Melissa,
    I was impressed by the key point from Mrs. Casto: "A military wife needs to be strong, to be able to care for yourself, to trust their spouse, be loyal, and don't believe everything you hear." I believe her statement holds true for all wives and husbands as well. Her comment leads directly to resiliency that she learned from her mother.
    Thank you for supporting the armed forces by relaying information for support young children.
    Sharon Lloyd

    1. Sharon,
      I do believe that Mrs. Casto's advice applies to all relationships. She talked about trust throughout the interview and told me how her husband would go on a mission. She did not know where he was, what he was doing or exactly when he was coming back. That is trust.

  4. Hi Melissa,
    Great post! I have never thought of the impact of military families until reviewing the information you have provided in the discussions and blog postings. You wrote, “Military deployment does not only affect the service member but the family as well.” What are strategies that can be use to prevent young children from being affected when a family member is deployed? Is there anything you would do differently during the interview process? How far along are you in the Course Project? What major challenges have you experience thus far in the Course Project?


    1. Shamanie,
      I have not seen any strategies to keep children from being affected, but I have seen strategies to lessen the affects of deployment. The remaining partner influences how deployment affects the children. If the partner is stressed out, the children are as well. If the partner is calm and maintains normalcy such as establishing a routine for the children, the children have smaller affects from deployment.

      During the interview process, I would have given Mrs. Casto the interview questions prior to it. Also, I would have established better transitions between questions. I am on target with the coursework as it relates to the project. Researching the articles has probably been the hardest part of the project. Also reading the articles, with so many negative effects, it can leave a person wondering if war is worth all of this.

  5. Melissa
    I have a deep appreciation for military spouses and the sacrifices they make for their families. Military spouses shoulder an enormous amount of responsibility during times of deployment. I found both Ms. Castro’s and her mother’s comments powerful. Although I believe I have the personal characteristics listed, I do not possess them at the level needed to succeed as a military spouse. What were your final thoughts regarding a military spouse’s need for resiliency during times of deployment?

    1. Debi,
      A military spouse needs to be resilient. How they react towards the deployment is reflected upon their children. If a parent is constantly worried, anxious, depressed, etc., a child will also be.