Earlier in the week, I had been talking with one of the military wives who had told me that the military had no hold over wives and children because they’re not the ones who are enlisted. She told me I was free to take my mom and leave the country on vacation – that it was perfectly legal and that no permission was needed from anyone.
When we learned about the high ranking enlisted’s relationship with my survivor mom’s ex the night before we fled, mom coincidentally received medical EROD (Early Return Of Dependents) “orders” to relocate to Florida within 48 hours. Although she could legally take up to March 15th to move there, mom was informed that a Lieutenant would be personally picking her up at 3:00am in two days time to deliver her and the children to Frankfurt Airport where they’d board the plane to Florida.
Mom had been asking to relocate back home to Hawaii for months so for “orders” to come so quickly and out of nowhere without any prep time and an escort to the airport – something just didn’t sit right… The other thing is that mom's husband - who was on deployment in Afghanistan and not due to return until June/July 2013 - suddenly returned home in the middle of all this. So he gets home and she's getting shipped out; does any of this make any sense?
Adrenalin is some potent stuff. For anyone who knows me, physical activity is NOT a part of my life (good intentions, mean to do it, on my “To Do” list, excuse, excuse) but I actually jumped and cleared a fence in the snow (and mom shot-putted a 60 pound suitcase over a fence and cleared it like a pro) when we realized we had a very small window to escape without her husband knowing. After all of us were over the fence, we then had to run with three small children in tow to a gas station a few blocks away where we hid until a cab could pick us up and get us the heck out of there.
Terrifyingly enough while in the cab, the high ranking enlisted called our cab TWICE asking our driver, Christine, if she had picked up women and children that morning. Christine saw the look on our faces and I think feigned to not understand English very well and told him no. Then about halfway into our hour and a half drive to Munich, Polizei motioned for Christine to pull the cab over. After looking us over and talking to Christine in German, it turned out that they were upset because we didn’t have the kids in appropriate child car restraints; unfortunately on our dash out the door, we didn’t grab the three car seats.
With that heart attack behind us, the next challenge to traverse was checking in for our flight. With the high ranking enlisted calling our cab, we knew that he/the military was looking for us but how far would he/they take it? Why did this high ranking enlisted even care if a soldier’s wife whose husband wasn’t even in his chain of command left with her kids? Mom’s own husband wasn’t even calling to report her or the children missing, yet this high ranking enlisted was!
Figuring that they’d assume we’d head back to the United States, we took a flight in the opposite direction: to Japan. Thankfully, we checked in without incident but hen at the gate, we heard our names being paged over the loudspeaker system. Again our hearts raced and pounded; mom scanned the area for any officials or officers while I went up to the gate counter to see what the problem was and phew – the plane was just overbooked and they wanted to schedule us on a later flight.
Eventually we got on our flight to Narita and breathed a momentary sigh of relief.