Ensign Erich Von Villwock (Sr.)
Name: Erich Von Villwock (Sr.)
Years in service: 12
Years as father: 2
Kids: My son, EJ will be two years old June 17th and my daughter, Evie was born May 7th of this year. We are really happy she was born on the 7th because I was born on March 7th, my wife was born on April 17th, our wedding anniversary is July 7th and we were able to keep this seven thing going.
Current Duty Station and job: Platoon OIC, EOD Mobile Unit FIVE, Santa Rita, Guam.
Q: What are your key responsibilities at work?
A: I supervise the safe operations of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Platoon, conducting EOD and diving operations in the Pacific Asia area of operation. We are usually jumping out of planes, shooting guns and blowing things up.
Q: What are your key responsibilities at home?
A: My primary responsibilities at home include the following: Foot and back masseur, “airplane” ride pilot, adventure time facilitator, story time narrator, anytime singer of poorly covered songs but especially in the car or at bedtime, chauffer, emergency errand runner, kid-cannon fuse lighter, monster expeller, and sometimes taking out the trash, but only as an ancillary function.
Q: How do you balance military life with family life?
A: It is a tremendous task to balance these two parts of my life, and most of the time, the two are close to one. My command family and my actual family are intertwined through social functions, and my platoon is always welcome in my home. It becomes difficult when I’m away from my real family because I’m not there to perform my responsibilities. I try to segment the day into hours for work and home, but usually the two overlap and I think about home at work and work at home, but try to keep one from affecting the other. It becomes even more difficult when I add “student” to my list of endeavors.
Q: How do you keep in touch with family when you are TDY or deployed?
A: Facebook and FaceTime are extremely important for us, because that is how we communicate primarily. We also use cell and satellite phones when there isn’t any Internet available. A lot of time I’m away from my kids, and I miss important events in their lives. So, I like to write letters to them and describe why I wasn’t there or some other important aspect of life that I want them to know about. It is a good way for me to capture my thoughts at the time, and it will be something special for them when they’re older.
Q: How does the military community support your family?
A: My command and community understand how important it is to have a healthy family at home in order to function optimally at work. They support me by allowing me to take time off to be with my family. They also stress importance of taking time off, and schedule command social functions to include families of other people I work with. We also have a Family Readiness Group that sponsors similar events and creates a family atmosphere for those of us stationed overseas.
Q: How do you support your partner whether you are home or deployed?
A: I try to keep in constant communications while I am deployed or TAD, and keep a shared calendar of my schedule so she knows what to expect from me while I am working. When I am home I try to be as helpful as I can by doing whatever chores need to be done. I spend as much time as I can with my kids and make sure they know they have a Dad who loves them more than they can understand.
Q: As a military parent, what’s your top priority for your kids?
A: My top priority for my kids is to make sure they know who I am, and that I love them. I am always concerned about their safety and wellbeing, so I make sure they are safe and taken care of whether that is done by calling my wife, or by researching safety ratings on a new car; they are always on my mind. I want my kids to be healthy, happy, and loved no matter where they are in the world.
Q: What are your plans or Father’s Day?
A: This Father’s day I plan on taking time off of work and going on vacation with friends and family to Lake Chelan in Washington state.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I stay extremely busy at work, and I am gone more than I am home. I’ve already been gone for five months this year alone, and I have two deployments coming up. I tell my family that this part of our lives isn’t going to last forever, and to try to enjoy living overseas while we can, but I feel extremely selfish for uprooting them from their lives, our home, and moving across the world, only to leave and go somewhere else almost immediately. My kids only know this kind of life. I try to let them know how much I appreciate their sacrifices for me, but it’s not nearly enough for what I put them through. I look forward to a day when I can walk my kids to school, and come home to a place that our family can visit regularly or pop in for coffee, lunch or whatever but for now we are living an adventure.
Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!
Follow us on social media!