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“I have a family to take care of and the scariest part is not knowing.”
- Cpl. Matthew Schwock

Family Calls

Army Corporal Matthew Schwock missed the birth of his son, the first nine months of his baby’s life and two anniversaries with his wife. With less than a year left in the military, he's under pressure to secure a job to support his family.

Matthew Schwock, 24, is a corporal in the Army National Guard 105th Military Police Company in Buffalo, N.Y. National Guard troops serve part-time, one weekend a month, and some units deploy to combat zones for up to 15 months.

Schwock is serving on active orders as the area coordinator for the Syracuse Military Forces Honor Guard. Schwock performs military honors for veteran funerals as a full-time job.

Providing honors is “the least the country can do for a veteran who has given up years of his or her life for their country,” Schwock said.

As the Army downsizes due to post-war budget cuts, Schwock, like many soldiers, is at a crossroads in his life. The current economic conditions and the hardships of his job impact the choices he’s making for his wife and son.
Schwock and his wife, Caresse, married about two years ago. He was on orders at Fort Bliss, Texas, when his son, Lucas, was born March of last year.

“I couldn’t come home to see his birth so I watched it on Skype,” he said. “I got to go home on Easter for about six days.”

Schwock deployed to Iraq soon after his son was born. He didn’t see him again until he was 9 months old.
Missing important moments in his family’s life has made Schwock think about a stable career outside of the military. He is working to become a police officer in the Rome Police Department and recently passed both the written exam and the physical agility test.

“If I get hired I won’t have to deploy again, and that’s my wife’s biggest fear.”

Aside from the benefits of having a steady paycheck and health coverage for his family, Schwock said being a cop has been a lifelong dream.

“I’ve wanted to be a police officer since I was about 4 or 5,” he said.

Schwock said he’s not the type of person who can sit in an office all day.

“I would rather be serving people as best I can. And what better way than to help people in need or in trouble?”

Although Schwock feels ready to leave the Army, he has fears of the unknown.

“All I’ve known for the last five years is the military,” he said. “It’s the only job I’ve had.”

Schwock admits family is his top priority. He said both the unstable economy and military life are making him uneasy about his future.

“If I don’t get hired by the Rome Police Department I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Schwock.

He said if he doesn’t get the police job he might be forced to re-enlist.

“I have a family to take care of and the scariest part is not knowing.”