A friend, and fellow MilSpouse said it best, “Alpha, Foxtrot, What?!?!” I could not agree more. From military time, to the phonetic alphabet, to all their damn acronyms the military culture is certainly unique. And unless you are entrenched in it before you get married; extremely confusing ad overwhelming. Now having only been married to the military for a year, I am not going to pretend to be an expert. I am still sitting over here wishing that google translator had a military option! But I have picked up a few things over the last couple months of living on Fort Benning that have been extremely helpful.
When I first got here the only person I knew was my husband, and as he was in training he spent most of his days (and nights) sleeping out under the stars in the field. So he was not a lot of help in making the transition. Thankfully he has passed that phase for now and is home most of the time. But while he was gone I had to do some improvising. So what to do when you are overwhelmed by the military life culture. Well first I Google. “oh are you going to the FRG?” Ummm hold on let me consult my personal assistant, a.k.a. Hi google, “what is FRG?” Google: FRG stands for Family Readiness Group, the place for spouses to gather that is based on your spouses’ Unit. It is typically headed by the Commander’s wife. If your spouse is deployed this is where you would get information regarding your husband movements. They host coffee groups which are social gatherings. Google can be a serious life saver; any acronym someone throws at you, just O.K. Google! And, depending on your internet connection, you can have it within seconds.
Ask For Help
Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t know something you are not going to learn by nodding your head, and pretending you understand without piping up and saying so. The one thing I have learned so far is that most people in the military world pay little attention to how new you are to post (in case you didn’t know, that is what Army people call a base or fort), and will proceed with acronyms galore in their conversations. Asking for help is absolutely ok, nobody is going to judge you for it, I promise. It will probably make the person you are asking feel good that they are able to help you out. So ask, it’s the only way to learn, other than google!
Find Good Resources
Also, a couple of really well known Military Spouse Bloggers, J.D. Collins from Semi-Delicate Balance, Jo, My Gosh, and Lauren Tamm from The Military Wife & Mom, wrote an e-book called the “Modern Military Spouse”. It has everything you would ever want to know about Military life and culture. It even has a handy Acronym Dictionary in the back! (This post is not in any way endorsed by them, I am simply passing along information about a tool that I found invaluable in starting my journey as a military spouse.) You can find it here: http://jomygosh.com/the-modern-military-spouse/
Today is Veteran’s day, an all important day that we as Americans take to give thanks and honor those men and women who have and are currently bravely defending our great country. I can think of no group of people more deserving of our thanks.
I didn’t grow up in a military family, I knew my grandfathers both served in WWII and a couple uncles who had served in the past, but it was not a large part of my family history, like it will be for our future children.
However as I flipped through my Timehop app this morning I noticed that ever since high school I had taken the opportunity to thank the veterans in my life and those all around the country. Without them who knows where we would be today! And I am grateful that we do not have to find out.
Over the last couple years Veteran’s day has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I am now married to an active duty Army service member. I am so proud of him and his accomplishments. And yet he is so humble. He does not view his job as needing special thanks. And neither do most other soldiers I have met since marrying into the military. They do it because it’s the job they choose like being an accountant or lawyer or any other professional. If they were in it simply for recognition they would never make it through the rigorous training, demanding work schedule, and constantly being on call 24/7.
That is why I think they deserve even more honor and respect and especially our thanks even if it’s just once a year. These humble men and women may have to make the ultimate sacrifice for our safety, and freedom and they want nothing in return. But even so extend your hand and today thank a veteran in your life; even if they say they do not deserve it because they absolutely do!
When we began this crazy Army life, our plan was to go into the National Guard, stay in South Carolina and be there forever… 2 years later of course that is not where we ended up because, well Army. I went to Graduate school, got a degree in Marriage and Family Counseling, my husband opted out of the Guard and went Active Duty.
Here we are now at Fort Benning and we still can’t make a plan! Now if you are anything like me, this drives you CRAZY. I am the kind of person that has plan A through Z and then some. I love plans. I like knowing what is coming next and when its coming. So as a new Army Wife you can imagine how frustrating this can be! SO what is a person to do? Well here is what I have come up with!
1. Eat some chocolate, ice cream, peanut butter, a whole bag of potato chips. Whatever your guilty pleasure food is, eat it! And don’t feel guilty well all just need a little something to feel better sometimes.
2. Talk to your girlfriends, trust me they are feeling the same frustrations! That’s what Army Sister Wives are for! That is why finding community is so important
3. Remember, no matter how frustrated you get, your hubby has just as little control as you do! I the Army he isn’t in charge of what is happening in his career as far as where he goes and when he finds things out. So try try try your hardest not to blame him, because it is not his fault yall still don’t have orders!
4. Take a deep breath, you can do this, eventually the Army will give you the information you need to know to move forward!
5. Smile, because at least if you don’t know what is coming you get to wait around and worry with the one you love (even if they are not always right beside you. And no matter what, that is a Blessing!
So there you go. Don’t let it hinder you from doing things, go to school, have that family, plan that vacation, and get the first (or second) puppy because if you are always waiting for the perfect timing you will be waiting your entire army career.