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What Does It Mean To Be An Army Wife? (Part Two)

These stories were all submitted by site visitors. Enjoy!

*****

by Penny

My name is Penny.  My husband and I dated on and off in high school and the year following graduation.  That’s when we went our separate ways.  When we found each other again, I was a single mom of three, and he was going through a messy divorce and had two children.   He lived in another state (we’d run into each other on a visit he had made to our hometown).  He moved back to our hometown in small town TN, and he did work as a plumber.

Well, the pay was ok, but he pays more than any man I personally know does in child support.  So that hurt us financially.  Then work started slowing down.  Slowing way down.  There were weeks where he would go all the way in (about a half tank of gas-which was waaaayyyy too expensive) just to find out he wouldn’t be working that day for whatever reason.  That also hurt us financially.  We were expecting a child, and I was worried about not having everything I needed (I stupidly hadn’t planned on having more children and gave a lot of my baby things away)..

Finally my husband discussed the reserves with me.  He explained that he’d always wanted to join up, but there had always been a reason not to.  More recently was that his ex when they were married wasn’t supportive of the idea.  He figured at the very least we could use the extra income coming in, and that alone would be worth it.

We talked alot to our recruiter.  He was a really good man.  He was very open with us both, and explained that this wasn’t Josh’s (my husband) decision alone. This was a decision we needed to make together.  Ultimately we decided this was the best bet for our family.  We would have medical benefits, he could get some higher education while in the service, and he decided to go active instead of reserves so we would have a steady income not just a supplement one.  WE MADE THE DECISION TOGETHER..  I stress that because of course there are times when I hate this life and could kick myself just as often as there are times that I’m so happy we did this.

It has been hard on us both.  It’s not like my husband joined at 18 or 19.  My husband was older than his drill sgt at basic.  How crazy is that?  He turned 27 a couple of weeks after he got to basic, and he isn’t old by any means…but he was referred to as old man.  Our son was born May 1st and Josh left for basic May 14th.  That was really hard for me.  We had been living an hour and half from our hometown and all our friends and family.  I know it sounds silly (for those who have had to move across country or out of the country), but I decided to move closer to home.

My father in law allowed me and my children to stay in his mother’s old house.  It was very old and had a small washer with no hook up for a dryer (that was fun), and although it was closer it was still a good drive to see anyone.  I stayed home all through the week and found myself camping out in my mother’s living room every weekend.  It was nice to be somewhere more comfortable to me (even if she wasn’t home).

I got phone calls from him on a very random basis, and he didn’t like to hog the phone because there were so many other soldiers who needed to call home too.  We talked as often as possible which was usually once a week.  I lived for those phone calls.  I scolded naughty children for being a pain when all I wanted to do was hear his voice over the phone.. It’s like they “know” when it’s the most important phone calls, and they get ten times louder than usual.  He sent letters regularly.  I sent as many as I could.    My step children came for a month while he was gone to stay with his mom (that’s a whole can of worms that isn’t related so sorry), and I took a ton of pictures.  I sent him packages with things he needed (not knowing at the time he could get them himself at the px.  I sent him pictures of his babies and stepbabies. He yelled at me for not sending some of myself…so I begrudgingly did so.

Finally he graduated Basic!  My father in law and our youngest son (nearly three months at that point) went with me to his graduation.  It was more than I could have asked for just to see him.  My father in law would take the baby for “a walk” to give us as much alone time as possible (since the guys got a pass for the weekend).  It was bittersweet.  He seemed a little distant.  I think he was just upset because he knew he still had several weeks of AIT before we could be together again..  Dropping him back off on the base was more difficult than I thought it would be.  I cried most of the way home.

AIT was a whole new ball game though.  My hubby was doing super great.  It was like his MOS was made with him in mind.  Then he got pneumonia and went to sick hall and they misdiagnosed him twice.  Finally they caught it, but felt it was severe enough that he needed to come home to recuperate.  He was home for two weeks, and I tried to make the best of it.  Then he was gone again.  Stupid pneumonia and the leave they gave him really messed everything up.  He had to wait a few days before he could start classes when he got back…pushing his AIT graduation further back.  Then while most of the guys found out their duty stations a week prior to graduating, he didn’t find out until several days after.  Which meant he had to stay in Ft Sill, Ok until they told him where he was going.  That really ( for lack of a better word) sucked..

Finally he got his duty station.  1300 miles from where we live, but it could be worse I suppose.  We got here and couldn’t stay in on post lodging because they were all full up.  It took awhile to get an apartment out here, and we were hold up in a hotel.  I hope next time we’re able to prepare a little better, but the army can be unpredictable.  We got here at the end of October, and found out that in February he’d be in the field for about four weeks, and then sometime this spring he would be deployed.  All that time apart to find out we wouldn’t have long before we’d be apart again.  It’s very surreal.

I’m not an outgoing person anymore.  It’s been difficult for me to make friends. Not to mention we’re older than most the guys and families we’ve come in contact with.  And we have four children who live in our home (while my step children live in another state with their “difficult” mother).  Sometimes I feel like the army is the only thing I have in common with the other wives.  It’s sort of my fault for not putting myself out there I guess, but I have four children and a soldier….I don’t feel like I have time for making new friends.

When my husband went in the field for four weeks, I realized my plan for staying here while he was deployed would be totally out of the question.  I just don’t know anyone.  I just finally met the neighbors, and it’s been months.  I can’t even go to FRG meetings.  They can get free childcare in advance, but they rarely ever do because “some” soldiers don’t let them know they need it, so they don’t get it …then I’m stuck in a room with a bunch of soldiers and four unruly children.  Ha.  It’s laughable.  I feel sort of stuck.  So I decided to go back home while he’s gone to make life easier on myself.  I’ll have friends and family to go to for whatever I might need.  That is a huge load off my shoulders.

I am extremely proud and supportive of my husband.  When people ask stupid questions like, “How are you going to handle it when he’s gone?”  or  “Aren’t you scared for him to go over there?” or “How do you do it?”  I tell them what my husband says.  He says, “Well I didn’t join the boy scouts.”  And he didn’t and WE MADE THIS DECISION TOGETHER.   Whatever happens he always has my support and unchanging love.  I am proud of him everyday, and when I hear about that crap that some of these groups ( you know the ones…the anti-war or anti-soldier groups) do, it makes me sick, but my husband is out there protecting their rights.  He is a great soldier, an awesome dad, and the best husband a girl could ask for.

Being an army wife is about many things.  Here’s my list.

1.  Being both tough as nails and soft as a down pillow all at the same time.

2.  Loving your husband even with more space imaginable between you.

3.  Being patient.   It’s short sweet and to the point.

At the end of the day I’m just proud of him, and everything he does for his kids, me, and this country.  It’s all worth it.   I hope this helps someone even if some poor woman reads it and thinks, “Wow.  I’m not alone.”  And in an effort to “put myself out there”  this is my url.  If you have a myspace page and would like to have a military wife for a friend request me as a friend. www.myspace.com/pennylm

*****

by Anna

My name is Anna I am not an army wife yet so I guess my story is
going to be a little different. I met Wil in January of 2009. I knew
from the start he was different but because I knew he was leaving
shortly for BCT and AIT combined I knew I was not going to deal with
it. After a few weeks it was undeniable. I could NOT be apart from
him. He left January 28 and went to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo for
training. His training was combined so instead of not seeing him for
9 weeks it will be about 15 because of the week he spent in
reception. So far is been 6 weeks. Its tough….tougher than I
thought it would be. Reception was not bad. I got a few phone calls
one of which was about 25 minutes. Then I got a 2 minute phone call
when he got to his base for basic training and after that I did not
get a phone call for 3 weeks. I got letters but no return address.
After a few weeks I finally got a return address and I was able to
send all the letters I wrote him. The letters are what gets me day to
day.

Its been 6 weeks now and he is just starting blue phase. He
graduates BCT and AIT on May 15, and we’re getting married May 22. I
am going to see from the start what this life is going to me like. I
am not happy right now but knowing that William is making such a
difference in his life helps me. I know someday not anytime soon but
someday we’ll be able to live normal lives, look back at the army,
and say thank you for making us and our relationship so strong from
the start. It teaches independence, worry, love, and just relying on

yourself when you can’t rely on the one you can’t live without.

*****

by Jessica

Being an ARMY wife to me stands for trust pride and honor. I was with my husband for 5 years before he joined the army, we discussed it over and over again i knew it would completely change our lives forever but I was so proud of him. Before he left for basic training he asked me to marry him it was so amazing, but at the same time made the 16 weeks that he was gone for basic that much harder… I drove out to see him for family weekend at basic and again for his graduation. We now a year later have our first child together and are awaiting his deployment to Afghanistan. Being a Army wife to me means teaching our son that no matter how far away his father is he always going to be around for him and the value of what he is doing for our country. It means managing a household for husband and wife being a father and mother and being a daughter to my parents and standing in as a son for his parents. I would never trade the life I live. People always tell you how much they wish the war was over and how it isn’t worth it for our soldiers to be deployed and I always tell them there is a reason for everything that happens and then I get a look as though I am crazy. I worry all the time but I have to be strong for myself for my soldier and for my family. Its not just life its life as an army wife…

*****

by Margie

Although it has only been 8 months that I have been an Army Wife, it is not something I am unfamiliar with. My Dad was also a Military man, and I watched countless times as he had to go off to duty, whether it was a month, 2 weeks, or 3 months at a time. It was his way of life, it was in his blood. I observed my Mom and I learned of the sacrifices made when you are part of the Military Family. I remember my Dad being away and my Brother and I used to take turns sleeping with my Mom. We were just little then, and let me tell you, a lot of the time we both ended up in the bed with her because she could no longer take the knocking on her door and crying so that we could both be with her. We would get so excited when he would walk through the door, always with gifts in hand. I always looked up to my Dad and his countless acts of bravery. He was as gentle as could be, but if you made him mad, that’s when the Sgt. came out! He and I bumped heads quite a few times as I was growing up. I guess that’s because we were always bullheaded. Neither of us wanted to give in, me probably being more stubborn of the two. He taught me how to be tough. Always chasing us around with rubber bands, having tickle battles, playing war. In the end, I was always Daddy’s little girl. I have many qualities of both my Mom and Dad, and for that, I am very proud.

I have always had a great appreciation for the Military and what they do for our Country. Now that I am a Proud Army Wife, that appreciation has grown much deeper. I am married to a Wonderful Man, who is also my Best Friend. I am beginning to realize more every day how selfless of a Man he really is. I take great pride in knowing that God has blessed me with a Man who has such a kind, generous heart. There are many challenges associated with being an Army Wife and I get my strength from many resources. Knowing I always have the support and unconditional Love from my Husband. Watching my Mom and Dad rise above those challenges, family, friends, and most importantly knowing that we have God on our side.

Those challenges aren’t always easy, however, I would have to say the hardest challenge of all are the deployments. I met my husband online while he was on a one year tour in Korea. It has been a wonderful journey, thus far, and I know it is only going to continue to get better. He came home from Korea and we were married 6 days later. This is my first deployment as an Army Wife. I don’t think you can prepare yourself enough when the actual day arrives. Having to say your “C-You Laters” and drive away. Wondering when you will get that phone call, and when you do, nothing else matters but hearing the voice of the Man you Love on the other end of the line. The reassurance of knowing that no matter what, and no matter how far away they are from you at the time, whether it is 15 mins. or half way across the World, they are always with you. It is different from the Civilian world on many aspects, in this case, we don’t always get the comfort of knowing where our spouse is. How they are doing, if they are or are not OK. This is when we have to look out for each other, we, being all the military spouses. We take care of each other if need be, we take care of the household while our husbands’ are away, and all the while, we don’t complain. We aren’t selfish, nor should we be. I am a woman of strength, and a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become even more strong.

I have enjoyed reading the stories submitted by other Military Wives and I can relate to almost every one of them. A lot I feel like they read my mind, and I could have just simply changed their name to mine and hit the submit button. I especially like the “scuffs in the carpet from the combat boots”. It is just a simple reminder that we are all in this together. Someone recently told me a year away from the one you Love is nothing compared to a Lifetime together. That saying holds so true.

This is our life and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the World. I am very proud of my Husband and his accomplishments. He puts 100% into everything he does, and it shows. Many of the sacrifices he and our soldiers make go unspoken. They are harder than anyone can imagine. I am understanding more every day the dedication and depths of patriotism felt by our military. I pray for the safe returns of all the service men and women who are deployed.

God Bless Our Troops!

*****

as submitted by Stella Post

Being a military wife gives me a double sense of great pride and honor.  I first feel proud to have married such a wonderful, gorgeous man with such a good heart and values who understands and accepts the responsibility of a family so readily.  These qualities alone would be enough to stay in his corner for the rest of my life, but adding to this is the sense of pride I have in him for being altruistic. It takes someone very, very special willing to make the kind of every day sacrifices for his country, particularly when many have no idea just how far reaching those sacrifices can be.

Who in America wants to live across the world in 120 degree heat wearing combat gear while bullets are whizzing by their head? Who among all of the men we’ve know in our lives would be willing to go without the tender touch of their wife, the smile of their children, the creature comforts of the colorful landscape of America and live among camel spiders and sand?  How many of your friends are married to a man who’s deployed twice or more to the same region for a tour of duty without having been drafted? What politician could fathom jumping out of an airplane and then going home to his wife at the end of the day as if nothing unusual happened or driving along a road and hoping that pile of trash or empty car isn’t hiding an explosive device?  What kind of man would be willing to slip in undetected to the territory of an enemy so brutalized by violence that beheading an adversary means nothing?  Who will go?

The sad answer today is “very few.”  Relatively very few men in America have the kind of courage and strength to withstand the pressure of these kinds of sacrifices.  And I, wow, I married one of them.   I don’t really want to talk about what it feels like to be away from a person that I want to hug and kiss and laugh with every day.  I don’t want to complain about wanting to have his little baby RIGHT NOW but knowing if I did, the timing of his deployment would deprive him of the chance to hear his baby’s first cry.  I don’t want to really even think about having a husband but not having him with me or going everywhere alone.

You know why?

When I think of him and what he does and see what other people’s husbands do, I’m so proud that I married the guy that I did. And I know that while he’s out there, he’s missing all the same things as I am, but even worse, he’s stuck in the middle of a dust storm opening the beef jerky I sent and doing his job.  I will always feel that I married a better man than my friends just because I know he has this rare ability to make a sacrifice so that America can live freely, safely, comfortably.  That’s the kind of man I married.

When you ask what it means for me to be a military wife, I would  tell you that it means I am a part of something greater than myself and even bigger than my marriage. I am absolutely honored by the exclusivity of being a woman God thought could handle being an Army wife and amazed that He would see fit to pair me with a man of honor.

*****

by anonymous

I’m a military wife and at first I was proud and honored. But now I
find it a little harder to keep my chin up. When I met my husband he was
already in the Army and it wasn’t very hard. Then things got a little bad,
when he got sent to Iraq I found out I was pregnant and ended up having a
miscarriage and I felt so alone. No matter how I ever felt I loved him more
so I stand strong right next to this wonderful man. When I had finally
gotten over my miscarriage I got pregnant again and a month after she was
born he got sent to Afghanistan for15 months leaving me alone in a
different place with no family or friends to be of any support to me as a
first time mother and trying to cope with him leaving again so soon.

He got back 3 months ago, but a week ago he had to go back to
school in South Carolina so now I’m alone again and I find it hard to make
friends as a stay at home mom. I know I’m not the only one that goes
through this, I just wish sometimes to be a little stronger. I don’t know
how not to let it show when I’m a little down. I’ve always been very
strong and supportive, I didn’t want him to feel bad about me feeling any
kind of way because they go through quite a bit already. But reading the
stories you have posted up helped me very much to relate on a more personal
level.

No matter how down I feel at times there is a lot more wonderful
things and memories that outweigh the bad, I love this man so much more
then any feeling of loneliness I’ve ever had and I’m very proud of him and
proud to be an army wife. I just wanted to write to you and tell you that
if I could start all over again I wouldn’t change anything. And I wanted
to say Thank you to all military men and women. May god shine his light on
you, your families and friends.

About the author: This article was contributed by a visitor to the site. If you would like to contribute to the site as well, please email me.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Melina March 8, 2011, 12:20 am

    Your words are soo encouraging. I cried while reading your stories. You are such brave and strong women. I’m only dating my soldier and he is only in Basic. I’m already struggling with fear and worry. You women encourage me and remind me what a special calling it is to be the woman who supports such a selfless man.

  • Tilanie April 22, 2011, 9:27 am

    To me,
    I can’t exactly say I know what it’s like to be an army wife since I’m only an army fiancee.
    I met the one I truly fell in love with at age 14, Within that weekend I turned 15. And he was a senior of high school. He attended different school than I did but it was the beginnings of a great relationship waiting to happen. We are complete opposites, I enjoyed partying, Hanging out and being everyone’s friend but he was one who liked being with his friends, hanging out with people he knew. My first time dating and becoming part of a Vietnamese family and it’s amazing. Being exposed to a culture you wouldn’t have ever thought you’d belong to. It’s been 4 days since he’s been gone and within these days I’ve read everyone’s stories, trying to find some little hint, some secret key to how I could possibly survive these next 9 weeks without the one I love giving me a ride to school, cuddling with me, kissing me, making lame jokes at me. I don’t know how exactly. Patience has never been my forte, being strong is a foreign word to me. It feels like I have no friends to help me stay strong, to give me advice since none of them are going through this. I really need a friend… If anyone would like to be my friend. Please email me?
    Nihongohottie@gmail.com

    I’d really appreciate having someone who can give me advice,And help me throughout these lonely weeks.
    -Tilanie

  • Gail Sauve May 19, 2012, 10:48 pm

    I’m just looking for some information, I’ve recently met my boyfriend online who’s in the army and based with NATO in Kabul, Afghanistan. I would really like to talk with him but have to get something called an “Army Security Phone” can someone explain that to me and how much this cost, to make matters worse, I’m in Canada and am new to this military stuff.

    If someone can help I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanking you in advance,

    Gail!

    • Stacey May 20, 2012, 11:05 pm

      There is no Army Security Phone. It’s a scam. I’m sorry.

      • Gail Sauve May 21, 2012, 12:46 am

        he keeps saying that I have to send an email to the Admin as follows: genraymondtroopsarmy@usa.com

        Can you pls check this out and get back to me I would truly appreciate it. Said I have to send an email indicating that I want to subscribe to a connection???

  • Gail Sauve May 21, 2012, 5:11 pm

    I found the information that I required, so theres no need to verify this information, I miss understood what he was saying.

    Thank you for your prior imput

  • Gail Sauve May 29, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Stacey,

    Just wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for saving me some embarassment, at first Ididn’t to believe it was a scam, however, you’re respond kept haunting me, after further research, I found out it really was a scam, I know my second response was not the best but haven been single for 6 yrs I was hoping that this guy was real and just kind of brushed your reply off and for that i’m terribly sorry but am glad that it was tucked away at the back of my brain enough to make me research it further.

    These people are dispicable and a disgrace to all those that serve their country, I’m canadian and am very proud of what our men and women are doing over there as well as the men and women serving your country and all others.

    Once again,

    Thank you

    Gail!

  • Ashley December 6, 2012, 12:48 am

    Hi, my name is Ashley. So far being an army wife to me has been about strength and courage. I met my husband about 2 months before he left for basic. It was one of those whirlwind relationships that consist of love at first sight. He is amazing and the connection formed in those few months is indescribable. He is the world to me. After about a month of dating he decided he wanted to enlist, and actually discussed it with me. He left for basic after the most amazing 2 months of my life. The weeks of basic training were miserable and I wrote him at least a letter a day. During his second day in reception he called and asked me to marry him, i was the love of his life he said and wanted to be by my side for the rest our lives. His AIT was in Oklahoma and we are from texas so i was able to see him a couple of weekends he was there when he got a pass. We were married the day he graduated AIT and he was able to come home for 16 days, before they shipped him to S. Korea for a year. It has now been a little over 5 months and I have to say this has been the longest time of my life.
    The journey I am facing is scary. It is the first year of our marriage and i will not see him until June of 2013. I have 2 children that love him and ask about him everyday. I worry about him and cannot talk to him when i feel like i need him. I have never needed a man before so that alone is foreign to me. I am learning that i have more strength to stand than i thought i did and more courage to indure anything. As much as I miss him i know he is doing something wonderful. I am a little scared about the upcoming movve in June. I like to be prepared and organized, but that fact that we have never been stationed together before and that i have not spent any time on a military base actually leaves me feeling very isolated. I know there are resources out there for wives, but not having a base before he deployed has made things a little more difficult, but as a new army wife i am learning that the difficult things in life are worth it.
    Being an army wife to me is beginning to show me the type of person and wife i can be. It is strengthening me and showing me how important my husband is to me and to others.

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