I Don’t Wear His Rank

I have talked about spouses not wearing their soldier’s rank in the past. But this is a little different twist. Don’t make judgments about me based on his rank either!

At my husband’s last unit, I was a key caller for the FRG. I had held this position for close to three years and actually enjoyed doing it.

I attended all of the FRG meetings and tried to attend most of the events that were held. I firmly believed in participating and trying to make things better for families instead of just complaining about what wasn’t being done.

Then one day, right after change of command, I received a call from our company’s FRG leader.

She told me she hated to be asking this but she needed to know my husband’s rank. I asked why and she said she was given the directive by the new commander’s wife to find out the rank of any soldier who’s wife held any type of position within the FRG.

So I told her (my husband was not high ranking).

She then proceeded to tell me that even though she personally did not agree with this, I would no longer be allowed to be a key caller because my husband was not a high enough rank.

She apologized over and over again and you could tell she was truly embarrassed that she was even having to make this phone call.

I was furious. Not only have I never worn my husband’s rank, I don’t want to be judged by his rank either.

His rank has nothing to do with my abilities and what I can accomplish.

I was 31 years old at the time with a college degree running my own business. There was no reason why I couldn’t be trusted to make a few phone calls.

Even if I was 18, fresh out of high school and married to an E-2, there would be no reason why I couldn’t be a volunteer with the FRG.

I am my own person. The rank my husband holds does not reflect on who I am, how much I know (or don’t), and what accomplishments and achievements I have made in my lifetime.

Do not judge me based on his rank.

It made no sense whatsoever. One of the reasons why I was in the position I was in was because no one else wanted to do it.

Why would you force wives with higher ranking soldiers to take on a volunteer position they don’t want when you have others who are willing to do it?

Quite a few of us received those phone calls that day and were all told the same – our services were no longer needed because our husbands didn’t rank high enough on the totem pole.

Now, I’m sure you can imagine what kind of wife this commander’s wife was. She was the stereotypical officer’s wife.

The one who gives all others a bad name. She was certainly THAT wife. She was like none I had ever run into before and I (along with most of the other wives) longed to have our previous commander and his wife back in charge.

So please, I beg you. Do not judge other spouses based on the rank of their soldier. The two likely have no correlation. You could be missing out on a great person and friend by judging based on his rank. Look at her for the person SHE is and nothing else.

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Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. My husband joined a company at Ft. Hood in Oct 2008 that was just starting up. None of the other wives would volunteer to be the FRG leader, so against my better judgement I did. I sent out informative e-mails to the addresses I actually had, asked for any volunteers and got nothing back. Then we had a change of command ceremony and everything changed. Our new commander asked my co-leader and myself to lunch with he and his wife, and of course we said yes. At lunch he proceeded to tell me that there is no rank in the FRG and he didn’t want that to be a factor, but (and I quote) “since I’m the commander I want my wife to be the FRG leader.” It was agreed I would become the co-leader, but yet she never let me be involved. She was one of THOSE officer wives as well. If you weren’t an officers’ wife she didn’t socialize with you outside of the FRG and sometimes not even then, and I gave her lots of good ideas for fundraising that she shot down, then brought back as HER idea. She finally decided to try and push me further down the totem pole and I told her that I quit and wouldn’t attend another FRG event she had if my life depended on it. Thankfully in July 09 we PCSed and now I have a great FRG leader and there is no rank involved at all.

  2. Hi I just married my soldier and put him on the plane yesterday for basic. Any information you can give me would be great. I am not sure of what I am getting into. Will he be state side for a while or do they wait a short time then deploy him?? I also have a daughter that is moving with us. I know the summer is going to be long waiting on him but I guess it is part of the package deal. Anyways I am just looking for anything to help keep me prepared for what is happening

  3. Jennifer, congratulations to your husband (and you, the “unsung” spouse-hero). Deployment depends on what unit your husband is attached to once he’s done with his AIT (advanced individual training — follows basic training). You really won’t know if he’s getting deployed until the army selects his unit. Waiting is a part of the army, and take it from me, it doesn’t get easier over time. My husband has been deployed three times (one six-month tour and two year-long tours). In addition, he spent a year on an unaccompanied tour in Korea…yeah, that’s 3 1/2 years apart…not to mention field exercises, month-long training exercises, etc. You will be apart. Just keep the lines of communication open and pray a lot! Hopefully, he won’t get deployed for a while. Good luck.

  4. Holy crap, did your FRG totally fall apart then?? That is ridiculous. We have a whole mix of “ranks” in ours. In the beginning they were asking any wife if she wanted to be FRG leader LOL.
    I have a friend whose husband is a lower rank than my husband and she is far and away a better key caller than I’d ever be 🙂 It depends on the person’s motivation and ability, not husband’s rank. As we wives like to say — WE do not wear a rank.

    1. We left shortly after that so I never found out what the fall-out was from the new leader.

  5. To the poster at Hood-I am not surprised that this happened to you there of all places ( I lived at Hood for several years and officers and their wives definitely run the show) but at least the Commander had the chutzpah to tell you his true feelings to your face. I hope you ordered the most expensive item on the menu at that lunch!

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