Category Archives: Military

A Tribute to Military Fathers Where Ever They May Be

It seems like Father’s Day gets buried in the business of life. I feel like Father’s Day sneaks up on me and then I am scrambling to get cards out. This year is no exception. It’s Wednesday, and I still haven’t mailed the two cards I need to send — to my dad and my deployed son-in-law.

Military Dads are special. They work hard. They play hard. And they make time to strengthen bonds with their family. I know other dads do those things as well, but not at the same time they are protecting our nation.

Military dads are strong, disciplined, focused, resilient, and centered. It is sometimes hard for them to compartmentalize between work and family. And they miss a lot of their children’s special moments because duty comes first.

I know the Good Chaplain always tried to make it up to our daughters if he missed something important, like a school recital or play. But when he was home, he made himself available to the girls, no matter how tired he was after work.

Tyler and the boys making memories!
My favorite military dad!

A military dad takes the time to explain to his children why he gave an order. (Some of them give orders at home too.) He takes time to show them how things work, what he does and who he is. And he takes pride when someone comments on how well behaved his children are. He’s done his job and taught them structure and discipline.

I can’t count the number of times the Good Chaplain said we needed to do something to “make memories” before he left on a deployment. He was right. Remembering the fun we had before he left helped us look forward to making more memories when he got home.

Sometimes the military has to come first, and sometimes the family has to come first. A military dad knows this and figures out a way to balance everything. And when he can’t be there, a military dad transfers his powers to a military mom to carry on until he comes home again.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there. Dad, your card is in the mail. Tyler, you might get yours after the holiday, but we are thinking of you.

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Women in military service uniforms

Applaud military women who have come so far and empower them to do more

To wrap up Women’s History Month, I thought I would share with you some interesting facts and statistics about women in the military.

Since the Department of Defense lifted the ban on women in combat roles in 2015, integrating women is rising slowly, but more women are serving in leadership roles.

The graph below shows the increase in women in the military across the four branches.

Percentage of women serving in the military from 1975 to 2017.
Courtesy of the Pew Research Center

The Center for a New American Security published in March 2020 breaks down how the branches of military are doing with this integration. I won’t bore you with that information, but you can click the link if you want to read it.

The CNAS article also points out the areas the military is weak in bringing in women, namely Special Operations Forces (Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, and Air Force Special Tactics). While these units are now open to women, they have integrated none of them as of 2019, although several women are in the selection process.

And now for some fun facts about Women in the Military courtesy of the USO:

  • Female marines did not attend boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina until 1949.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt established the Navy Nurse Corps in 1908 with 20 women.
  • Hundreds of women took part in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program during WWII.
  • Commander Maureen A. Farren was the first woman to lead the combat ship USS Mount Vernon in 1998.
  • Coast Guard Seaman Ina J. Toavs was the first woman to receive the Coast Guard Medal in 1979.
  • In 1984, Kristine Holdereid graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as valedictorian; the first woman to do so.
  • In 2016, Brig. Gen. Diana Holland was the first female West Point Commandant of Cadets.
  • Navy Nurse Joan C. Bynum became the first black female promoted to rank of Captain.
  • Maternity uniforms came about in the 1970s. Before that, a woman could not serve if she was pregnant.
  • And, finally, 54 women graduated from U.S. service academies in 1980 for the first time.

We women have come a long way from the time when we stayed home taking care of the home front. Thank a female service member today!

Until next time,

Vicki

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse,” available here or by clicking the Shop tab above. Watch for her new book on the Good Chaplain’s Africa deployment coming out in the fall!

Common Sacrifices Military Spouses Make: Are You Ready for the Challenge?

Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices it takes to be a military spouse? Do I really want to uproot my children every few years? Can I come in second behind the military for my husband? What about a career?

Think about what you are willing to sacrifice to be a military spouse.

These are all good questions supplied by some seasoned spouses when I asked what they wished they’d known before becoming a military spouse. Whether you are marrying a military man or your spouse is planning to join, these questions need to be explored. Only you can decide what you are willing to sacrifice by being a military spouse.

The Good Chaplain and I were married for four years when the military came into the picture. We were married 10 years when he came on active duty. But I still needed to answer that question. Was I willing to make sacrifices, such as giving up my full-time job for his career? Luckily, my career was portable, and I could find work if I wanted it.

But what about kids? Every time we move for the military, we are uprooting our children, and they have to start all over again. My girls went to five different schools before graduating from high school. And they got to spend three years at the same high school. Sometimes military families move between junior and senior years. Not fair for most kids.

For the most part, kids are resilient and make friends faster than adults do. But they also have issues with loneliness, homesickness, and missing the friends they already have. If you have children, include them in the decision-making process.

“Am I willing to be satisfied that every flower I plant will soon be someone else’s?”

Kendra V. — military spouse

Another issue to consider is all the moving around. Generally, the Air Force gave us advanced warning of a move, but sometimes it was short notice. When we moved from Alabama to Alaska, we had a month. In that month, the Good Chaplain went on a temporary duty assignment, we traded in our travel trailer for a new one, we sold my minivan, and the Good Chaplain performed a wedding in Illinois. It’s amazing how much you can get done in a short time if you have to. But you need to determine if this is something you are willing to do.

Of course, making new friends is on this list as well. It is hard to forge friendships at one base, only to start again at another station. And if you are introverted, it is even harder. So you have to decide if you are willing to make an effort to build new relationships knowing it may only be for a few years.

I once knew a colonel’s wife, who told me she didn’t make friends anymore because it hurt too much when they moved. Even early in my husband’s military career, I thought that was the saddest thing I’d ever heard. You never know when that BFF is right around the corner.

Couples need to decide together whether the military is right for them and their family.

There is so much to think about when contemplating whether to marry a military man or if your spouse is considering joining the military. These are not easy questions, and each person/couple needs to determine what is right for them.

Next week, I will try to answer the question of going solo while being married.

Until then,

Vicki

Do you have an opinion about this piece? Or more questions? Reply in the comments below.