Tag Archives: Eielson AFB

How Alaskan Winters Provided my Crazy Kids Adventurous Christmas Breaks

This time of year, when we lived at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, the girls prepared to go back to college in Illinois. It was bittersweet. I missed my girls, but I enjoyed the quiet once I had the house back to myself.

Every Christmas for the three years we lived in Fairbanks, the girls, the Good Chaplain’s mom, and Soccer Stud came to visit. One year they also brought a college friend. They participated in the Christmas revelry of the base and enjoyed the novelty of minus 40 temperatures.

Soccer Stud especially liked the subzero temperatures. On the coldest night, we all bundled up and went to the marquee at the high school on base for a picture under the temperature readings. On his first visit, I promised Soccer Stud’s mom that I wouldn’t let him do anything stupid. But on his first morning, he went onto our snow-covered deck in boots, shorts, and no shirt to take a picture next to the outdoor thermometer! Boys!

Soccer Stud & Illinois Girl in front of the marquee showing minus 44 temperatures.

While the Good Chaplain’s mom would stay bundled up inside our cozy home, the kids played in the great outdoors, exploring much of what an Alaskan winter had to offer. They went dog-sledding, cross country skiing, sledding, and even learned the fine art of curling.

Mrs. Tech Sergeant bundled up for her dog-sled ride.

We took them to visit neighbors. They went with us to Christmas parties and even joined us for the annual New Year’s Eve bonfire on the lake. Yes, the fire was actually built on the lake. It was a little unnerving to hear the ice cracking beneath your feet from the heat of the fire, but the lake was frozen solid, and no danger existed. Finally, after toasting the New Year at midnight, we went home and to bed.

The kids enjoyed the New Year’s Eve bonfire on the lake.

The Chena Hot Springs highlighted one year. It was minus 40 something, but we all donned our swimsuits and headed to the natural hot springs. Since it was so cold out, our hair would freeze in funny compositions. Soccer Stud’s hair was down to his shoulders that year, and as he stood up after getting it wet, it froze at odd angles, sticking up here and there. A group of Japanese tourists started giggling and pointing to him, saying, “Godzilla!” At six-foot-three inches tall with funky hair, he was quite a sight.

All too soon, the vacation was over. The kids and Mom packed up and went to the airport for the early morning flight to Chicago. We gave them props for wanting to visit in the dead of winter and looked forward to the following Christmas when more winter fun would be had.

Until next time,


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It’s Party Time: The Social Life of a Military Spouse

Social involvement, to me, is essential for a chaplain’s spouse. Or any military spouse for that matter. Back in the day, some activities were “required.” Mostly those involving the base commander or other higher-ups. Today, the amount of socializing you do is up to you, but there might be some “expected” events to attend.

To support your chaplain spouse, I recommend you attend as many chapel activities and chaplain get-togethers as possible. At least get to know your fellow chaplain spouses and members of the congregations. They want to know you and love you. Many chapel-goers look at you as someone in whom they can confide.

The Minot AFB logo represents the two missions of the base — bombers and missiles.

When we lived in Minot, North Dakota, our chaplain spouses were all close friends. We exercised together; we did crafts together; we went out to lunch together. Rarely was one spouse seen without another one by her side. I’d never had that experience before that assignment, nor since.

The same goes for non-chaplain spouses. Attend as many squadron functions as you can. By getting to know other spouses in the squadron, you open up the possibilities of great friendships from people who understand your situation.

Squadron parties are for chaplain spouses too. As a chaplain, your spouse is assigned to different squadrons to work with, and these squadrons usually have a spouse group that you can join. I liked doing things with the units because I got to know the people the Good Chaplain talked about. At least, I knew their spouses.

18th Fighter Squadron logo, the Blue Fox.

My first experience with a squadron spouse group was at Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, Alaska. In the 90s, the Good Chaplain worked with the F-16 Squadron, the Blue Foxes. Before we were even in our house, a group of the spouses picked me up from our temporary lodging facility for an evening of fun. I had a blast and felt welcomed and accepted right away. Craziness reigned with these ladies (we were all women at that time), called the Foxy Ladies.

Be prepared for Christmas parties — lots of Christmas parties. Spouses do not need to attend each party, but they can be fun. Just beware, for the chaplain, it is often a pay-to-pray situation. The squadron, group, wing, etc. may request a prayer from the chaplain but don’t always offer to pay for his/her meal.

When we were in Minot, one Christmas season, we attended 16 Christmas parties. At one event, a Colonel asked me how we could afford all these parties because he saw us at most of the same parties he was at, and knew what he paid. The Good Chaplain was a Captain at the time and making considerably less money. We knew the season was coming up, so we set aside money just for this time of year.

As the Good Chaplain grew in rank and we aged, I chose which functions I would attend and which I would not. I always decided on the ones I knew would be the most fun.

Till next time, 


Posted by Victoria TerrinoniJune 18, 2020Posted inMilitary SpouseTags:Eielson AFBGood ChaplainMinot AFBPartySocial LifeEditIt’s Party Time: The Social Life of a Military Spouse