Tag Archives: Military Spouse

Goodbye for now!

I’m taking the month of July off from this blog, social media, and my newsletter so I can spend time with family, friends, and traveling. I’ll be back in August.

Until then,

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 soon!

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 soon!

How to layout my new book. Take a poll to help.

The best advice I ever got as a reporter and writer was “Puke it out and clean it up later.” It means get your thoughts, stories, articles or whatever down on paper and then go back to edit and make it look pretty. Do you think I can do that?

Not a chance. With my new book about the Good Chaplain’s deployment to Africa, I’m trying to get the rough draft done, but every time I sit down to write, I think about previous sections and how I can improve them.

First person or third person?

I’m also confused whether it is better in the first person or third person. Some parts work well in the third person, but the rest of it seems to lend itself to the first person. Right now, I am leaning toward the first person.

The second dilemma is how to organize the book. You all can help me with that. Should I set up the book by month, or by country? I started out by country, then set it up by month. The issue with the country route is he visited some countries more than once. But I can fix that easily.

By month, country, or people?

Or, and here is the big question — should I set up the book with each chapter a story of the people he met? Now I’m thinking maybe this is the way to go. The working title is “East Africa: Stories of Hope and Faith.” Maybe a little less of what the Good Chaplain did and more about the people’s story is the way to go.

Your help with this will allow me to write the best book possible to inspire, educate, and entertain my readers.

Thanks for your time and input.

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 soon!

My own military brats

Military Children Can Find Comfort from Books Written Just For Them

April is the Month of the Military Child, so this week I thought I would provide you with a list of books written specifically for military children. Disclosure: I have not read all of them and I have no affiliation with any of the authors or books.

Here is a list of the books. Buy them wherever you buy your books.

  • “I’ll Lend You My Daddy: A Deployment Book for Kids Ages 4-8,” by Becky King and Cynthea Liu
  • “Night Catch,” by Brenda Ehrmantraut and Vicki Wehrman
  • “Lily Hates Goodbyes (All Military Version),” by Jerilyn Marler and Nathan Stoltenberg
  • “I Will Be Okay: Adventures of a Military Kid,” by Amy Schweizer
  • “Momma’s Boots,” by Sandra Miller Linhart and Tahna Marie Desmond; and “Daddy’s Boots”
  • “When You Are Away” by Dominque James Ed.D
  • “I’m A Dandelion: A PCS Story for Military Children,” by Brooke Mahaffey and Lidiia Mariia Nyz
  • “Superheroes’ Kids: When Dad is Deployed,” by Heather Carson and Angelica Rose Jacquez
  • “Why Do We Have to Move?: A Book for Military Kids,” by Tara Scott
  • “Hero Mom,” by Melinda Hardin and Bryan Lando
  • “The Adventures of a Military Brat: The Big Move,” by Johanna Gomez and Daniel Gomez
  • “On the Month of the Military Child Purple Up!” by Military Child

Some books for older children by “military brats” include:

  • “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress,” by Mary Edwards Wertsch
  • “Growing Up Military,” by Marc Curtis
  • “9 Rules of Engagement: A Military Brat’s Guide to Life and Success,” by Harris Faulkner
  • “All You Need Is Love: Memoirs of a Military Brat,” by John Thomas Young
My military “brats!”

As we celebrate our children and their resilience, this month talk to them about how they feel about being a military child and really listen. The answers might surprise 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 soon!

Women’s long history of commitment to the U.S. military

Editor’s Note: Information for this article was gathered from this source.

Military spouses know the importance of what they do to support their significant other, but did you know that women have been supporting the United States military since the Revolutionary War?

March is Women’s History Month, so I thought it would be fun to explore women’s role in the military. I hope you find it interesting. And if you know a woman who has made significant strides in the military cause, living or deceased, let me know to include her.

Liberty Bell, a symbol of the Revolutionary War

Women have served in the military since the Revolutionary War. Back then, women followed their soldiers into battle and served vital roles in helping boost morale, mend clothes, helping the wounded, cook, doing laundry, and cleaning cannons. Some women disguised themselves as men to get into the battle. Others took on the dangerous task of spying for the Continental Army. Whatever their role, these women were integral parts of the war effort.

Civil War flags

In the Civil War, almost 20,000 women helped by growing crops, cooking in Army camps, sewing, laundry, and organizing fundraising campaigns. During this time, women’s role as a nurse increased significantly, with 3,000 women serving as nurses for the Union Army. Again, many women disguised themselves as men to fight in the battles on both sides.

The United States established the official Army Nurse Corps in 1901. When World War I broke out, the ANC had 403 nurses, but more than 3,000 American nurses were working in British hospitals in France one year into the war.

However, WWI is also notable because it was the first time women – who did not yet have the right to vote – were allowed to openly serve in the U.S. military.

USO

Women also enlisted in the Navy to replace men sent overseas to fight and served as clerks, telephone and radio operators, and translators. The U.S. Army Signal Corps also enlisted women to work as telephone and switchboard operators. Many of these women worked very close to the front lines in France.

All branches of the U.S. military opened up the ranks to women during World War II with the Women’s Army Corps (WACS), the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPS), the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS).

Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

Most of the jobs these women did were non-combat such as clerical work, driving vehicles, repairing airplanes, cryptology, radio and telephone operators, rigged parachutes, and test-flying airplanes. And, of course, nurses on the front lines.

Women were officially allowed to serve as permanent members of all branches of the U.S. in 1948 when President Harry S. Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. The act was an important step forward, but it had its limitations. Only 2 percent of each branch could be women, they were not allowed to command men or serve in combat, and if a woman became pregnant, it was an automatic discharge. Black women and men could serve equally in all branches after President Truman issued the Integration of the Armed Forces executive order a month after signing the act allowing women to serve. In 1950, 120,000 women served on active duty when the Korean War broke out.

President Truman signed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in 1948.

In 1967 during the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson promoted women to general, and in 1972, women were allowed to command units of men. In 1975, pregnancy was no longer an automatic discharge from the military.

Ann Dunwoody, first four-star general in the Army.

Since then, we’ve seen a lot of firsts for women. The first female Navy fighter pilot (Capt. Rosemary Mariner), the first female four-star general in the Army (Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody), the first female rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard (Chief Petty Officer Karen Voorhees), and the first female Silver Star medal recipient (Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester) since World War II during the Iraq War.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton allowed women to serve in all positions in the military except direct ground combat. But in 2013, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on combat roles allowing women to serve in all aspects of the military. As a result, women now make up 16 percent of the enlisted force across the branches and 18 percent of the officer corps.

Throughout the ages, women of the United States have proven to be a substantial force when it comes to protecting the Stars and Stripes.

Until next time,

Vicki

Send me the names and branches of women you know serving/served in the military and at the end of the month I will post a roll call of those names.

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 soon!

Being a kept woman was satisfying and fun while it lasted

Someone once asked me what I do for a living, and I quickly replied, “I am a kept woman.”

Let me put out there that the Good Chaplain has never endorsed this view. But especially in the last part of his career, I didn’t work for financial gain. I lived off him.

The dictionary doesn’t define “kept woman,” but I have my own. A kept woman is a woman who does nothing but play. She doesn’t work outside the home for money and, she has no children, or they are grown up and out of the house. This last point is crucial. Stay-at-home moms are not kept women because of the very idea that they are raising children. She is not free to go out when she pleases and frequently needs to be home when the kids get home from school. Too many restrictions to be considered a kept woman. Sorry, stay-at-home moms. Your day will come.

Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA production on Pexels.com

Don’t get me wrong, though. My definition of a kept woman is not what you see in movies like “Goodfellas,” where the mobsters all have a woman on the side stashed away in a penthouse living in the lap of luxury. I’m a military spouse. I don’t think anyone considers our lifestyle luxurious.

Photo by Jou00e3o Gustavo Rezende on Pexels.com

I didn’t become a kept woman until we moved to Alaska the second time in 2006. It was the last time I had a paying job, and my girls were in college. The lifestyle fits my definition. I came and went as I pleased. I joined various organizations such as the Spouse Club, squadron spouse groups, the women’s group at the chapel, and others. I volunteered, mainly at the Thrift Shop on different bases.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Sometimes I felt guilty about being a kept woman since it required the Good Chaplain to supply all my money to have fun. But he didn’t seem to mind. He always reminded me that it was “our” money and that I contributed in other ways like cooking meals and cleaning the house (insert hysterical laughter here). I hate housework, but I couldn’t justify hiring a cleaning service while I lolled around all day as a kept woman.

Now that I’ve published a book and am working on a second one, along with writing this blog, I’m not sure if I can still call myself a kept woman. The Good Chaplain put up the seed money for the first book, but I am making some money off it, so I am technically bringing in some income, so the answer is no. But it was fun while it lasted.

Until next time,

Vicki

Do you aspire to be a kept woman? Are you one already? Let me know in the comment section below.

Victoria Terrinoni is the author of Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse. She followed the Good Chaplain around for 31 years as a military spouse. To purchase her book, go to the Buy Here tab on this website.

Happy New Year!

The New Year is a time for reflection and a time to move forward toward your goals. So whether you are looking for new PCS orders, just joining the military, or finally retiring, I hope and pray 2022 is a great year for you.

Until next time (and next year!),

Vicki

How military spouses stepped in to help during the chickenpox epidemic

Remember not to scratch!

Chickenpox. It is a word that puts fear in the minds of all parents. They dreaded the thought of oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. And itchy, miserable kids. But, the parents also wanted to get it over with, so sometimes they would purposely expose their children to get it done. Today, many parents get to experience this because of the vaccine.

I was happy when Illinois Girl and Mrs. Tech Sergeant waited until the Good Chaplain came on active duty because I did not work outside the home. A year earlier, and it could have spelled disaster for us.

And thank God it happened at Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, at a time when all the children in the neighborhood came down with chickenpox in a month. The epidemic perfectly portrayed what happens when military spouses step up to help each other out.

Creepy fire ants. They bite, and it hurts!

It started the day after I took a group of kids to the lake to see the geese. As we were walking home, one little girl stepped in a fire anthill. I quickly brushed off the ants and carried her to her house. The next day her mom called to say she had chickenpox. How do you get from fire ants to chickenpox? Clearly, they were separate incidents. The evening of the biting, the little girl was complaining that her stomach itched. Thinking maybe an ant had made it up that high, her mother lifted her shirt to find her covered in chickenpox. Her other two kids also came down with the pox soon afterward.

Kids started dropping like flies. We went a week before I noticed a spot on Mrs. Tech Sergeant’s chest and one on her back. Were they chickenpox? I waited a few days to see what would happen. No change. I called the neighborhood pediatrician, who came over. He couldn’t tell either but said if we gave her a warm bath, the blisters would probably come out if it was chickenpox. So I left the girls in the care of the Good Chaplain while I went with a neighbor on a hunt for oatmeal bath. When I returned, the rose was in full bloom.

For the next several days and nights, I stayed with my little blossom, making sure she didn’t scratch herself. We both felt stir-crazy. I called the doctor to ask if she could play outside. “Every neighborhood child is in a stage of chickenpox. As long as she isn’t running a fever, out she goes,” he said.

Unfortunately, she ran a fever on Halloween and couldn’t go trick-or-treating. If she’d felt well, she might have minded.

John Lennon had it right!

In the meantime, we mothers were near desperation with our itchy kids home from school for days on end. While our little ones napped or watched television, we would gather on porches to commiserate and cheer each other on. A nip of alcohol also might have occurred. Those whose children were further along in the epidemic assured the rest of us that it would be better soon. It was nice to talk to adults. And, of course, we ran errands for each other and kept everyone well stocked with oatmeal bath, passing along partially used boxes and buying more as needed.

As the epidemic wound down in the neighborhood, I realized Illinois Girl still hadn’t come down with them. Finally, both girls went to school on the first Monday in November, and that evening, sure enough, “Mommy, my stomach itches.” Here we go again. Illinois Girl’s case was twice as bad as her sister’s, but she recovered twice as fast. The following Monday, mothers in the neighborhood thanked God as all 20 children headed back to school.

We pulled together, helped one another, and made sure we each made it through with our sanity intact. That’s what we military spouses do.

Until next time,

Vicki

September 11, 2001: The Most Devastating Day in My Life

I’m sure every blogger in America is writing about September 11, 2001, this week. Can you stand to read another one?

We all have stories about that fateful day. It is on the scale of the attack on Pearl Harbor for my parents’ generation. Here is my story.

The alarm radio went off at the usual 7 a.m. time, but this time the DJs were talking about a plane crashing into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. We just moved to Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Central Coast of California in late July. I jumped out of bed and turned on the television in our room. Just then, the second airline jet crashed into the second tower. The Good Chaplain uttered an expletive.

“We’re under attack,” he said. And with that visual and those words, I knew our world was about to change forever.

Lots of questions arose about our plans for the day. Our twin daughters were getting ready for school. Should they go? I also was to go to their school to speak to the journalism class about freelance writing. Would classes still be held? We knew the Good Chaplain would be in demand.

We called the school. Classes were still being held, but it was up to the parents if they wanted their children to attend or not. Part of our quandary was whether the girls could get back onto the base after school. I was driving them to school, but they would ride the bus home. Would the base be shut down — no one allowed on or off — by the time school let out?

The Good Chaplain called the base command post and asked the question.

“I know we will be going to Delta. Will my daughters be able to get back on base this afternoon, after school?” he asked. Force Protection Condition Delta is the highest level the base could go, which basically means a terrorist attack has occurred or is imminent. A terrorist attack definitely happened on U.S. soil that day.

“Sir, we are not in Delta,” the person on the other end of the phone line said.

“I know that, but we will be soon. I just need to know if my kids will be able to get back on base after school.”

“Sir, we don’t know that we will be going to Delta.”

The Good Chaplain sighed. “Okay, sure. Will my kids be allowed back on base after school. We’re trying to decide if we should send them or not.”

“Sir, the buses will be allowed back on base,” the command post person said.

“Thank you. That’s all I needed to know,” said the Good Chaplain.

We did end up going to school, and the girls could get back on the base, even though the base did go to Delta. I gave my talk, but we mostly talked about what was happening in New York and the Pentagon by that time. As a journalist, I really wanted to be in the thick of the story. But as a mom, wife, and military spouse, I was scared of what was to come and saddened that this happened in my country.

Strangely, the events on 9/11 did not hit me until another plane crash in Queens in November 2001. Then, I remember crying and going into the bedroom to tell the Good Chaplain.

“Another plane crashed in New York City,” I said.

“Was it another terrorist attack?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, but the plane crashed into some buildings,” I said.

Then I sat down and cried. I cried for the 260 people on board and the five on the ground who died. And, I finally cried for all those that died on 9/11 on the most devastating day of my life.

Until next time,

Vicki

Super Exciting News! My Book is Ready to Publish

Hey everyone. I’m taking a little different track with this blog. Many of you may know that I am writing and self-publishing a book for military spouses based on my 31 years as an Air Force Spouse.

I’m so excited that the book should be for sale on Amazon by the end of April. It’s called “Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse.”

This is a mock-up of the book cover.

In the book, I use lots of things I’ve learned along the way to help military spouses, particularly new spouses, navigate the strange and wonderful world of the military. The book is filled with many crazy stories, some funny and some serious, about issues I covered in this blog.

Now that the book is coming out, I have many more stories that didn’t make it into the book that I plan to share with you for the next several blogs. Stories like the time a two-star general came up to our table to chat during a base social function. For some reason, the conversation turned to politics. This Major General discussed how much he admired President Barak Obama. Then he said, “But I suppose you are supporters of President Bush.”

I replied, “Yes, Sir. I supported George H. W. Bush in each of his campaigns for President, and I am a huge supporter of George W.” But I couldn’t leave it at that.

I looked at the Major General and said, “But we respect other people’s opinions, no matter how wrong they are.”

The Good Chaplain went apoplectic, but the Major General simply laughed, excused himself, and walked away. We are still friends with that Major General today.

Sometimes my mouth speaks a thought before my brain can process it.

I will keep you up-to-date on the book launch. In the meantime, be prepared to be regaled with more such stories from my life as a military spouse.

Until then,

Vicki

When have you put your foot in your mouth? Share your stories in the comment section below.