Tag Archives: Victoria Terrinoni

Comoros Islands National Day celebrates 47 years of independence from France

The Comoros Islands off the coast of East Africa celebrate National Day on July 6. Just like Independence Day in the United States, Comoros National Day marks the day the islands gained their independence from France.

When the Good Chaplain visited the capitol, Moroni, on the island of Grande Comore, when he deployed to Africa in 2010-2011. The islands only recently gained their independence from France in 1975. A referendum for independence passed with only one of the four main islands — Mayotte voting against it. The other three islands, Grande Comore, Anjouan, and Moheli, voted for the referendum and formed the Union of the Comoros.

A constitutional referendum passed in 2018 eliminated the long standing single five-year presidential term two terms. Since 2001, the presidency rotated among the three islands. The referendum also designated Islam as the state religion and granted the president power to eliminate the three vice presidents — one from each island.

Roughly 98 percent of the population is Muslim, with Sunni Islam as the main branch, with African Arabs making up the majority ethnic group, with 86 percent of the population. The Good Chaplain met one of the few non-Muslims on the islands. This man (whose name is being withheld for his protection) was well-respected and well-known on the islands. “Everyone knew him,” the Good Chaplain said. Comoros is the only Muslim-majority country in Southern Africa.

The man converted from Islam to Christianity while attending school in the United States. He realized he couldn’t find answers about God in the Quran, but were in the Christian Bible and he converted. They imprisoned him for two years when he returned to the island, for converting, but eventually let out of prison and became a well-known member of the community. I’ll tell you more about him in my next book on the Good Chaplain’s African deployment.

Comoros Flag

According to the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Comoros – United States Department of State) put out by the US Department of State, “significant human rights issues” include torture, arbitrary detention, abysmal prison conditions, political prisoners restrictions on free expression, the press and the internet, severe restrictions on religious freedom, corruption, human trafficking, criminalizing same-sex relationships between adults, and forced child labor.

Despite the deplorable human rights conditions, the Comoros Islands is a ‘place of amazingly warm, friendly people, all-around fantastic weather, and world-class beaches,” according to The Unusual Traveler blog. The author of the blog post found the islands to be safe, even when walking around at night. “The biggest danger here is, as always, the traffic,” he wrote.

All-in-all, the Good Chaplain enjoyed his visit to Moroni and I can’t wait to share his trip with you in the next book.

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!

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 Adorable Air Force Brats in Pictures: Month of the Military Child

In honor of the Month of the Military Child, view this slideshow of some of my favorite military children and then please share your own pictures in the comments section.

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 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 soon!

The ever-changing plans of military life are infuriating

Tech Sergeant was supposed to deploy very soon, but now that is on hold. I can only imagine what my daughter, Mrs. Tech Sergeant, feels.

I’m sure she is happy and relieved that he is home longer, but he is not off the hook yet, so I’m also sure she is anxious, wondering when the orders will drop.

The Good Chaplain and I experienced these feelings a few times. However, one event will always stand out to me. The Good Chaplain was going to Guam to support Iraqi/Kurdish refugees, but literally at the last minute — I remember we were walking out the door to go to the airport — the Air Force canceled the trip. Grrrr!

I was angry. You’re wondering why I would be mad? I’ll tell you why. Once the Air Force notified the Good Chaplain of the deployment, I started mentally and emotionally preparing for the separation. I started doing more things independently, detaching myself from my dependence on the Good Chaplain.

I tended to do that. I subconsciously pulled back, especially emotionally. The Good Chaplain wanted to spend quality time and” make memories,” but I felt the goodbye was more painful if we grew closer to each other right before he left. I felt that way towards friends during PCS season as well. I was an absolute joy to be around.

Anyway, as we made preparations for the Good Chaplain’s departure, we heard the mission was shutting down shortly after he arrived. So it made no sense for him to go for a few weeks. So the Good Chaplain raised the question, but the deployment people (whoever they are) claimed it would be a hardship on the present chaplain because it extended his deployment by a few weeks. So the Good Chaplain was going.

But then, on the day of departure, as we prepared to go to the airport, the Good Chaplain’s phone rang. The Air Force canceled the deployment. They said it made no sense for the Good Chaplain to go to Guam when the mission was shutting down in two weeks. Duh!

I was angry that we spent so much time preparing physically, emotionally, and mentally for naught at the last minute and canceled for reasons we brought up earlier.

Gotta love the military!

Until next time,

Vicki

My thoughts and prayers go out to the citizens of Ukraine and for our soldiers and allies amassed on the western border, prepared to fight if necessary.

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!

13 million Ethiopians face famine due to prolonged drought and war but hope is on the horizon

The Good Chaplain visited Ethiopia and Kenya several times during his deployment to East Africa in 2010-11. Now, the area is suffering from massive famine due to several reasons.

“After three consecutive failed rainy seasons, an estimated 13 million people face severe hunger in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. Livestock are dying, crops are failing, and livelihoods are at risk due to the worst drought in decades. As more and more families are forced to move in search of water and pasture, intercommunal conflicts are sure to erupt in their wake.”

Michael Dunford in CTGN.com Feb, 23, 2022
Animals in East Africa are dying because pastures are dried up.

Besides the drought, the East African area is also battling a war in northern Ethiopia, COVID-19, and rising costs due to those factors. With the last three rainy seasons failing to produce enough water, pastures have dried up, animals have died and families moved elsewhere to find food, water, and pasturelands.

According to an article in Times of Africa magazine, the World Food Program estimates about 40 percent of the Tigrayans in Northern Ethiopia are suffering from an extreme lack of food. The conflict between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Ethiopian government began in November 2020 when the Tigrayan forces took control of most of the territory. Tens of thousands of Tigrayans died and millions were displaced, causing a shortage of food in that area and nearby Afar and Amhara.

Tigray is in the far north of Ethiopia. Due to war and extreme drought, the area is experiencing massive famine.

But there is a reason for hope. The International Government Authority on Development’s ICPAC (Climate Prediction and Applications Center) recently predicted a more robust rainy season in East Africa, although parts of Ethiopia in the northeast, may experience less rain than usual. In addition, ICPAC warned that any benefits of a solid rainy season, which runs from March to May, will not be seen immediately.

“The March-to-May rainy season is really, really important for many countries in the region. In the region, it accounts for about 70% of the total annual rainfall. So, obviously if there were to be a renewed failure of the rains, there would be massive socioeconomic consequences.”

Good Rainy Season Forecast for Parts of Drought-Stricken …. https://www.voanews.com/a/good-rainy-season-forecast-for-parts-of-drought-stricken-horn-of-africa/6450948.html

The Good Chaplain experienced drought in Ethiopia when he visited, but it was nothing like the situation now. Please pray for peace and an end to the drought soon for all the people involved.

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!

Russia is threatening my peaceful lifestyle and the Good Chaplain’s retirement

With all that is going on with Russia right now, I wondered if the Good Chaplain could be recalled to active duty if needed. Guess what? The answer is yes.

“Our retirement pay is really a retainer,” the Good Chaplain says. And it is.

If your spouse is retired, there is a line on their DD214 form that says they may be recalled to active duty when necessary. We know it happened once.

In 1991, the Good Chaplain was re-commissioned from the Chaplain Candidate program into the Air Force Reserves. At the time, we lived in a town without a military installation nearby. The first Gulf War was happening, and the local National Guard unit was activated. Two retired colonels, probably in their 70s, were called upon to man the armory. One of them commissioned the Good Chaplain.

It can happen, but I pray it doesn’t. The issues between Russia and Ukraine are ugly. In my opinion, I fear Vladimir Putin is going to try to put the USSR back together and maybe go further into Europe. It reminds me so much of what I have read about Hitler and World War II. I’m scared.

This map shows Russian troops amassed on the border of Ukraine

I’m scared for the Ukrainians. I’m afraid for Eastern Europe, and I’m scared we might end up in another war. Nobody wants that. But by protecting the borders between Ukraine and Poland, Romania, and the rest of our NATO allies, maybe we can avoid a long, protracted war and let Russia know that can’t just grab any land they want. That’s my national pride coming out.

Please just pray with me that the powers on both sides can resolve this issue peacefully with no loss of life. And please pray for those troops, mainly from Ft. Bragg, who are deployed to the region.

Sorry, this is so gloomy today, but it is definitely on my mind. I don’t want the Good Chaplain to come out of retirement. Russia is messing with my peaceful way of life..

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!

Eye-opening Africa deployment taught us both life lessons about hope

In 2010, the Air Force tasked the Good Chaplain to deploy to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. I was so excited for him. What a terrific opportunity to work with people in dire need of help.

The deployment ended up being good for both of us. The Good Chaplain visited several countries in Eastern Africa and met with dignitaries and impoverished people alike. I got to experience life independently without another human being in the house with me.

The Good Chaplain arrived in Djibouti on November 11, 2010. We celebrated Thanksgiving on November 6 since he would be gone for the actual holiday. I imposed myself on my BFF and his family for Thanksgiving, but they didn’t seem to mind. Meanwhile, the Good Chaplain served Thanksgiving dinner to the troops for about two hours.

“It was fun to do chaplain things versus office things,” he said.

Generally, we would both serve at the base dining hall for a few hours and then get together with friends to share a meal on Thanksgiving Day. However, it was a different sort of holiday for both of us.

This deployment was quite different from the first time the Good Chaplain was gone for a holiday. That time he was gone for Christmas, we were in Alaska, and I threw myself one heck of a pity party. That was my most challenging deployment. And to think I got upset when he was gone on Mother’s Day during his Air Force Reserve years. That was nothing.

As he prepared to leave, I instructed the Good Chaplain to make sure he bought gifts from local women who sold their goods to earn a living. And he listened. While not all the presents he brought back were from women, many of them were made by local artisans and beautifully made at that.

This beautiful hand-carved trunk was one of the gifts the Good Chaplain brought back from Africa

We both learned lessons from that deployment. I learned how strong and independent I could be living all by myself. The Good Chaplain saw how faithful, hopeful, and generous people who had nothing (at least in our eyes) were in a part of the world which struggled with extreme poverty, drought, and warfare for many centuries.

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!