Any Air Force (or Military) Wives on here?


#1

Hi everyone.

Yesterday, was one of the toughest and saddest days of my life as I saw my husband (username mschrank on here) off to BMT for 6 weeks. The week prior to him leaving, tears continuously welded up in my eyes when I thought about his upcoming departure and yesterday, I balled on the long drive back home I made after seeing him off at the airport. Air Force BMT is at Lackland, AFB, San Antonio, TX.

My husband and I live in a suburb of Chicago. We were married November 3rd, 2007, and are now expecting our honeymoon baby to arrive August 10th. My husband is going in as an E-3 due to his college degree and he will become a ground linguist. So his techincal school will be in Monterey, CA at the DLI. His graduation from BMT is set for the last weekend of May, and I am already counting down the days until I fly down to San Antonio (43 days and counting)! When I go, I will be nearly 7 months pregnant, so talk about a sweat fest with the high temperatures and humidity down there! Ha! But it will be well worth it!

I am so proud of my husband’s decision to enter the Air Force as a linguist and support him 100%, but that does not change the fact that I miss him like crazy already! I miss waking up next to him in the morning, hearing his voice, feeling his touch…it is just tough and it is only the first full day of not seeing him. Yesterday, he called me from the airport before his flight left and we both were fighting back the tears with our voices quivering.

He asked me to pray two Rosaries each day that he is at Basic as he will most likely not have time to do that. We have been praying the daily Rosary together since before our engagement! So yesterday, on the drive back home, I prayed the second Rosary for him and am making it into a Novena Rosary but to last for 40 days.

Are there any Air Force or military wives on this forum who can give me some words of encouragement during this separation from my husband? I am a housewife and expecting our first baby in less than 4 months.

Good thing for me, we live only 20 miles from my parents/sister/and other family members, so I will be visiting and chatting with them on a regular basis. In fact, yesterday when I came home from seeing Matthew off, I stopped to visit my mom. Oh and we have a 6 month old German Shepherd puppy who is a great companion and protector for me.

Well, I would just appreciate some words of encouragement and prayers! Prayers for my husband, my baby, and myself. Thanks!!!


#2

I am not a military wife, but my sister is. I can give you the advice that I saw her doing when her husband was gone. He is a fighter pilot and was in Kosovo for 11 months (this was before they had children so her situation was a little different) but she kept busy. If I’m understanding your post correctly y’all are not on base yet??? But each time my sister moves to a new base (or post right now as they’re at Ft. Leavenworth) is get involved with the other wives on base, get involved with any women’s groups at your parish, stay busy. I think the idea of praying the two Rosaries if fantastic!!! Keeps Christ the center of your marriage. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!!! Don’t be afraid to be sad that he’s gone.

Hopefully some of these suggestions are helpful. I’m sure there will be many more fabulous suggestions for other military wives on this forum.

Above all, thank YOU AND YOUR husband for your service. One thing I fully appreciate is it’s not only the person in the military that are serving our country but it is the family as well. Please know that your family and your husband as well as the families of all service members are constantly in my prayers.

Blessings to you!!!


#3

Hey, I went to DLI! But, I was in the Army at the time.

Hardest academic thing I’ve ever done.

Monterey, and the Presidio, as really beautiful. Well, they were in '81. The view from the top of the hill looking down at the bay was spectacular. They’ve done a lot of building in the last ten years, too.

Good Luck. Separations are hard.


#4

Well, dear, I am not, nor have I ever been, a military wife, but I spent eight years in the Air Force, and I know what Basic Training is like.

Something you may want to bear in mind is that he is going to be so busy, that not only will he not have time to pray Rosaries (if he gets in a “Dear God, please help me to make it through this day” first thing in the morning, he’ll be doing good), he probably won’t even have time to write very often, at least at first. This does NOT mean that he is ignoring you! What this means is that he literally doesn’t have time to write, call, or do anything other that what they’re telling him to do. In Air Force Basic, you don’t even use the latrine unless you are scheduled to. :slight_smile:

You, on the other hand, have a great opportunity to do something for him that will do more than anything else to help keep him going: you need to write to him, often. I mean like every other day. Mail from home when you’re in Basic Training is more important than blood, and I’m not kidding. I cannot impress on you how important this is. Mail from you might very well determine whether he makes it or doesn’t…that’s how vital it is. When you see other guys getting lots of mail from home, and you get none, it’s the lowest feeling you’ve ever had in your life. So you need to write to him constantly! Every other day, at least!

It doesn’t matter what you tell him in these letters. Tell him what you had for breakfast, what the weather is like, whether you felt the baby move, what your mother and you talked about when you went shopping----anything. Always stress how much you love him, how proud you are of him, how much you support him, how much you miss him. This stuff is tremendously necessary for him to hear. These letters will not only help you, by getting your feelings out on paper, it will help him even more, trust me.

Sending him small snapshots of you will help, too, but make them small, and not too many—he only has a small space in the back of a drawer in his locker for personal items, so don’t be trying to send him a 3’X5’ framed portrait or anything; he has nowhere to hang it, and they’ll just confiscate it anyway and return it to him when he ships out for Tech School upon graduation. :slight_smile:

Do not be upset or discouraged if you don’t hear from him right away. They will allow him to write a “Dear Mom” card, telling you that he has arrived and is safe, but then they’ll purposely restrict his mail (both sending and receiving) for about a week, to see how well he does. Don’t panic. He’ll get the chance to write to you, but you have to be patient. The first week of Basic Training, you don’t even blow your nose unless you’re given express permission, and that includes writing letters as well.

Hang in there, kiddo—it’s going to be a tough time, but you’ll both make it. Tell him that an Old Vet (me) said that once you’re out of Basic, the whole thing becomes much, much easier. :slight_smile:


#5

I am an AF veteran (10 years active, 6 guard, fought in Desert Storm) and I am originally from TX. I recently moved to Northern CA so I am quite familiar with both San antonio and now monterey. (we have a membership to the aquarium) If you have any specific questions I would be happy to answer. I keep in touch with folks still in and my oldest son is in the army in Iraq right now.

I think your husband is doing a noble thing and the time will pass quickly in basic. be prepared as he will have few opportunities to call and little time to write. once he goes to tech school in monterey things will ease up a bit but he will have a pretty intense academic schedule so make sure you are ready to support him being in class all day, studying and/or doing homework in the evenings and having to take his turn even on the weekend with the various student “details” (tasks/chores, etc.) that the students have to perform/attend. once you get to your first duty station it gets easier.

may st michael protect your family, the blessed virgin pray for you and God bless you.:slight_smile:

you’ll be fine, don’t worry


#6

What Wolseley and majick275 said.

I am prior service Navy, but my ex was from San Antonio, my best friend of 31 years is from San Antonio, and the Navy though San Antonio was a good duty station for me.

Hang in there. Prayers are on their way to you. And tell mschrank we are so very proud of him.


#7

Wolseley,
How could you forget to tell her to send cookies???

Seriously, I was military too… and what Wolseley said about mail… totally true… write twice a day! I actually got the first piece of mail in my flight… The others got totally jealous when I had to go to the post office to pick up a package my husband sent overnight to me with pictures and a book…

Send his favorite cookies, but not too many… enough that he can share and eat it all in one sitting… you can’t have any food in the barracks!!! Send him stamps, pictures, and funny letters…


#8

17 years and counting…Army.

Stay involved in your normal activities as much as possible. I know Ft Sheridan was part of the downsizing (I think it is a reserve post now), but Great Lakes Naval Base should still be open, avail yourself of the medical care and savings at the comissary & exchange there. Contact his recruiter if they have not already gotten you an ID card.

When dh was gone with a unit from another post I took advantange of the ‘virtual FRG’ for the army (armyfrg.org) but I think that they call the support groups for the Airforce something other than ‘Family Readiness Group’, so I am not sure how to find them.

I understand that it is rough right now, but for all the reasons you miss him right now, you will love him all the more for when he returns!

Just a heads up (because I learned the hard way) he will not receive a full paycheck this month (actually on 1 May), so budget accordingly. Google military pay or look on the armytimes web site (the payscales are the same for any service e-3 with less than so many months), so that you know what you will really have to work with and consider taxes. Often the recruiters quote the pay with the value of our benefits (which are fabulous BUT not actual money).

Welcome to the ranks of military wives, I pray that your marriage will be as blessed as ours! The Army has been a good life for us.


#9

First of all, I thank each and everyone of you for posting thus far! These were all great posts that mean a lot to me during this time! The way I look at my husband entering the Air Force is that we are expanding our family…so now I not only belong to the great family of the Church, my own natural family, but also the Air Force family! I really do love and support all of my wonderful family members…including all of you! So thanks again for your kind and encouraging words!

Nanny, thank you for your prayers, your suggestions, and your sharing the story of your sister being a military wife! You are correct that I am currently not living on base. I will be able to move to Monterey and live with my husband off base when he there for his tech training since it will exceed 20 weeks, but I think I cannot go out there until one month after he first arrives there (which will be June 2nd or so), as he has to live on base for the first month. (Maybe one of you AF Vets could be helpful with more information regarding that?). I am determined to pray constantly for my husband and besides the Rosary, I began a work novena to St. Joseph last night as my husband has a special devotion to that Saint. I do plan to begin attending the Bible Study at the parish I used to attend with my father before I married and moved. It is such a great Francisican parish with priests and brothers who I consider living Saints. I am going to contact my old spiritual Father there and ask him when he will resume the weekly Bible study as I know he was planning to begin one again this April. Since it is so close to my parents’ house, I will use the opportunity to stop by and visit them those evenings as well :slight_smile:

I also have to continue training our puppy. I am so thankful we bought him when we were first married, as he is such a great friend and good company! This past Saturday, he graduated Basic Obedience class, and my husband encouraged me to enroll him in the Advanced class so that would give me another place to visit with people while he is away. So I am going to consider doing that. Oh and then there is my upcoming baby shower that my dearest mother and sister will be throwing for me, so I have that to look forward to too! And I think I should seriously consider having my grandma teach me to crochet and one of my aunts to teach me to knit so that will give me some more hobbies. I am also a book worm and have the desire to become a Civil War buff so I can go into long digressions to my husband about it as he goes into long ones about political theory to me…hehe.

You know, just writing these things down and sharing them with all of you has made me feel much better! I really am a blessed wife and now mother to be!

Thanks!


#10

First of all, I’d also like to thank you and your husband for your service. I know all too well how difficult it can be, but your sacrifice is greatly appreciated by more people than you’ll ever know!

My best friend has been married to a Marine for 6 years now. They’ve moved more times than I can count, including one move to Okinawa for 2.5 years before they came back to the States last month. In the time they’ve been married he has been deployed 4 times; the shortest deployment being 9 months long. During his deployments my friend has dealt with the following: the birth of both of their children, the death of her brother in Iraq, her son being diagnosed with hemophilia, and her own diagnosis and battle with pancreatic cancer. I ask her all the time how she’s managed to get through it. This is from an email I had from her a few months ago…

There were days when I felt like saying ‘I give up’ and getting on a plane and running home to mom and dad. But then I’d always be reminded of how blessed I am. There are so many women whose husbands won’t be coming home, and so many more women who don’t survive cancer. And I’m healthy now and have such a kind husband who loves me and loves our kids.

It would be easy to blame the Marine Corps for all of our problems, but honestly we wouldn’t be as strong as we are without all the trials we’ve faced. In 10 years we’ll be retiring and will be able to live wherever we want. I look forward to that knowing that we’ll appreciate it so much more because of the time we’ve spent apart.

I tell you all this to show you that it can be done! It sounds like you have a great support system of friends and family - that is invaluable! And it’s beautiful that you’re praying your husband’s rosary for him every day. I’ve learned from my best friend that small things like that will help you stay connected during separations. Also, take pictures of everything! Even silly little everyday things - during long separations he will really treasure those and during short ones he will want to see what your day to day life was like when he was away. If you can send him emails or letters or care packages, put lots of thought into what you can include that will make him smile. I’m sure y’all have some inside jokes or something? Just anything that will remind him that you’re thinking about him.

Also, once your new baby arrives it’s a great idea to invest in a video camera and take lots of videos of your husband and the baby together. My best friends’ kids LOVED watching the videos of them with their daddy whenever he would be gone for an extended period. Before he left for his last deployment, he even made a video for each of them reading them books and talking about how much he loved and missed them. It was very sweet and really helped the kids a lot.

I know it’s tempting to sort of wallow in self-pity. But staying busy and finding things that you enjoy doing while he’s away will help you. I know women who have routines of going to a spa or a movie or shopping or something the first day of a deployment, just so that they would have something about that day to look forward to at least a little. Try to think of stuff you like to do, but he doesn’t enjoy so much, and get involved in that while he’s gone. Once you live on a base, get involved in the wives’ clubs and you’ll never have a shortage of things to do because everyone else will be in your position, plus the older and more experienced wives can help you navigate the intricacies of military life.

Above all, remember that you’re never alone. Many, many people are praying for every single serviceman and their families, including you! God bless you!


#11

Wolseley, thanks for your post!

Yesterday, one of the Sgts informed me about how Matthew will be allowed to only speak 3 minutes to me the first time he calls which should be anytime this weekend (most likely Sunday). The Sgt. asked, “Do you know he loves you?” “Of course!” He then said, “Well remember that because when he calls he might not even have time to say those words to you, but just know that he does and misses you like crazy as he is definitely NOT having a picnic down in TX.” He also told the recruits that they can expect their voice to be all shaky when they call home and on the verge of crying as their first days are a rude wake up calling. He even said that when he joined 17 years ago when he was 19, during his first phone call to his mom, he began crying! He then went on to share with us some horror stories of his BMT time, like being yelled at constantly by the TI, not being allowed to have coke or snack food at all unless the TI gave permission, and receiving letters/mail when the TI decided. So yeah, I know it is going to be tough for my husband. Much tougher than what I am going through back home! I also know that he will not have the time to write me long letters each day, but that is not stopping me from writing him those! I already began one last night and am going to now go sit out in our sunny backyard and continue it. I plan to write him every day and as soon as I receive his address, he will be getting a load of letters delivered! I love writing and actually, he and I met through a different Catholic forum (Catholic-pages) so our friendship began through long, long emails to each other. So I know how much he loves reading my letters as I cherish each one of his.

Thanks again for all the advice and support!!!


#12

Felicity, I just read your post! God bless your best friend! So many crosses to endure! She is certainly a blessed soul and I am now saying a prayer for her and her family. I pray also that I could be as strong and courageous as her if I ever face such trials. Thanks again for sharing that story and all of the advice!


#13

Mholoth, thanks for the heads up about the first paycheck. I actually just read about that this morning on an AF website. It is great to hear that you consider the Army to be a good life for you and your family. I hope my life in the Air Force is as blessed!


#14

Hi Blessed-wife, I have no experience with the military at all…so no advice to give, just a:hug3: and prayers for you, DH, new baby…and the puppy. God Bless.


#15

Thanks Mary Gail! :slight_smile:


#16

My first phone call home from Basic Training, I broke down and just sobbed. I was 19 years old, never been away from home before, and I was scared to death. And I wouldn’t trade that experience for the finest gold. You gain something from military service that literally cannot be had anywhere else.

He then went on to share with us some horror stories of his BMT time, like being yelled at constantly by the TI, not being allowed to have coke or snack food at all unless the TI gave permission, and receiving letters/mail when the TI decided. So yeah, I know it is going to be tough for my husband. Much tougher than what I am going through back home!

Wait till your husband tells you about redline inspections, water traps on the confidence course, crawling through the minefield, K.P. duty for 18 hours, and G.I. parties. What fun! See how much he needs to hear from you? :wink:

I also know that he will not have the time to write me long letters each day, but that is not stopping me from writing him those! I already began one last night and am going to now go sit out in our sunny backyard and continue it. I plan to write him every day and as soon as I receive his address, he will be getting a load of letters delivered!

Excellent. That is precisely what he needs.

One note: when you get his address, make sure you pay close attention to the numbers and letters and such—it’ll look something like “AB Joe Smith, FLT 272, 3703 BMTS, Lackland AFB, TX, 78236”. Make sure you get those numbers and letters just right, or your letter might end up going to completely different squadron and flight, and you don’t want that to happen! :slight_smile:

I love writing and actually, he and I met through a different Catholic forum (Catholic-pages) so our friendship began through long, long emails to each other. So I know how much he loves reading my letters as I cherish each one of his.

Make sure you hang on to those letters he sends you from Basic—he’ll get a huge charge out of re-reading them when he’s 50 years old. LOL.

Thanks again for all the advice and support!!!

You’re welcome. Anything you want to know, ask. Any of us here, I’m sure, are more than willing to help you any way we can. Us military and vets all stick together, you know. :slight_smile:


#17

Blessed Wife,
I am a military wife of 22 years (Air Force). My husband retired after 25 years a few years ago, but we are still military (ha). Once Air Force, always Air Force. It is truly a great way of life, if you open up your boundaries and horizens, and look forward to going new places.
We have been all over the world with our children, lived in several countries in Europe, traveled the Far East, and the American West as well as a two-year tour in New York. We enjoyed ourselves immensely! I learned Italian and German, as well as a smattering of French and Dutch.
It is difficult to be apart, though. At those times you simply have to pull yourself together and say, We’re in it for the long haul.
The benefits outweigh the drawbacks. We still have medical care for life, and believe me, that is worth a lot!
My children did fine…made lots of friends and really bonded with each other. That is one piece of advice that I do have. Our children did well on moves because they are so close together in age. I don’t know what you plan for your family, nor is it my business, but we had several children very close in age so they could be “buddies” and it really worked during deployments, training, overseas moves, trips across the country, etc. If I were you I would consider having a couple of children close in age so they can be “buddies”. It is a literal “God-send” for the children to have a playmate they can always count on being there.
Oh, and if you stay in for TWENTY (and I suggest you do!), the retirement check comes in very handy for the rest of your life! We started getting one every month when my husband was only 44.
Plus, it is rewarding to be able to study for promotion based on merit rather than on some supervisor’s whim.
There are many reasons to enjoy being in the Air Force - feel free to PM me if you want to!
Lissa


#18

A good book to read if you can pick it up: Going Overboard by Sarah Smiley. You may want to punch out Sarah at first. She’s very telling on herself, and seems very needy and whiney (which you are not, BTW). But Sarah’s realizations, and how she gets her act together, tell about what it takes to be a military wife.


#19

Ditto to everything said here. I don’t really have much to add.:blush:

My husband will retire this January after having served 24 years in the Air Force.

You’d be surprised by how much you can help your husband by just being supportive of him. The letters and remaining positive during phone calls will do a lot to assist him in getting through these next weeks.


#20

Yeah, and about the letters from home - when I went through Army boot camp, each letter was worth twenty pushups.

We had a lot of fun with the married guys who got a lot of letters. They could barely lift their arms to read the letters some days!

It was stand in formation. Hear your name called. Run to front of the formation. Drop. Twenty pushups. Get your letter. Run back to formation. Hear your name called again. Run to the front of the formation. Drop. Twenty pushups. Get your letter … Repeat for each letter.

Some guys told their wives to only send cookies, forget the letters! Of course you had to send enough for the whole platoon.

:smiley:


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