"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I cannot tell you how much I have wanted to write. How much I have wanted to share with you. How much I need the therapy I find in writing it down and sharing the journey.

There have been so many things that at this time, I just cannot share. I respect OPSEC. I understand the gravity of keeping some things close. I understand that there are some things you just don't get to share. I will never compromise the safety of our men and women in uniform for the sake of a blog post. Ever.

There have been some things that I just haven't felt comfortable writing about because the struggles we are going through are what some - but not all - of the military community are going through. What C and I have been facing and pushing forward in spite of are very personal to our Army journey. They very much have to do with his job, his years of service, his point in his career path, his rank

I do not like to talk about rank. 

A comment was made by someone recently that made my blood boil. Her husband has been in for 23 years. She is very much "done with the Army" (something I have heard her say more than once). She has a distaste for officer spouses and for officers. She has stereotyped spouses - repeatedly - based on their soldier's rank. She quickly, decisively forms opinions on "who they are"; she "can just tell" as she told me. All these things I have heard from her lips and experienced for myself.

Every person is entitled to take whatever they think and think it. Really, I'm okay with that. But this person is/was in a position of leadership. She was an instructor for a course that teaches new spouses about embracing this life, thriving through it, understanding the in's-and-out's. She is in a position where what she says holds meaning. She is in a position where we do not discuss our spouses' rank unless absolutely unavoidable. We - as spouses - do not hold rank.

I'm going to say that again.

We. do. not. hold. rank.

I have never entered into combat. Haven't spent one night in boot camp. No one punched my chest at C's last promotion.

(I'll get back to that. Well not the punching the chest thing, but the not holding rank thing.)

This instructor stood in front of a class of new spouses and berated the Army Officer. She made comments that her husband - a 1SG - "actually worked." That the enlisted spouses in the room had to learn to see their spouses less. That their spouses "earned their paychecks." That they weren't "given" to them like others.

I don't know where to start here. I honestly don't know how to explain the dozens of phrases and situations and rebuttals and frustrations running through me. They are all things I have heard before but to have been informed that they happened in this type of setting ... Yes, she was reprimanded, privately, but I wonder what impression that left on those spouses. I wondered if that sparked a division for them.

What did they leave that class thinking? What did the "enlisted spouses" in that class leave thinking? What did the "officer spouses" think? Because in that class - in this journey - we are Army Wives.

When the comments were brought to my attention, my first thought was for our very, very good friend, with a very strong career path ahead of him, that took a career-ending-fall, because of the mistakes of others. Who fought to save the careers of those below him for a mistake that was not in his power to prevent. Who did so honorably. Gracefully. With dignity, and compassion, for those who served with him and below him. My thoughts went to the many who did not submit their paperwork to separate from the Army while he didthe very same week that she commented that they "don't really work."

My thought went to C who works insane hours. Who loses so much time with his kiddos. Who greatly respects the men doing the job that he has once done. Who answers the calls at all hours of the night and then goes into work, or to pick up a soldier in trouble. Who, as part of his job, has to know about the well-being of the families of his men. Who never, never has time that is considered "off duty." Who is held to a higher standard. Who started out at seventeen at the very bottom and has given his youth.

My thoughts went to how hard he has worked while facing the vast uncertainty of the cuts that may very well affect him. So much that he carries ...

He "earns his pay."

As a very new Army wife, I was told by a senior officer's spouse that I should be "more conscious of my friendships" if I cared for C's career. That people notice. That people talk. She was referring to one particular friendship at the time that I still hold very, very dear to my heart. Her husband's rank is very different from C's.

WHY do we do that to one another?

WHY do we insist on creating a division?

 I have never thought I should care and I never have.

When told by a volunteer in our unit that I was "different," she asked why. The thought made me sad - wondering if she had been told the "category" I unwillingly fall into was all a certain way, or if those clinging to that same category had given her just reason to find me "different." After debating how to answer what I told her is that when it comes down to it, her husband's life is at greater risk than C's. His chance of sacrifice is higher than what I face. And her husband will still put his life on the line, making far less money and, that to me should be recognized and respected.

I know how hard C works. I know how much responsibility is on his shoulders.

I don't think spouses have a right to stand in front of others and say who works for their pay. I don't think spouses have a right to form a division among us.

I don't think a spouse holds the right to belittle the sacrifice and work of ANY soldier.

One fellow spouse told me in the Civilian world, we would be good friends. I answered her that we are in the military world and we are.

The lines are tricky. The lines exists for the soldiers for good reason. No, our experiences are not 100% the same. What I am struggling with at this point in our journey is not what most are. It is very much only related to rank and status and time in and branch. What the spouse of an enlisted soldier faces at some times may not be the same as an officer's spouse. What the spouse of an officer struggles with one day may not be the same as an enlisted soldier's.

But that does not give either the right to belittle that struggle. We cannot know what the other is feeling and making broad judgments is toxic.

We are accountable for what we teach those entering into this life. We are accountable for the impressions we give by our actions, by our words, by our faces, our sarcasms, our jokes. We are responsible for empowering our sisters-in-arms.

What we say about "the other side" will stay with those who hear it. I am blessed to be married to a man who has done three years as a "joe", four as an NCO, and seven as a "sir." I am blessed to have friendships in every single aspect of this life. I am blessed to have mentors who have instilled a deep respect for the service as a whole. I am even blessed to have "teachers" who taught me what I never want to be.

We are responsible for those who join the journey, for giving guidance that does good, rather than sharing stereotypes that do harm. We all live a life of service and to serve is to serve. To love a soldier is to love a soldier.

Simple. Basic. Sisterhood.


  1. Well said...one day we may all meet again, somewhere! It may not seem like it at the time, but those are bridges being burned and it IS a VERY small world!

  2. I always wondered if the woman who pull rank at these functions do it in their day to day life too. Like head to the movies and try and get special treatment like someone there might care what their husband's rank is? Silliness!
    I kindof like being from a different rank structure when I read American military blogs, I usually have no idea what S, E, or whatever means, so you're all the same to me :)

    1. Well said sad unfortunate and true. I have always turned a blind eye and having respect for any.person who stands for this nation.regardless of rank. Reality hit me two years ago.that rank matters to many, I watched my inner circle change when several friends chose to go green to gold and my husband stayed nco. His choice I respect deeply but that I was removed from.friends lives after they claimed their husbands new rank was hurtful, this is a job and only the strongest women can survive this life.. Yet often we destroy eachother when we should hold eachother up. I.pray the wives.that were challenged to see through someone elses bitterness grow to see we must band together for our.men and women deserve our respect and support, not our bantering for who is the greatest.


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