Post # 1
I believe I’ve mentioned before that as a veteran’s wife, I’m not as much of a military bride as the rest of you ladies are… but it seems that might be changing soon! Here’s the situation.
Mr. December was in the Coast Guard for 4 years, and at that point got his honorable discharge to go to school and find a wife (for real, that was his plan! :)) He did both, and now, newly graduated and wed, he’s considering re-enlistment, most likely as an officer because of his degree. I’ve had a lot of exposure to the military lifestyle since we started dating, because his parents are both veterans and my SIL and BIL are both active duty Air Force, but I didn’t meet my husband until after he was already discharged. I grew up in a completely civilian lifestyle as well, so much so that we joke (although it’s true) that we have a cross-cultural marriage.
So my question is, how is life different with a veteran SO compared to an active duty SO? And what sort of changes could we both expect moving from enlisted to officer? I’m definitely supportive of whatever he chooses, but I am somewhat surprised… I thought that he would never go back in, so I never thought about or researched what life would be life as an active-duty wife.
Edit: I forgot to add that he is currently "shopping around" with recruiters from all the branches, so advice from any service would be helpful. Navy is unlikely due to the Coastie/Squid rivalry, but who knows? 🙂
Post # 3
Well, I got with my sweetheart while he was Active Duty (AD) army and then after 6 months he was deplyed to Iraq….wasn’t easy but we got thru it. All I can say is that it’s not an easy life, you spend a lot of time apart, you have to make things work (meaning if he can’t be home for a holiday, birthday, ect get over it because complaining won’t fix things and will make him feel bad, it is what it is) Mocing will depend on the branch/his job "MOS"/rank also with the military there is never a for sure things so don’t be mad or disappointed if things don’t come as you wanted them. Now the good, your relationship will be stronger because you both will appreciate the time you spend together, you will feel great pride for him, job security the military takes really good care of their soldiers compared to civilian employers. Good Luck.
If you wanna talk more PM or IM on yahoo [email protected]
Post # 4
I met my hubby while he was active duty, and he still is active duty in the navy (my hubby’s a squid, don’t hold it against me!). Like Carmen said, one of the hardest things is long deployments. My hubby went on a 6 month deployment to the gulf 3 months after we met. But you just have to make it work. Communication is the biggest thing. Anytime we are apart, we email each other as often as possible. That usually means I email everyday and hear from him maybe once or twice a week since he has far less chances to email than I do. It takes a lot of patience and understanding to be an active duty military wife. I can’t tell you much about the diff b/w enlisted and officer life. My hubby’s enlisted. The only thing I know is that officers get better pay, so you’ll be financially comfortable should your SO re-enlist as an officer. Being a military wife is hard, but love will win out. Appreciate the time you are together, communicate your love during your time apart, and know that your SO will always have a secure job with pay and benefits.
Not sure if that really answers any of your questions, but I hope it helps a little 🙂
Post # 5
Veteran vs. AD: A veteran receives some benefits, but AD received FULL benefits, including health coverage for his new family (YOU!). You also get commissary priveleges, which saves tons of $$. But the time thing, well he’ll be in another committed relationship basically. You don’t call in sick, and you can’t say no or quit. So if he’s assigned somewhere, to do something, he can’t help it. It’s sometimes trying but very rewarding.
Enlisted vs. Officer: As an officer, he’ll be respected more because he is prior enlisted. He’ll also be making more money than his peers, O-1E pay over 4, which is O-1 rank, prior enlisted pay with more than 4 years service. He’ll be making BAH as well, which is housing pay, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to pay a mortgage. You’ll also be eligible for better home loans and car loans. An officer is responsible for PEOPLE and EQUIPMENT, and enlisted are responsible for their own tasks. So it’s a huge jump in responsiblity, but that’s why they’re paid more. I think it’s a good move. Of course I have to recommend the Navy (since he’s a coastie, he’ll have a good baseline knowledge), but all services are pretty good.
If you want to know about what it’s like to be a Navy wife, I recommed reading "Navy Spouse’s Guide" by Laura Stavridis. Great read, and so true. i also have a book called "Married to the Military" that has all sorts of tips for military spouses. (The politics don’t stop in the wardroom!) There’s all sorts of good resources (Search "military spouse guide" in Amazon.com).
Post # 6
Thank you for the info! Another question I had… what is OCS like in terms of exposure to the outside world? He said that as far as he knows, it is Super Boot Camp, which means that there’d be no point in me moving with him till he’s finished, because I couldn’t see him. Is this true, or are married people allowed to live with their spouses during that time? Also, is there a "tech school" or "’A’ School" equivalent after OCS? And could I be with him during that time? I’m really NOT looking forward to being a single woman again, and I’m not sure I’d want to live alone in the neighborhood we’re in…
Post # 7
OCS as in officer training camp? My FI went through what they call OBC, or officer basic, for the Army. He said it was a huge joke. They were put up in a hotel on base essentially, and had to learn all the basic tactical stuff the enlisted guys did, but on a more leadership level. They had PT and stuff like that, but I visited every weekend, and over all, he was just bored. Yes, in our experience, had we been married, the base would have found married couples housing for us. Sometimes there is a technical school depending on what you want to do and what you are willing to add to your plate. My FI had no interest in doing anything else, so he just let the Army place him in an engineering division.
The Army makes a specific point of not separating spouses, and in general, I’m under the impression all branches of the military are more or less the same. They want you to live together and for you to get in good with the other military wives so you have a support system when and if he should get deployed. I was all by myself in college, and i ended up joining online boards to find a support system because none of my friends understood what it was like to not see him for 8 months. His deployment definitely wasn’t the most miserable thing in the world. I used the time to finish up my college degree and enjoy life a little. Go out with my friends, scrapbook, watch tv, adopt some cats, etc. It is what you make of it, in my book. If you sit around waiting for him to come home, you will be lonely and sad all the time, but if you find a passion or find something to occupy yourself for that period of time, you will find peace in that.
Hopefully that helps. My guy was never enlisted, but from what I’ve seen, an officer’s life is pretty cushy. He gets great benefits and they get treated very well, lots of respect, and in turn, people treat me very nicely and respectably when they find out my FI is a captain. All the enlisted guys he works with like him, too, so I think a lot of the stigma comes from kind of job the officer has and if his personality requires him to be a harder guy on them. I get random people that thank me for his service and stuff like that. And I know my FI was a little safer when he was deployed because he was higher ranking, and also because of the specific job he had…being an engineer with a specialty in concrete and bridge work, it was his job to plan bridges and stuff like that and pass it on. Often he was not required to be IN the field, just plan for it all. Hope that helps