Top 10 Benefits of Being an Army Wife
Deployments, moves, nights in the field, tough tours – there are a lot of reasons to hate the military. No one promised that life in the military would be easy, in fact everyone said it would be difficult. But if everything was bad, if there weren’t any benefits, many of us wouldn’t have chosen to stay “for life” – if by “life” we mean about 20 years.
In fact, for some of us who are now approaching that magical 20-year mark, a past future as anything other than an army spouse is actually pretty scary.
10. It’s easy to find your underwear
Stay with me. Do you know the really cute Victoria’s Secret thong that you used just to meet him on his return from Afghanistan (and you’ve worn it on every “good” date night since)? Yeah, that one. It is on his shoulder, glued to the velcro of his ACUs, probably as he is summoned to a very serious meeting with his commander.
The same goes for you, male spouses. Your Frederick’s of Hollywood elephant trunk thongs will get stuck too – ugh. It does not matter. Let’s all try to get this image out of our heads …
Bottom line (pun intended): Every unmentionable dainty you will own as an army spouse will be stuck and shredded by the velcro – and mentioned by all the other soldiers – if you wash your clothes along with your soldier’s. . Honestly, just be glad they’re the sexiest. Could have been the granny panties you save to wear during deployments.
Because without them you would ‘be’ cold. Take a look at your sofa. There is no cute chenille throw or handmade quilt on the toe. Oh no, you are an army bride. This means that you have a green camouflage poncho liner, better known as a ‘woobie’, that adorns your lounge area.
No one really knows where the woobies come from, they just spawn and then multiply – like Bebe’s kids, or maybe the gremlins. Very quickly, you realize that there is one on each of your children’s beds, at the foot of your own bed and even in the dog’s bed. But there is no better blanket to sneak into an afternoon nap, and if you dare to claim that the woobie is inferior in any way, your soldier will hand you all right.
(US Army Europe photo by Spc. Joshua Leonard)
8. Eye candy
For real. We’re not supposed to talk about it, but you know you watch, we all do. We live in cities where the male to female ratio makes sports bars look like wine cafes. And, while there aren’t as many female soldiers, the mandatory PT tests mean there’s fun for the men too.
Soldiers have to work for their job. Each year at Fort Bragg, the entire 82nd Airborne Division races together, all 22,000 of them, for the division race. And do you know what spouses do? We bring folding chairs, snacks and drinks, and get there early so we can get a good vantage point. Then we watch.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Robert Jordan)
7. Far from the base
We can correct other branches when they call ours a “base”. One of these kids is not like the others – and that’s us. The others have “bases” we have “posts”. Why? Who knows? We do not care? Maybe that’s so that we can annoy everyone when we call their base exchange a “PX”.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Klika)
6. Dibs on “soldiers”
Similarly, we can watch others cringe when civilians call all members of the service “soldiers”. Even though everyone in the military understands that the word “soldier” only applies to a member of the military, this little drop of wisdom has failed to trickle down to our civilian friends – and we , in the army family, think it’s just hilarious.
“How’s your ‘soldier’ on his cruise, Navy woman?” “; “There are a lot less ‘soldiers’ in the Marine Corps, aren’t there? And, “It must be hard being at this air base all by yourself when your ‘soldier’ is gone.” Comments like these always make us laugh – because we know that a soldier by any other name is not a “soldier” at all.
5. Size matters
Okay, so maybe Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps families live by the ocean and Air Force families get better, well, everything (don’t don’t pretend you haven’t noticed). We are the biggest. From afar. (O’Doyle Rules!) The military is roughly the same size as the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard combined.
In fact, the entire Coast Guard could fit into a single army post – with room for a few army brigades. Fort Bragg even has an Air Force facility fully contained inside the Army post. So be proud to know that we are the greatest. Maybe this knowledge will help you get through a long winter in the middle of nowhere, as most military posts seem to have all been built on the biggest shit lot the federal government can afford.
(Photo by Hiro Chang)
4. Military balls
(And, no, it’s not a cover of number 8.) Most people go to prom once, maybe twice in their life. (Three or four times if it was the naughty first year in high school dating old people.) We go there every year. And there is alcohol. And decent food.
And we can dance slowly without being separated by a chaperone, and we are even encouraged to take a hotel room. Military balls give us great reasons to go shopping, get our hair done, and have our pictures taken with our spouses. Or, if nothing else, to give yoga pants a night off.
3. We have friends EVERYWHERE
Have you ever had this conversation? “Oh, are you from Jeezbekneez, Kansas?” I have a friend who lives there. And one in Japan, and one in Hawaii, three in Alaska, two in Italy, four in Germany, one in Korea, and so on and so forth. Elementary school classes could use our Facebook friend lists for geography lessons. Army families are moving. A lot. The upside: On a lonely night on a deployment, we know we can log into Facebook and find one of those friends online, because 3 a.m. is 9 a.m. in Germany.
2. Endless Hijinks
When children play war, they play army. Well guess what? People who join the military tend to never let go of that wild spirit (ahem). The Army: Where boys are men, men are boys and women are not afraid of snakes. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you already love a wild man or woman and are likely to consider living somewhere surrounded by jokers to be an adventure.
(Note: This also applies to the Marine Corps, but it does not apply to other branches. Those who volunteer for field missions tend to be a little more careful.)
The soldiers around you will be the sweetest, most useful versions of Steve-O and Johnny Knoxville imaginable, and that makes life a lot of fun – and a lot of fun. Living in a military town means you never have to open a door for yourself; you will not linger on the side of the road with a broken down car; and if disaster strikes, there will be more volunteers than needed.
But it also means that your daily commute will feel like a NASCAR race and you shouldn’t be surprised when you come across some silly human tricks involving nudity, port-a-pots, the 100 mph strip, the 550 cordon and, occasionally, explosives.
(Photo by Elizabeth Alexander)
Whether you come from a big family, a small family, or no family at all, rest assured that you have just joined the biggest family in America. Really. Your family is now over a million people – the strength of the army. There is no black, white, brown, red or yellow in the military – just green. It doesn’t matter whether you are from the north, south, east or west, educated or not, fresh out of high school or about to retire.
I come from a big, tight-knit family – and I love my family – but more than once I cut short my “home” visits to go back to my army house because I needed to. support and understanding only from my “great” The Green Machine family could provide. My sisters-wives in the military were the first visitors to my newborn daughter’s hospital, they met her months before her own father .
They opened their arms wide to me when I told them that my father was dying of cancer. They sent flowers to his funeral. They helped me pack, clean and organize yard sales. They literally picked me up when I was too weak to fend for myself. And they laughed with me – oh, how they laughed with me. We’ve watched each other’s babies grow up, sometimes from afar, and we’ve shared each other’s lives so much that the word “friend” just isn’t enough anymore. We are a family.
A single wire is easy to break, but when you weave a bunch of wires together you end up with a 550 cord which is strong and safe enough for parachutes. It’s the army. And we are Army Strong – because none of us are alone.
This article originally appeared on Military spouse. Follow @MilSpouseMag on Twitter.