37 Things to Say to Your Spouse

Who doesn't love to hear sweet nothings whispered in our ear from our loved one? A little bit of affirmation goes a long way in a marriage, whether you have been married a couple months or more years than you can remember!

At my most recent MOPS meeting (Mothers of Preschoolers) our speaker gave us a list of things to say to our spouse on a regular basis. I thought it would be a wonderful list to share with all of you as we sometimes struggle with so many pressures that the "normal married couple" doesn't even dream of. So without further adieu:


37 Things to say to your spouse
  1. Good Job
  2. You are wonderful
  3. That was really great
  4. You look cute, gorgeous, handsome, or good today
  5. I don't feel complete without you
  6. I appreciate all the things you have done for me over the years
  7. You come first in my life, before the kids, career, friends, anything
  8. I'm glad I married you
  9. I like you
  10. I like it when you ___________
  11. If I had to do it over I'd marry you again
  12. I wanted you today
  13. I missed you today
  14. I couldn't get you out of my head today
  15. It is nice to wake up next to you, or fall asleep next to you
  16. I will always love you
  17. I love the way your eyes sparkle when you smile
  18. I trust you
  19. I appreciate you for _______________
  20. I know I can always count on you
  21. You make me feel good
  22. I am proud to be married to you
  23. I am sorry
  24. I was wrong
  25. What would you like
  26. What is on your mind
  27. Let me just listen
  28. You are special
  29. I can't imagine life without you
  30. I am trying to be a better partner
  31. What can I do to help you?
  32. Pray for me
  33. I am praying for you today
  34. Thank you for loving me
  35. Thank you for accepting me
  36. Thank you for being my partner
  37. You make every day brighter

Perhaps if you just made it a point to say one thing a day to your spouse from the list; think of it as glue to solidify your marriage. And if your spouse is off in a foreign country many miles away from you pick something from this list to finish an email.

Can we add to this list? Are there things that your spouse loves to hear? Something that you love to hear from your spouse? Share your thoughts & maybe you will help another's relationship!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Needed the Wall of Support Lately?


The secondary title of this blog is "Michigan Ski Run". Well, it may look like a snowed in driveway to some but to this military family it looked like an opportunity to have some fun! We always found new ways to have fun while traveling the globe! Last Saturday we had stacks of sledders on this hill driveway having a gut busting good time!

With snow banks over two feet high this driveway reflects what many of us have been challenged by--the twists and slippery spots of life! The banks of snow give us a safety net to insure the trees don't become a "hard lesson" or an obstacle to having fun!

The snow banks of support keep us "on track" and the fun keeps us going ahead while bouncing over those rough spots we all face! The PCS stressors; the longer than expected deployment/TDY; the impatient parent/child; the trip to the commissary (haha); decisions to be made and the need for a friendly face are all bumps we face together. Your support to a new neighbor/friend provides a wall to keep them on the track. I was so impressed with the quick responses in support of the "My Husband" blog on the 22nd of February! Yep, that is the military community at its best! Way to go!

The military services and community provide many ways to help during the slippery spots of life but they can only help if you are willing to get on the sled or skis and head down the hill for some adventure! Visit those support centers, join the many groups around you that offer a new adventure, find a new friend, open the door to an old friend with a phone call or email and look ahead for those slippery spots so you can find a wall to help when you need it!

How do you stay on track in your daily life and where do you find ways to support you and your family during the slick spots of life? Share your ideas with your military community!

Smile! Wait my mouth is not down at my ankles...

What I said... What he heard...
How do I look? "Oh, Great" snap, flash...
Me to Dale: Do I look pretty... like I feel... not like the mirror dictates?
He to me: I have you right in the view fiinder... got'cha!
Results: sigh, ugh... who is that?

What I said... What he heard...

How do I look? "Oh, Great" snap, flash...
Me to Eli ( age 4): Honey... I'm up here...
He to me: I know where the picture taker button is!
Results: great picture of my knees.


What I said... What he heard...
How do I look? "Oh, Great" snap, flash...
Me to Joshua (age 13): Are you looking at me?
He to me: Grandma... stand still... there is a fine looking girl behind you...
Results: One half of out of focus face... teen in the background in perfect view.


What I said... What he heard...
How do I look? "Oh, Great" snap, flash...
Me to James: Why are you laughing while takeing this picture?
He to me: A snowball is going to careen into your shoulder any second now........
Results: SPlash! wide open mouth and view of tonsils on film.


What I said... What he heard...
How do I look? "Oh, Great" snap, flash...
Me to Dan: Arghhhh don't take the picture now... I'm a mess...
He to me: Mom, ease up... Life is too short to worry about that.
Results: a picture of a lived in house, lived in sweater, and promise of tomorrow!


What I said... What he heard...
How do I look? "Oh, Great" snap, flash...
Me to Dale: Let's try again... I need one for the website.
He to me: Let's try this... as he steps beside me and we do a self photo...
Results: Fun. Best one yet... who wants to stand alone anyway?

Ah Humor, we find it in so many forms... sometimes the giggles and grins just erupt. Sometimes we need to search just a bit. Don't you love self portraits? If you can avoid the nose hair, double chins, and raucous laughter! It is that ability to laugh at ourselves, and enjoy it with others that helps me through the day. What can bring down the walls, and help you laugh at yourself?

My Husband

I love my husband, unconditionally and unequivocally.

I think that is why I have felt rather forlorn the past few days. I suppose I could blame it on hormones but I think it is more his impending absence from our family. Every where we go, "So I here you are leaving", "How long are you going to be gone?", "What are you going to be doing?", "Where are you going to be at". It is great that people care and take the time to ask. However, it is hard to be constantly putting on "the face". The face of strength. I'm just not that strong.

So it's killing me. Here he is getting ready to leave and I'm just plain grumpy! That's not fair to him... heck, it's not fair to me.

Sometimes it is the little thing that set me off. He is so good about making my coffee every morning. He doesn't drink coffee but the pot is almost always ready to go when I drag my heine out of bed in the morning. This morning it wasn't ready. No biggie, I certainly wasn't upset with him. But my first thought was, "Leanne, get used it it. He won't be making your coffee in the not-too-far distant future." It's little thoughts like that which just dig this hole that I want to crawl into and come out of when this is all through.

I don't want him to go. I want to enjoy our anniversary together, and 4th of July, and Christmas and every other holiday that we will miss being together. I want him to make my coffee every morning & enjoy a glass of wine with over dinner every night.

But this Army wife will suck it up. The 'face of strength' is just a face when he is around, because he is my strength. But I do know that once he is gone I will be the strength. We've been separated for periods of time before because of Army duties and quite frankly I amaze my self with the strength I muster to keep our family going. But why does this transition process have to be so hard?

Do you have any hints? Any tips on the transitioning and keeping my heart in the right place while he is home? I am reading a book: "Separated By Duty, United in Love" by Shellie Vandeboorde that is very helpful. But I would love to hear some other 'real life' ideas.

Thanks!

Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Your Community Cares

Lately I have been just baffled (for lack of a stronger word) by the community of Berkeley. I'm sure everyone has seen the press they have received and the treatment that the Marines in the area have received. It just makes me sick!


But I am so very thankful that they are an anomaly. Why do the people of Berkeley & their government get so much press-time over this? Because, thankfully, there are so few other communities that would stoop to a level lower then dirt.


How do we know so many communities truly care? Everyday we get businesses wanting to be a part of MilitaryAvenue.com. We screen all of the businesses that want to post their ad & military discount on MilitaryAvenue.com. We read each one and decide is this just a marketing ploy or is this really something our military families can use? Many get disapproved, followed by a friendly email that says in not so many words, "Thanks, but No Thanks". Many get approved, every day! Your community cares. They want to say "Thank You for your Service!"


Yet, there is more to just the military discount. There is the support, the quest for information as we settle into a new community. CBC Home Inspections around Scott AFB, Illinois is a recent example. Not only does he provide information about home inspections on his site but he has an area specifically devoted to our Military Families. He didn't need to do that, but he wanted to do that. He wanted to show military families that he supports them. Check out his military information at: http://www.cbchomeinspect.com/devoted-to-the-military.htm.


Other area businesses should consider what you can do for our military families using what space you have on the web. We have a page on MilitaryAvenue.com that can help you get thinking about it: http://militaryavenue.com/ForYourSite


Military Families: What else would you like to see that would help you as you get to know your new community? Let us know! We pass along useful information to our Partners so that they can better serve you. They don't always know how to reach out, but you can help them help you.

Got worms?

Got worms? YUCK! I like them in the garden… but not in the computer. I was at my neighbor’s house when she used an online virus detector to see if her ‘sort of safe’ computer was living up to speed. Now, calling it sort of safe made me wonder right there… She googled “free online virus detector” and choose www.kaspersky.com/virusscanner. As it ran through her drives and files, horror crossed her face… there it was, virus after virus with corrupted files. Now what?

This site offered a sure fire fixer upper… but Rose decided it was too late for that. She used the site just to see if there was a problem, and oh my! There was!

Do you pitch the pc with years of photos, letters, and tax documents? More landfill with worms! NO. Review the items that are necessary for sanity, put them in My Documents, rescan to be certain they will not be preserved. Copy only My Documents to an external drive. Dump EVERYTHING from the computer… rather like flushing it clean. Then use the recovery discs that originally came with the computer, reload and boot ‘er up. Just what the doctor ordered!

I asked Rose what was her clue that a problem existed. Her first clue was the applied wallpaper on her screen would not come up. It was blocked, actually it was red x’ed. Start ups were sluggish, so she was concerned. She knew how the machine was supposed to perform, and it just quite was not. It is great to be aware!

The fix was the external hard drive. This is a great storage place for back up, and in this case, cleared the computer so that it can be loaded with protection this time, and used for years to come.

Have you been noticing your computer isn’t what it once was? Do you have a great site that you have used for maintenance? Share your treasures with us, we all need help now and then!

Why I Love Clouds

Why do clouds captivate our attention? Their movement and changes have always been fun for me to watch and especially when as a young person I would lazily lay on my back on a summer afternoon as the billows of a cumulonimbus grew in height and width. What power and grace.

But as an adult I still feel in awe of them and the powerful birds that circle in them and ride their waves higher and higher.

I remember the first time I joined the birds and the pleasure I got from seeing the clouds from the perspective of being a pilot. I felt such joy and close to God in a way that I am not sure I can duplicate now. Of course, the clouds weren't always my friends as they could make flying a bit hazardous and challenging.

I wish I still took the time to relax and cloud watch as I did as a young person! Maybe I will have to show the grandsons how to lay on their back with a bit of tall grass to chew on and describe what they see to me? Every adult needs a reason to do something crazy like going to the fair, riding the rides at Disneyworld, or how about visiting Chuckie Cheese? :)

How do you relax? I never could relax during the PCS timeframe due to all the things that had to be done. I do think that using a checklist helped take out some of the tension. But day to day and on special occasions we all need some way to find peace and reduce the hustle and bustle around us. Tell us how you do it so we can share your ideas with others!

When I return from a deployment or long TDY

The title of this blog could be: My respect for the military spouse!

I faced many long TDYs, lengthy separations and one deployment as a unit during my 30 years on active duty so I thought maybe I could share my personal feelings about coming home! In one case I had been assigned to an overseas base that was supposed to be a sponsored tour with my family but there was no housing available for 6 months. I had been TDY for 4 months prior to moving overseas while doing some training. So when my family joined me it had been almost a ten month separation. Over the length of my career I was gone approximately 5 years! Try explaining that to a civilian as a job requirement! I know that my away time does not compare to most of you reading this. The current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have service members deploying 3 times within 5 years!

There is a different way to look at me being gone: my lovely bride took care of our kids (including the delivery of our middle child), the cars, the house and the bills all by herself for 5 years! Some of my trips were short one or two day TDYs, but many were at least a month so she dealt with the emergency room runs, broken household items, car problems and a myriad of life challenges by herself!

So... what about my feelings when I came home or my family joined me after a long separation? First, I loved my job and TDYs usually involved flying so I was busy and usually came home tired but eager to resume a normal lifestyle. My first thought walking in the door after greeting everyone was a sense of relief and a desire to hear how things went while I was gone and to relax. Sometimes there were family events or challenges that created tension and I just didn't want to face those right away. One time I came home after a busy TDY schedule to a house that was just "down". We needed to rejuvenate and I did too. We decided to go on a family getaway during a very convenient 3 day weekend! We lived near the Gulf Coast where we found a hotel on the beach. We just relaxed, ate out and walked and played on the beach! One of our favorite family pictures (we had a large copy made and framed) is of the kids on the beach. The three of them stood by the water's edge while gulls flew overhead. They threw crackers into the air, whic the sea gulls caught. We went from a tough time to wonderful memories!

I always tried to under spend on TDYs so we could have a few extra dollars on my return for couple or family events. I felt very lonely sometimes and had a strong urge to reconnect with the family but particularly with Deb so if we had a chance; we went out. But I really needed assimilation time. I also knew that I needed to hear discussions about the normal life challenges our children faced. This often let me feel guilty about missing the ball games, plays, parent teacher conferences, birthday parties and holidays. I still have very strong feelings about not being there for the birth of our second child, too!

Sometimes the "hubbub" around the house could be unnerving for someone not used to being around kids! I went from working and living with only adults to rejoining a household of activity. I had spent "off time" watching TV or working out. Therefore, the conflicts, tears and discussions sometimes got to me and I had return to being a dad which was something I loved. The strains were easily noticed by the kids too, but we always found a way to find time for each other. One strong tear jerker was highlighted when I was leaving on a commercial flight for a TDY. As I entered the gate to get on the plane my 5 year old cried out "Daddy, you're cracking my heart ". I had to return on that one and give him a special hug! When I turned to head out, the gate attendants were in tears as was I. Interesting that this son had the dream of supporting the military community with the internet and started MilitaryAvenue.com as a method to assist military families with the challenges of our lifestyle!

So how do you respond to a lengthy separation and a coming home? Do you have any family routines that might help others as they face this challenge? We would like to hear them and we know your ideas will help others, too! Also, do you have any fears or questions? Send them our way so we can respond or one of our readers can help too!

Share your experiences with other members of the military community!

Ever have one of those days where you just thought, "Wow, I would really like to let others know about what just happened. Maybe they can learn from what I did right ... or wrong. Maybe I can get some help. But, if I share it with family or friends back home they just wouldn't understand."

We have an audience, new friends, awaiting your thoughts!


Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
  • A recent commissary experience;
  • Some ideas for a Family Readiness Meeting;
  • Ways you help your kids get acclimated to a new area;
  • How do you decorate base housing;
  • "A day in the life";
  • Favorite family vacation.

These are just a few ideas!!! There are no hard and fast rules! Send your two to three paragraphs to leanne@militaryavenue.com. We'll post 'experiences' on our blog at http://militaryavenue.blogspot.com/. Others can learn from you and you can enjoy others thoughts, muses and writings too!

Humility certainly has a price tag!

I'm a guest writer on this amazing blog. I am excited to be a part of it!

I gave up make up for lent. For some of the natural beauties in the world (or men), this would not be a big deal. It is for me! My long history with make up has been one of necessity beginning in high school. Every day I do (did) my routine of eye liner, shadow, mascara, foundation, and lipstick. It makes me feel together and externally beautiful, so lacking this is definitely a lesson in vulnerability and humility.

I know I look different. One of my teacher co-workers said, "Oh, you still look beautiful!" However, I can see myself in the mirror... Several of my students told me yesterday, my first day of work with my new look, "Mrs. K, you look different." They then proceeded to stare at me for several minutes, puzzled.

As I have walked through my daily life "au natural," it makes me self conscious. I realize how much I judge others on their looks as I now feel exposed in mine.

How much do you depend on your looks or judge others for their looks? This is tough considering military family members are constantly the "new" folks to places and people.

What goes around ... comes around

A friend of mine and her family has been sick - for two weeks. She has three young ones between the ages of three months and five years and her husband is on a submarine in the great Atlantic. The kids keep passing the same bug back and forth & she has managed to catch it a time or two.

I had this nasty bug back around Christmas at my folk's house and it was no fun! I was visiting my mom and dad, my husband was there ... if there was a place to be sick that was it!

Now imagine (and some of you don't have to imagine too hard - you've done it!) holding your child's hand while they lean over the toilet and well... puke their brains out, yet in the middle of all that you have to ask him to watch out as you lean over and do the same.

NO FUN!


I got an email from her Sunday afternoon:

"Pray for us. We are all still so sick."


That was the whole sum of the email. So I stepped up the plate & not only prayed but brought over dinner Monday. Talk about a simple way to make someone's day. Dinner. The best part was I made enough for her family & mine; a perfect example of killing-two-birds-with-one-stone.

I dropped the meal off at her house around noon on Monday and she had a huge smile for me. Although I wanted to stay and talk, I did have to think about my family & not bringing that bug back to my house. We did talk long enough to find out that they were all headed to the doctor that afternoon. Thank goodness!

I returned home and the phone rang around 1:00. It was my neighbor, Lori. She called to tell me that my four closest neighbors had organized themselves enough to want to each take my boys a day during each month that Paul is deployed. She wanted to let me know that they were thinking of us and trying to think of ways to help. We probably talked for 30 to 40 minutes. (My youngest was sleeping, otherwise, that would have never happened!) But I hung up feeling 'taken care of'.

There is something about friends taking care of each other! What have you done for a friend-in-need lately? We all have our moments when friends are who we lean on. Whether it is making dinner, just calling on a whim, or offering to baby-sit for a few hours there is so much we can do! Be sure to reach out this week.


PS: What did I make for dinner for my friend & family? I used a recipe from a previous blog post, Tomato Soup. But I threw in cooked-meat from a roast, some sauteed carrots & onions, and a can of leftover greenbeans. Then I brought it over in a crockpot with a loaf of frozen bread from Peppridge Farms. She could then start it 3 or 4 hours before she wanted to eat. I happen to have a 'few' crock-pots so it was easy enough to put half of the soup in one crock pot for my friend and one for my family.

A Winter Scene and the Weather in our Adventures



Or stories from a weather channel junkie

Right now I am looking out the front sliding doors at beautiful trees covered with snow; cardinals, junkos, finches and blue jays quickly eating on the bird feeders; and wind whipping everything. It is a wonderful white scene but step outside those doors and it is awakening with a temperature of 0 degrees and a wind chill of -25! I sure appreciate the warmth and comfort of our house on a day like this one.


I plowed the driveway with my small John Deere for a third time in 48 hours (the banks on the side are now higher than my plow) and shoveled the deck and steps too! Quite a job but I enjoy the exercise and getting outside is ok as long as I have on the right clothes. We lived in many areas with less severe winters and one known for its frequent storms. We also have been in hurricane and tornado prone areas. I remember one Lubbock, TX storm that left hail stacked more than a foot high against our house and it was 80 degrees out! It didn’t melt for the entire day after the early morning storm.


Then there were the dust storms in Lubbock in the spring that we called our “neighbors visiting from New Mexico”! When it rained during them we had flying mud, too! J We had the oppressive summer heat in Nevada and the tropical humidity in Panama! The 65,000 foot high thunderstorms in Panama were very impressive and could fill a drain ditch 5 feet deep in 5 minutes! During the rainy season they arrived every afternoon about one o’clock like they were on a schedule. After the first one, this Midwesterner thought, “hey, it will cool off now!” Boy, was I ever wrong about that! The rain just raised the humidity and made the heat index almost oppressive. Thank goodness for the base pool and ocean nearby!


I am a Weather Channel junkie on occasion and part of the reason is that I like to see what the weather is like in places we have previously lived or visited.


We always found ways to enjoy the area despite the particular challenges and/or benefits of its weather! We slid down “Dead Man’s Hill” when it was icy and road the waves when it was hot! We hiked and skied the mountains and explored the plains with a vigor that military families seem to have!


Have you found a way to enjoy your current assignment despite the challenges of its weather (or maybe advantages)? Tell us about them so we can share with our readers and you can have a positive impact on someone else and their lives! Maybe they are getting ready to PCS and would like to know about their future home—your current location!

Favorite Assignment

What is the first question I hear from folks when they hear that we were an Air Force family and lived in 18 places? First, after the look of either admiration or horror is the inevitable “What was your favorite assignment/location?”




How do we answer that one? After all we had assignments in Iceland and Panama and many “unfavorable locales” in some peoples’ eyes. I usually start out with “each was special in its own way” and provided opportunities for all of us. Some accept that; but others press a bit harder.




That is when I say, well “maybe Iceland” due to the opportunity to visit Europe, teenage kids attending a Maranatha mission trip to Spain at Spring Break through the chapel, junior high son admiring “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre in Paris, Model United Nations in Den Hague, Netherlands for the high school’ers. Or how about the experience the guys had on a “Space A” ride back in a KC-135 tanker of being right next to the “boom” operator as the tanker refueled fighters, etc, etc. By this time they have an incredulous look on their face and I have lost credibility. "No way" is the usual answer and when I have time to explain all of the benefits of military life overseas it is a great story! Do I need to mention the 3 hours of daylight in winter or the horizontal snowfall and ice pellets? Nah, they don’t want to know! However, if they talk weather there are wonderful stories of teaching my kids how to drive on real ice!




Then I think how about riding the waves with the kids in the Gulf while stationed at Hurlburt Field in Florida and the fifty foot high swing we built in the backyard for friends, family and us to enjoy (or try to maim ourselves; depending on your view :)! Then I jump to friends in Lubbock, TX while I was stationed at Reese and then beautiful Charleston AFB where I worked with one of the most professional, mission savvy groups in the Air Force.



Finally, our last assignment to the beautiful Pacific Northwest! We loved McChord AFB and there were so many things to do and great friends as well. I flew home a new C-17 plane (signed the door too!) and we had the mountains and Puget Sound nearby! Wow! Remind me to tell you about the retirement dinner and lady on a Harley someday too! Ha.




Wonderful memories but which was best? I don’t know maybe you could tell me? What is your favorite? Do you enjoy being near family, being overseas, or is there a favorite stateside spot with ocean or mountains nearby? Or maybe it is the people? What are your criteria for success of a PCS and the new locale? Let us know; we would like to hear from you.


OPSEC

It was 4:30am when the alarm went off last Saturday; WAY TOO early for this night-owl. But as I plopped my legs off the side of the bed, rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, and started to wake up I began to get feel a little excited about what my day had in store.

Paul and I were traveling to our "Family Mobilization Brief" four hours away. I was craving information. It was unavoidable that he was leaving. I had accepted that fact & was ready to find out what support services were going to be there for our family and a little bit more what was in store for him.

The meeting was in a middle-school & was very nicely set-up. When we arrived Paul got his picture taken for Operation Pillowase; I picked up information on ConnectAndJoin.com, Flat Daddy and so much more. Oh and was I ever so excited to see a whole table of donuts & coffee!

We sat down in the auditorium armed with brochures, stuff for the kids, magnets, calendars,... talk about information overload! Over the course of our day we listened to the various speakers on Tricare; what life was going to be like for the soldiers; Family Readiness Groups; pay & other finance talks; AKO; and of course the inevitable OPSEC, Operation Security.

Election Time

Today is Super Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and the ticker tape parade for the Giants in NYC. It is a dream world for the news agencies. The whole country is active and is hitting the streets!

The Giants parade will have fanatic fans out in force. Their team came from behind and did it... They won! Those few seconds at the end of the game changed the outcome of the season. The crowd at the stadium paid premium price to be there and be part of the action. They got to sound their approval of plays, calls and penalties. They were neatly squeezed together in a small space to cheer and encourage their team. Most did not need it, but there was a playbook: a list of the players with their numbers, a great souvenir. The Patriots had their first loss even though they were ahead most of the game. That doesn't count in the end. The team wins, or loses. Therefore the news is about the New York Giants, with what was the ultimate celebration: a ticker tape parade down the streets of one of the world's most famous cities. Congratulations!

Mardi Gras has about as much action as a football game! Folks line the streets in New Orleans. Buildings with verandas will be packed to overflow tonight as the floats come down Bourbon street. Arms will be outstretched to catch the necklaces, beads and trinkets that are thrown. Appreciation of the work put into the floats and the revelry of the crowd will take the celebration late into the night. Again, folks are making noise and partying in the streets.

Super Tuesday is so called for the primaries that are taking place across the United States today. This is the patriotic celebration of our right to say who will be there to run our country. But first, one has to take to the street and get out and vote. There is no price for a ticket entrance. The playbook is all over the television, and has been for months. No beads will be thrown, but your vote will be cast. Be part of history: vote.

Do you have any questions about voting? Moving from State to State can make you feel you just can't do it.... That is why the legal office on you installation is the BEST resource. Use it!

That First Assignment

Doesn’t everyone want a clear view of Area 51? J You want New Jersey? Zoom – how about Nevada?


Our first assignment after pilot training was an exciting one that demonstrated that the government, in my case, the US Air Force knows best! ;) We had orders for Andrews AFB in Maryland and being a Midwest guy who had recently married an East Coast gal we were quite excited to get there and settle in for at least four years. We had delayed our wedding till Deb had finished her French degree. She would be able to use it in the multi culture area surrounding DC! I was a political science guy too! We were set!


Imagine my surprise, when the commander called me in two weeks before our departure date to say, Lieutenant your orders have been changed. The next words created near shock as he said your new orders will say “Indian Springs, Nevada”! Wow, a plush DC area assignment to someplace I had to look at a map to find! When I did find it, the heart attack was the next medical condition to raise its ugly head! Indian Springs was 50 miles northwest into the desert from Las Vegas. Later we would discover it was actually 49.8 but who was counting the tenths at the beginning. We would experience a 100 mile round trip to go get a Big Mac or see a movie or go to a doctor appointment (we had a clinic with medical technicians only). We had a two aisle BX in a trailer type of building and a commissary that was smaller than the produce section at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas.


Sounds pretty horrible! Oh I failed to mention that our on base house roof blew off the day we brought our first child home! Yeah, mom from New Jersey was really impressed. But, when I look back over a career of assignments this was the best assignment for us. We grew as a family and the development of my flying skills kept me safe for a long time. I had two fantastic mentor pilots who showed me the ropes; the flying terrain taught me to learn about its impact on flying low level; flying for outside agencies such as the Atomic Energy Commission taught me customer support. I learned that I needed to be the smartest and most knowledgeable pilot possible to best accomplish the mission!


Our family grew and we became a strong cohesive unit as we met the challenges of life we faced in the Nevada desert. We lead a chapel youth group, had time for each other and met some great friends for cards on Friday night. We missed our extended families who were so far away but wrote letters and traveled when we could to see them. We also had many visitors who came for visits to see this beautiful place (in its own way; after all, we were only 50 miles or so from Death Valley). We gave many tours to Scotty’s Castle, Death Valley, Las Vegas and joined some of them as we gave money to the slot gods. J


When it came time to move on to another location we took with us these memories, opportunities taken and strength gained. We had a wonderful experience but climbed the hills to the see the valley!


What kind of assignment experiences can you share? Do you have a favorite location or unit? We always look for ways to spread the word about military life experiences so share one with us.


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