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Thread: Ignorant to Military Life and Responsibilities

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    #1

    Ignorant to Military Life and Responsibilities

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    Hello Ladies,

    I am recently engaged to a Major in the AF. He will put on LtCol soon and hopes to be a Squadron Commander (I believe in a selection process now?). I have absolutely no experience prior to this in military life. After doing a little research it seems that there are many responsibilities and expectations of the spouses of those who are in command. This is something I would welcome but am intimidated by as I am so out of the loop and especially since I have read such conflicting viewpoints. There also seems to be some very strong opinions on both sides about who you can and cannot be friends/associate with. As far as I can tell there are no hard or absolute rules when it comes to these things. I know my DF would support my choices but I also want to support him and the career that is so important to him. I would appreciate any real life experiences or tips on how one would jump into this world being an "outsider".

    Thanks so much for any advice!
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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ThankfulLady81 View Post
    Hello Ladies,

    I am recently engaged to a Major in the AF. He will put on LtCol soon and hopes to be a Squadron Commander (I believe in a selection process now?). I have absolutely no experience prior to this in military life. After doing a little research it seems that there are many responsibilities and expectations of the spouses of those who are in command. This is something I would welcome but am intimidated by as I am so out of the loop and especially since I have read such conflicting viewpoints. There also seems to be some very strong opinions on both sides about who you can and cannot be friends/associate with. As far as I can tell there are no hard or absolute rules when it comes to these things. I know my DF would support my choices but I also want to support him and the career that is so important to him. I would appreciate any real life experiences or tips on how one would jump into this world being an "outsider".

    Thanks so much for any advice!
    A spouse has zero responsibilities. with few exceptions:
    1) when you are on base, if you violate any laws, speeding, shoplifting, etc, he will get shit over it.
    2) know the rules of the base. speeding, cell phone use while driving, restricted areas, etc.
    3) if you are the spouse of an admiral, general, etc...well, you aren't so no need to worry about that.
    4) dont lose your dependent id. If you do, report it immediately.
    5) dont get drunk and make an ass of yourself.
    other than common sense, thats about it. I am sure most of what you were reading was based on antiquated ideas from days past.
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    Thanks! The more I read on here the more I feel like most of the blogs and advice/etiquette articles are a bunch of crap. Appreciate the answer, sounds pretty simple .
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    #4
    There are zero *requirements* for a spouse. But anyone who tells you that there aren't expectations or assumptions for you is a bit naive. However, I've seen plenty of spouses that decide those things aren't for them and they simply don't do them, and it is fine. It's just that initially, people will assume you are going to be at certain meeting and lead certain committees (or whatever), until you tell them otherwise. The biggest thing in that case is just being clear. People might assume you are going to do X, Y, or Z. Politely make it clear you aren't, and when relevant, make it clear who will. (Likely the XO's or second in command's spouse, if s/he is willing, assuming things run similarly to the Navy.) IDK if the AF has this, but I know the Navy actually has a week long course to which they send spouses of those about to take command. It can help you know what is usually expected, and help you think about what boundaries you are going to set for yourself, and give you the tools you need to talk about this with your husband and decide what each of you expect or hope from from the other with regard to all this.
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    #5
    If he is currently in a squadron as an ADO or DO, the current DO or CC's wife is a great source of information. From what I've personally seen, the lead spouses within the group or wing, tend to mentor each other. Once the military member is officially in line for command of a squadron, there is a course that they (and their spouse) take that offers insight into the position.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    There are zero *requirements* for a spouse. But anyone who tells you that there aren't expectations or assumptions for you is a bit naive. However, I've seen plenty of spouses that decide those things aren't for them and they simply don't do them, and it is fine. It's just that initially, people will assume you are going to be at certain meeting and lead certain committees (or whatever), until you tell them otherwise. The biggest thing in that case is just being clear. People might assume you are going to do X, Y, or Z. Politely make it clear you aren't, and when relevant, make it clear who will. (Likely the XO's or second in command's spouse, if s/he is willing, assuming things run similarly to the Navy.) IDK if the AF has this, but I know the Navy actually has a week long course to which they send spouses of those about to take command. It can help you know what is usually expected, and help you think about what boundaries you are going to set for yourself, and give you the tools you need to talk about this with your husband and decide what each of you expect or hope from from the other with regard to all this.
    This. The AF did have that type of class for the spouses, but I am not sure if it still exists. I think it was paid for at the major command level, so some major commands may still have it and some may not. So, while the class for the commanders still exists, I am not sure whether spouses still attend.

    In the AF, spouses are not required to have any role. Only do what you are comfortable doing.
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ThankfulLady81 View Post
    Hello Ladies,

    I am recently engaged to a Major in the AF. He will put on LtCol soon and hopes to be a Squadron Commander (I believe in a selection process now?). I have absolutely no experience prior to this in military life. After doing a little research it seems that there are many responsibilities and expectations of the spouses of those who are in command. This is something I would welcome but am intimidated by as I am so out of the loop and especially since I have read such conflicting viewpoints. There also seems to be some very strong opinions on both sides about who you can and cannot be friends/associate with. As far as I can tell there are no hard or absolute rules when it comes to these things. I know my DF would support my choices but I also want to support him and the career that is so important to him. I would appreciate any real life experiences or tips on how one would jump into this world being an "outsider".

    Thanks so much for any advice!
    One item you asked about I missed.
    You can be freindly with whomever you like. Be aware though that your spouse does not have that luxury.
    It would be bad if you decided to have your friend and her husband over for dinner, and it turned out that he was an enlisted person directly in your husband's chain of command.





    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    There are zero *requirements* for a spouse. But anyone who tells you that there aren't expectations or assumptions for you is a bit naive. However, I've seen plenty of spouses that decide those things aren't for them and they simply don't do them, and it is fine. It's just that initially, people will assume you are going to be at certain meeting and lead certain committees (or whatever), until you tell them otherwise. The biggest thing in that case is just being clear. People might assume you are going to do X, Y, or Z. Politely make it clear you aren't, and when relevant, make it clear who will. (Likely the XO's or second in command's spouse, if s/he is willing, assuming things run similarly to the Navy.) IDK if the AF has this, but I know the Navy actually has a week long course to which they send spouses of those about to take command. It can help you know what is usually expected, and help you think about what boundaries you are going to set for yourself, and give you the tools you need to talk about this with your husband and decide what each of you expect or hope from from the other with regard to all this.
    I think these are specific to certain ranks or jobs.
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    #8
    the Navy actually has a week long course to which they send spouses of those about to take command. It can help you know what is usually expected, and help you think about what boundaries you are going to set for yourself, and give you the tools you need to talk about this with your husband and decide what each of you expect or hope from from the other with regard to all this.[/QUOTE]
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    #9
    My DH ended up taking command unexpectedly in the middle of his current deployment. Don't ask me what type of command, but apparently he's got a lot more to do now ...but I have no additional responsibilities and couldn't tell you his actual title or anything of the sort. In my opinion, you can be as hands on or hands off as you want to be. I did step up and offer to help a little more with the FRG and organized a get together in our area of the state (we're NG), but I was already planning on that before he took command.
    Put on your big girl panties and deal with it like a boss.

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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Guynavywife View Post
    One item you asked about I missed.
    You can be freindly with whomever you like. Be aware though that your spouse does not have that luxury.
    It would be bad if you decided to have your friend and her husband over for dinner, and it turned out that he was an enlisted person directly in your husband's chain of command.

    I think these are specific to certain ranks or jobs.
    Good point! This is all from the Naval Aviation community perspective, were command is O-5 and where they fleet up, meaning they do one tour as XO and then move up to CO in the same command. I have friends in other communities (all of which still have an O-5 CO) and the expectations of their CO spouses seem to be similar, but I'm sure there's a lot of variety, especially when you start looking at other services.

    Also, OP, you can be friends with whomever you want, but sometimes it can get complicated, like GNW points out. You might be great friends with the spouse and hang out and go to lunch and hit up a bar together. If her husband (or wife) is in your DH's command, some people *might* raise an eyebrow at that. Ultimately, that's on them, but your DH may feel differently about it, so it makes sense that the two of you discuss your personal boundaries and come up with what works for the two of you. And if the friendship between you and her is different than anything that starts to involve the service members.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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