August 16, 2005

Military wife, unique life: part 1

On May 24, 2004, I entered a life where many have been before and many will follow, but those on the outside will not understand ... I became a military spouse.
For me I entered with my eyes open. My husband had complete the Army ROTC program at the college where we met and had received his commission.
My first taste of the seperations we would have to face was when he left for the Officers' Basic Course. We were only a few states apart and I had stayed in Houston where both of our families lived, but I was still anxious to get his calls. We were seperated for nearly 10 months and we would try to do all the things we missed doing together like going to the movies or to a nice dinner whenever I could visit (which was about every three months).
Getting to Fort Polk I though would be a relief, but it was just ... different.
I was suddenly thown into a military community filled with acronyms, titles and customs I did not understand.
APFT, JRTC, BDU, LBE, JAG ... many of the conversations here were filled with jargon and abbreivations that sent my head spinning.
I already had a job at the post newspaper waiting when we arrived, so I was thrown into it head first. My first day at work, May 24, 2004, I had to cover a luncheon with Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero, commanding general of the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, and other local officials from the neighboring towns.
I felt like I was back in my first journalism class as I interviewed him.
At one point in the luncheon we were individually asked "What significance does today have for you?" It was asked in reference to the permit that was being signed at the luncheon for the partnership between Fort Polk and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.
When the question came to me and I explained that it was my first day at Fort Polk, but that it meant that my husband whom I married later that day and I would end a 9-plus month seperation.
A few months later when I would again talk to the general, he asked me how I like being married into the military and explained to his wife who was with him of our meeting that first day.
For him it may have just been a question in passing, but for me it meant that I was not invisible ... for here was a general who had the responsibilty of running an installation and training center asking me about settling in to my new life.
After the luncheon, I return to the office, where my editor released me for the rest of the day so my husband and I could go get married.
The wedding itself is a whole other story, but come back ... you'll find it amusing how I was married by a barefoot justice of the peace with goats in the neighbor's yard.

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