(A Letter to Shiloh)
I hope you’re settling into this life. Feel free to look around here, I have nothing to hide. So you’re Rob’s new chica, eh? Sweetness. There’s a lot to gain in that boy/man/child.
None the less, I want no disillusion about this life for you. So here’s what you need to know. Expect people when you tell them what your boyfriend does to treat you differently according to their stance on the war. DO NOT GIVE OUT INFORMATION! (Stated by the big rule OPSEC [Operational Security] and that could cost rank, and lives. Lose lips sink ships.) Give vague information. Example:
“Oh he’s a soldier? When does he return?”
“I have no idea, the military changes day by day.”
“What base? What time?”
“I will be alerted when and if he comes home.”
Its that simple sort of blase that may seem like you don’t care, but it’s really that you’re protecting him, and his entire battalion.
Don’t expect to come in front of the military either. Think of it as his real wife, and you are the mistress in the office on the side. That contract date is the deadline for the divorce to be finalized. I can’t see Rob going to ANG (Army National Guard. Trust me, you get sick of typing long phrases out. Learn the lingo!) to be a lifer.
Make sure, if you live together around drill, his bags are packed and ready the day before.
Learn MT (military time) because its a life saver.
Don’t expect everything to always be tip top, or to take to it like a fish in water. More like a fish on desert sand. You’re gonna feel awkward, out of place and you’ll miss him. But there are resources.
Wait at least 6 months to a year before saying hello or staying late enough to run into a battle buddy. This will give you strong enough courage to look him in the eye and give proper respect.
The days of white gloves and tea between wives on base is not so far off. The military will always hail back to the 1930’s and 40’s when enlistment was high. These standards have withstood the test of time. Luckily for you, you may never have to step on base and deal with post housing. If so, my dear you have taken bigger steps than I will.
Learn fast. Soak up everything Rob tells you. Memorize him. Everything. Expect change. And do your own research. The first research I did was soldier suicide. The second, death and PTSD from Afghanistan. Learn to love coffee. Keep your phone permanently charged.
Accept they are “minutemen” for reason. Live day by day. In fact, live each like he deploys tomorrow.
Face mission mode with a grain of salt. You’ll understand what I mean when you see Robert in it. Its truly terrifying yet at the same moment you feel proud. This handsome man, this soldier is yours and whether its under his simple t-shirt or buried within his ACUs, the man you love remains and although he won’t openly admit it, he is fighting to keep you and the children you will create safe.
From one MWIT (military wife in training) to another, I wish you the best of luck.
I still haven’t gotten back my strainer from dinner before drill. Expect that too.
Breanna Lee (Scott)
“Just don’t call me Mrs. Gold Bond,” Mandy said after introducing herself. Mandy’s husband used so much of the foot powder in his boots he had taken on the nickname.
“That’s a deal,” Rita said. “As long as you don’t call me Mrs. Scrotum.”
-“Army Wives” by Tanya Biank on Army nicknames and wives identities