During the month of November, The Real Wife Movement™ will be featuring stories from military wives. These brave veterans or active duty women will share their stories of military and marriage.
Be inspired by Tracy’s Story.
I grew up watching my Mother bend over the ironing board, taking great care to place those diamond-sharp creases smack dab in the center of my father’s dungaree pant legs. By this time, she had ended her seven years with the Navy and had taken on the role of a stay-at-home mother. My father was a proud seaman, having given thirty-one years of his life to the U. S. Navy. There was a time when he held down a part-time job, cleaning offices, in order to supplement the family income; but what I remember most about that time, was that he was a Navy recruiter.
My dad brought home movies that he shared with his potential recruits and I was simply mesmerized by them. I was maybe even intrigued. From that point on, I developed a passion to serve our military forces. With a year of college under my belt, I found myself at a Cleveland, Ohio Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). With my right hand raised before God and our flag, I affirmed to become an Army soldier. Let’s just say, this blew my father’s “seafaring” mind!
Finally, I’d done it: “I was going to be ‘All That I Could Be!’”
Then I met him.
Our best friends dated each other. One night, while stationed in Augsburg, Germany, with its cobblestone roads and eager single women with goals of returning to the states as Army dependents, my friend Ann received a call from her boyfriend. He and “his boy” were drunk. Being a dedicated girlfriend, she and I jumped into her POV (all military members know what that is) and ran to his rescue. There he was. Drunk as a skunk. But I married him . . . eventually.
Byron and I met again, in the light of day. He was sober AND cute! Now mind you, I entered the Army on the heels of a bad breakup. Being in the military had always been a passion of mine, but the breakup was the push.
A bit of backstory: My mother left my father when I was nine years old and divorced a year later. Without knowing the entire story, adultery was definitely a deciding factor. And then, I moved into these Army barracks in the summer of 1985 . . . Shout out to the “229th S & S Company!” I saw men and women cheating on their spouses like it’s going out of style! While I liked Byron immediately, I wasn’t really sure if this “marriage in the military” phenomenon was for me.
In spite of all of my misgivings, Byron and I fell in love. Ten months after we began dating, including a separation of about six months when he was stationed at Fort Ritchie, MD and I was still in beautiful Germany, we got married. Byron had transitioned out of the military by April of 1986 and I was still serving – and loving it. In June of the same year, we stood before a Justice of the Peace in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I was clad in my “dress greens” holding back a raucous laugh. I was really getting married.
The Army treated us well and I wouldn’t trade anything for my service. Not ONE thing! I am one of those passionate types who saw the Army commercial where they were running through the woods, firing weapons while managing to keep those steel pots securely fastened to their heads and stood jumping up and down in front of the television screen, pointing and shouting, “I WANT TO DO THAT!”
My husband, on the other hand, is the analytical type who sat down and calculated how the Army would benefit him and a career of his choice. Each of us had different motives for serving, but the Army was the place we chose to serve.
We learned how to appreciate loyalty and camaraderie from our Basic Training Days. We learned how to remain committed to things we enlisted in and realized thoughts of Absent Without Official
Leave (AWOL) were not even an option. We learned from our days of Physical Training (PT) assessments that relationships – successful relationships – require routine, sometimes daily attention and hard work. Truth be told, if I wasn’t so concerned about childcare for my children, I would have been writing this blog as an Army retiree.
“Would I do it differently if I had a chance to do it all over again?” No way! No how! I went in to this thing walking out of a nightmarish breakup and came out of it with the man of my dreams!
We Are an ARMY of ONE!