Servicemembers on Air Force One!

Recently, the 2007 Coast Guard’s Enlisted Person of the Year, Machinery Technician Second Class Christopher Hutto, along with four other servicemembers from different branches, flew on Air Force One with President Bush. Apparently, this has never happened before, except for servicemembers who were formally attached to the President’s detail.

The servicemembers along with MK2 Hutto were, Sergeant John Badon of the Marine Corps, Senior Airman Alicia Goetschel of the Air Force, Chief Petty Officer Shenequa Cox of the Navy, and Staff Sergeant Michael Noyce-Merino of the Army National Guard.

 

Information for this post was derived from reading: The Free-Lance Star and First Coast News.

Giving back.

There are so many opportunities to do good in the military community. This website is just one wonderful example of that. What Wendy has provided for the Navy community and the military community at large is wonderful. I have a hunch Wendy does even more than this site and Navy Wife Radio, she just seems like the giving kind of gal. As a matter of fact, most spouses do.

It appears to be a trait of military spouses-by nature we are nurturers, givers, and lend-a-handers. Sure there are spouses who are disconnected from the community and don’t get involved, but those who are involved seem to outnumber them.

So what does “involved” mean? Well, it could be something as simple as attending FRG meetings to acting as a Key Volunteer or unit’s Ombudsman. Other ways to be involved include reaching out to your fellow spouses and military families in their time of need, whether it’s to help with a new baby or a PCS move. I can name so many military spouses who have made a positive impact on my life because of their involvement. They have either led by example in a leadership capacity or shown me the ropes on something unfamiliar to me. The common theme seems to be that of community.

We’ve got each others’ backs. We look out for the greater good. We seek ways to make positive changes in the world and community around us.  Giving back doesn’t have to be in some monumental fashion, it’s the effort that speaks volumes.

Girl time-Historical Romance Aids in Cardiovascular Health

I had a girly/chick-flick night. Of course, the only girl present was me. All in all, it was fabulous! I actually had a chance to kick up my feet and enjoy a movie that I picked. So often military wives are busy holding down the homefront and juggling a million things, we forget to or don’t place importance on “me time”. When we do, at least when I do, it’s great to remember how magnificent it can be. Even just a few minutes or one hour can make a world of difference in terms of morale.

Based on Philappa Gregory’s novel by the same title, the movie The Other Boleyn Girl was a hit with me. Of course, it wasn’t as long as I would have preferred, but I did enjoy it. Additionally, did conjure up a myriad of emotions from frustration to love and even anger. Over all, it was well done in my assessment despite the average reviews from movie critics. If you’ve seen it, what were your thoughts?

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t yet seen/read it. So, I won’t elaborate. I will say though that I wish I had read the book first though. I like to do that before watching a movie. Of course, being short on time and already reading two books got in the way of that effort.

 One disclaimer: The very hunky Eric Bana as Henry Tudor may have your heart pumping during this movie. Please consult your physician if you have any health concerns in advance of watching.

 A word of thanks:  I am grateful that my husband isn’t deployed at this point in time because he was the recipient of some amorous inspiration, which may or may not have been a direct result of the viewing of this film.

Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (not yet passed)

Below is a message sent to AFCPE Military Spouse Fellows this week
(I wanted to share with Crazy Amazing Military Life readers, since it may affect you. Please take action if you are so inclined)
————–

…Rebecca Poynter and Joanna Williamson have been working with Congressman Carter to pass the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act.

The bill has passed the House but is stalled in the Senate just this Friday because someone objected to the language regarding giving military spouses the same benefit of residency relief that our service members currently enjoy.The current bill, HR 6225 (ours was rolled into it) is currently in the Veteran’s Affairs committee of the Senate.[Poynter and Williamson] are encouraging all military spouses to call the Senators on the VA committee (and speak to their Legislative Aide) and to tell them their story of how having to change driver’s licenses, voter registrations, vehicle registrations (and the costs associated with that!), etc. has impacted them. But most importantly, to also ask them to support the Carter Military Spouses language that is part of HR6225.

[Below is a list of] the names of the Senators and Aides (where possible) below.[They’ve] come so close; [they’re] worried they are actually going to take this away from [military spouses].[They] believe in the power of the military spouse network and feel that when unleashed, is one of the greatest forces on earth. [They] would greatly appreciate your support and action on behalf of yourself as a military spouse as well as on behalf of all military spouses.

Akaka, Daniel K.- (D – HI) (202) 224-6361

Aide: Lisa F.

Brown,Sherrod- (D – OH) (202) 224-2315

Aide: Diane Wilkinson

Burr, Richard- (R – NC) (202) 224-3154

Aide: Kevin Tuess(??)

Craig, Larry E.- (R – ID) (202) 224-2752

Aide: Patrick (Nielman??)

Graham, Lindsey- (R – SC) (202) 224-5972

Aide: Adam Brake

Hutchison, Kay Bailey- (R – TX) 224-5922

Aide:Isakson, Johnny- (R – GA) (202) 224-3643

Aide: Lauren Walter (along with Houston Ernst)

Murray, Patty- (D – WA) (202) 224-2621

Aide: Joshua Jacobs

Obama, Barack- (D – IL) (202) 224-2854

Aide: Ruchi Bhowmik

Rockefeller, John D., IV- (D – WV) (202) 224-6472

Aide: Clete Johnson or Barbara Pryor

Sanders, Bernard- (I – VT) (202) 224-5141

Aide: Janko Mitric

Specter, Arlen- (R – PA) (202) 224-4254

Aide: Will Wagner

Tester, Jon- (D – MT) (202) 224-2644

Aide: James Wise

Webb, Jim- (D – VA) (202) 224-4024

Aide: William Edwards

Wicker, Roger F.- (R – MS) (202) 224-6253

If you prefer to email the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, you may do so via web form: Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs link

A sad day for the USCG.

As many of you may already be aware, a CG HH-65 (helo) crashed last night off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii. The crew was participating in a routine training exercise.

According to the Honolulu Advertiser, “The crash occurred while the crew of the HH-65 was performing small boat hoists with a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Honolulu. This routine exercise prepares aircrews — and boat crews — for hoisting injured persons from a boat to the aircraft” (Sep. 5, 2008).

My friend, a Coast Guard officer who happens to be married to a Coast Guard pilot, wrote the following today at Waiting for Ships. She summarized the news, her thoughts and the collective sadness of the Coast Guard family at large. I have no words to add anything more, but thought I would share and echo her final sentiments about holding your loved ones closer tonight.

The following was written by and posted by the Flying Fish at Waiting for Ships, 9/5/08:

As of right now, three Coasties have lost their lives, and a fourth is still missing. All the members of the crew have wives and families, and have left them, as well as their wider CG family behind. The hubs and I are “lucky” enough to not know any of those involved personally, but that doesn’t make it hurt less.

I am choking back tears as I type – our service is so small that we feel every loss. Our aviation community is even smaller, and, of course, closer to us, and I’d be lying if my first thought wasn’t of the hubs. I like to forget that, every time he flies, this possibility exists. I like to think that he’s always safe. But, the reality is that every Coastie takes a risk every time they fly or get underway on a boat or cutter. It’s not inherently safe, and we can only do our best to keep it safer.

I think I’ll stop there, before I make it too real for everyone else, as well. But, please, keep the familes of LCDR Andrew Wischmeier, AST1 David Skimin, and AMT2Joshua Nichols in your thoughts and prayers. At the same time, please keep the family of the missing pilot in your thoughts. Prayer that he may be found sooner than later. Also, keep all of Air Station Barbers Point in your prayers. They’re still out there right now, flying and searching for their own lost crewmember. And, finally, remember the crew of the 47′ MLB – they watched it happen since they were there conducting training with the helo. I can’t imagine what images are going through their minds right now.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

Doesn’t a sailor belong at sea?

We are looking at options; options for the future.

So there is a possibility that if you go this route, you may never get underway….again? I asked my beloved.

Well, possibly, he replied.

I mulled this over. On the surface it sounded spectacular and many a wife would gladly hear those words. Still, I know, in my heart, that he loves being at sea. When we started dating, I will admit, I fell in love with the romantic notion that he’d go out to sea, and I’d wait lovingly until he returned. It wasn’t forever, I told myself, and always been an independent woman. I could do this. I would do this. I’ve been doing this.

 

I knew from our first date that I wanted to spend eternity with this man. I felt like Brandy, watching his eyes and listening to his stories of riding the ocean waves. I could feel the power of the storms and smell the salt of the water. While I knew he’d always be in my heart, I knew also that he had a passion for the great deep blue. I never thought he’d choose it over me, but I know he has always been drawn to it, and I respect that. In turns he respects me and always discusses a new billet with me before jumping in head first (that’s if he has a choice). In a way, I think it’s his way of reassuring himself that I’m okay with this life. I’m sure he struggles with it. Who wouldn’t? You love being at sea, but you love your family waiting at home too.

So, what’s a girl to say? A teeny tiny part of me wants to say “Yes, stay ashore. Be home to watch the kids grow.” Still, I’m a believe in allowing him to make his own career decisions (without too much nagging from me). We talk about the family first. Obviously, with children and school and housing matters, family often throws a wrench in the mix. Still, after we talk about ideal places for our family. I let him go from there. I can work almost anywhere so that doesn’t concern me. So, I encourage him to think about his career advancement and getting the most out of educational and training opportunities. I want him to look back on his Coast Guard years and feel satisfied.

Why is this so important to me? Well, I’m glad you asked. When I was in the service, I didn’t take advantage of a few opportunities that came my way. I felt I was young and had all the time in the world. In addition, I never envisioned getting out as soon as I did. I had my goals set on a 20 year career, at least. So, I have a few regrets. I wish I had taken that overseas tour. I wish I had gone to that school in D.C. I should have completed my Bachelors when I was still active. I could go on and on. Still, I did get to experience a lot of great things and establish some solid connections, and for that I’m grateful that I wasn’t a complete dunce.

Back on topic though, I don’t want my husband to look back with remorse over things in the years to come. So, what do you say to your husband when he’s asking you about no more sea duty? Well, I told him, I support whatever decision you make. Either way, the future looks pretty bright, no matter what route he chooses. I just wish I had a crystal ball to show me what the ultimate decision will be. Until then, I’ll hand over the looking glass for him to have a tête à tête about which road to travel.

So, what does a landlocked sailor do? I’ll let you know if and when I find out. :)~

Fading Memories

Property of Museum of History & Industry, Seattle
My great grandmother passed away last year at the age of 93. I can’t begin to tell you how much I miss her. My family at large recognizes a void when we gather. She had a spirit about her. No, it was more spunk. Yes, even in her old age, she was spunky. I loved her and so terribly regret that I missed out on so much as I myself grew up. I never got a chance to ask her so much. Today, I sit here with questions that could fill the pages of a novel.
Her name was Ann. She was part of the Greatest Generation. This is my favorite period in history, and I never thought to ask my grandmother about it when she was still alive. Sure, I have a few stories from her childhood and the tales she told of the early years of her marriage, but my memories are now fading with time. I should have written them down. I should have paid better attention.
My grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease, which is both progressive and fatal for many. It’s a heartbreaking condition that has the ability to tear you apart knowing that you cannot give someone back their mind and memories. You feel helpless. I imagine the patient feels the same in some respects, then again, do they know? They are frustrated and they are bewildered at lot of the times because people are trying to remind them of things that they didn’t even know were forgotten. It’s tragic.
~~~
On a happier note, I recently finished reading an amazing book, by Elizabeth Berg. Dream When You’re Feeling Blue paid homage to the servicemen at war and the families on the homefront during WWII, the greatest generation. Since I have such an affinity for anything associated with this era, I could see myself in the plot, I felt akin to the characters. Berg, a New York Times bestselling author eloquently depicted many aspects of romance and family life as well as patriotism. Those which stood out to me the most were sacrifice, honor, and responsibility.
You will fall in love with the Heaney family and your heart will both ache and leap with joy as you journey through time with this tale. While it’s a fictional piece, the majority of it is based on factual places and events. In fact, Berg painstakingly researched this book and the history behind the times to present the most accurate description of the period and lives she was telling about. Not only is this a chronicle of love and honor, but is also one of history that is easy to relate to in our own tumultuous times.

To buy this book online: Visit Random House for online retailers
Audio Book: Simply Audiobooks
Another intriguing read, I hope to get my hands on soon: An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

Relatable?: Random Thoughts of a Military Wife

On this week’s live Navy Wife Radio show (be sure to see the archives), Wendy talked briefly about how she hoped this blog could exhibit some transparency. Here I am thinking, She wants me to be see-through? She wants people to think I’m shallow? No, no, she wants us to be relatable.

Well, what could I tell you about me to draw that connection? I suppose I could tell you that despite my being used to this military life that I cry. Yes, I do break down and have my really horrible moments. I have even been known to want to throw the towel in. These moments are few, but they exist. I’m no different than anyone else. I love the opportunities that we have but I detest many of the struggles. No one said this is easy, and it surely isn’t. I know that there are some folks out there who get fed up with the chain of command and rules and regulations. Count me in your corner, I’m there too. Yes (here’s comes the pun), we are all in the same boat.

I imagine some of you stay at home moms can relate this: I miss the working world, even though I love my children with all of my heart. Truthfully, though, what I would give to don my high heels and suits again and sit through a boring office meeting in lieu of changing diapers or doing yet another load of laundry. I know, I know, I still do this when I’m gainfully employed. Sometimes, I wish a maid would just magically appear before my eyes though. A girl can dream, can’t she?

Oh, here’s another! I have a fantasy about lavish formal dinners where I’m the hostess-with-the-mostess, and my DH is proudly seated at the head of the table regaling people with sea stories. Fat chance! My husband, while he enjoys his coworkers and many longtime military friends, detests formality. He loves to separate work from home and vice versa. Me, I actually have romantic daydreams about a bygone era where the military wife actually did host such gatherings and appear a bit like June Cleaver, Bree Van de Kamp/Hodge or any other fictional woman of perfection. Yes, I would like to work and be the perfect housewife too.

So, there you have it, some random thoughts of a loony military spouse. Maybe I’m not all that relatable, but it’d be interesting to see if I’m not alone.

If you could spare a thought…

This past April, Jessica told us the story of a little boy named Dillon who badly needs our prayers. Dillon is the son of a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force. Like Dillon’s mother, there is another military spouse out there (and probably many more) who has dreaded the scans and medical news of her child.

You see, a young Coastie kid on the West Coast by the name of Hadley Fox has been battling cancer for four years now. Little Hadley has undergone so much in her young life and it’s truly heartbreaking, but she has the most beautiful spirit and keeps smiling despite it all. Recently, the Fox Family was informed by the doctors that Hadley’s condition is now terminal.

Hadley’s father serves in the US Coast Guard and the family is currently wrapping up a PCS. Can you believe it? Just going about your daily routine and dealing with a PCS can be unnerving, but you smack something horrific on top of this lifestyle like pediatric cancer and it’s unimaginable.

A good friend of mine recently posted about Hadley and her strength and that of her family on a Coast Guard blog. If you’d like to read it, please do. Folks have put together a fund for Hadley’s Magic Days, which I think is just wonderful. The post is called: Do you believe in Magic? Also, if you want to read about Hadley’s diagnosis and her treatment to date, you can visit her family’s Caring Bridge site at: http://www.caringbridge.org/ca/hadleyfox/

Please keep Hadley and the Fox family in your prayers if you can. Thanks for reading.

 

Feeding the Lonely: Snacks While He’s Deployed

Sure, your beloved is gone, and it’s tough. You find yourself giving in to cravings and trying to feed the pain. Your brain says “No”, but your taste buds and aching heart say “feed me”. You don’t want to pack on the pounds while he’s away. Truthfully, you want to look pretty svelte upon his return. So, you hit the gym and start working up a sweat. Girl, doesn’t that feel great? You know the saying Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Well, I’m here to inform you that something does taste as good. In fact, it tastes so good, you may think about hoarding them in cold stores in your own home. Trust me, you will want to fashion something to keep them safe—away from any animals, bugs, dust, warm weather, children, spouses, visitors that might try to get to them.

What is this spectacular treat? Champion Chip chocolate chip cookies by Newman’s Own Organic (The Second Generation) are a gift from the heavens. They are beautiful. They are delicious. They are why my husband might come to a whale of a wife. Try them, if you can find them at your local store. Oh, and put them in the freezer—they are extra yummy that way.

If this current deployment of my husband’s gets extended, I won’t cry. Rather, I might just run (or waddle) out to the store to pick up some more cookies. They make my soul happy. Of course, they can’t cuddle like he does (that can’t be replaced). Maybe I’ll cut back on the cookies just a bit. Nah, I’ll just have to go to the gym more so I can justify this coping mechanism.