Most squadrons on most bases have a spouses’ group. Not always, it depends on the squadron and level of participation and involvement of the spouses. I think it also depends on the type of squadron, for example, for AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command), each base has a pretty involved spouses’ group with key spouses and key spouse mentors. The mission for these squadrons is a little, intense? Busy? High-risk? I’m not sure what word best describes their MO but essentially, it’s important for the spouses to be “taken care of.”
We have to make sure there’s a good community in case anything happens, and we need to support someone or their family in any way. Yes, spouse groups are there for the unfortunate worst, and unimaginable days, but more commonly, think of new babies, squadron gifts, and meal trains to help the new family.
Spouse groups are crucial in creating the “family” vibe within the military … ideally. Unfortunately, this is not always the reality. I have found that most overseas bases are great! There’s a lot of participation and willingness to meet new people and make new friends.
A lot of spouses strive to find some semblance of a village or military family to survive the lack of their actual family for three to four years. However, if we’re being honest, and I’m nothing if not honest and authentic, I’ve personally been involved in a couple that have not had that same allure.
If squadrons aren’t careful, some of the groups can get quite divided, and as much as we all want to ignore the line that separates enlisted and officers, it is still very apparent, and some groups are set on the separation of the two and the spouses involved mirror that same energy. It’s an outdated school of thought. The squadron spouses’ groups that I’ve had the worst experiences with remind me of high school all over again. It’s incredibly sad and makes for a very lonely and unsupported station. The division between ranks isn’t always the issue, in many instances, it’s big personalities that tend to clash with others, entitlement, and this absurd idea that the active-duty members’ rank somehow transfers to the spouses.
Now this isn’t to place blame on any one person, squadron, or active-duty members, because the last thing they need to worry about is any issues going on amongst the spouses. Their sole focus should be on their mission. With that said, there is a sense of camaraderie and morale that needs to be kept up within the entirety of the squadron for that mission to run smoothly. Hence, families need to be taken care of. So as much as it isn’t for the squadron to worry about it, at the same time, it is a crucial cog in the machine.
Spouses are important as if that needs to be said, right?! But it’s worth repeating because we make so many sacrifices, we follow our service members from station to station — whether that’s the next state over or the next country. We pick up and move repeatedly and roll with the unpredictable punches the military throws. We hold down the homefront and keep things controlled and, somewhat, contained. Spouses keep things running, they need not be forgotten or neglected.
Now the bitter pill to swallow is the reality that spouses are adults, or rather, supposed to be mature adults and if a spouse’s group requires babysitting and discipline, walk away and find your village elsewhere. Toxic people and groups have no space in this life that is already hard enough, gravitate towards the spouses who fill your cup and soul.