FORT EUSTIS, Va. (May 7, 2009) -- The spouses of Fort Eustis and Story leaders share their thoughts and experiences as military spouses

Being a military spouse requires flexibility, strength and commitment and recognizing the dedication and selflessness of military spouses, the U.S. armed forces dedicates the Friday before Mothers Day as Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

The observance was established in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan determined that the efforts and commitment of those behind America's men and women in uniform should no longer go unheeded.

Earlier this week, The Wheel sat down with some of the spouses of Fort Eustis and Story senior leaders to talk about deployments and separations, the challenges of being a military spouse, and the ways the support system for Army families has changed over time.

What kind of support system did the Army offer when you first married your Soldier'

Ella Layer, spouse of Fort Eustis Commander Brig. Gen. Brian R. Layer, Army spouse 23 years:
"It was totally different than now. There really weren't any FRGs (Family Readiness Groups).
We only had coffees and that's where you got your information, from senior wives."

Lola Georgi, spouse of 8thTransportation Brigade
Commander Col. Daniel Georgi, Army spouse 20 years: "Being a new military wife, I really wasn't aware of any kind of support group. I didn't really have anyone approach me. I just bonded with my coworkers."

How has the Army's family support system evolved over the course of your career as an Army spouse'

Claudia Matamoros, spouse of Fort Story Garrison Sgt. Maj. Carlos J. Matamoros Jr., Army spouse 12 years: "The lines of communication letting you know what's going on are more open now, more resources are available for you, and the rapport is better."

Williemae Reid, spouse of 8th Trans. Bde. Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Reid, Army spouse 18 years: "The Army has changed for the better. Now we have resources and instructors to help and pre-deployment meetings."

How do you get through deployments and separations'

Cilicia M. Offord, spouse of 597th Trans. Terminal Group Command Sgt. Maj. Allen B. Offord Jr., Army spouse 14 years: "For me, I just had to be actively working. And prayer, constant prayer."

Georgi: "We all have our own ways, but I spend very little time being sad, so I just keep moving."

Reid: You have to step up your game, being the mom and the dad and not show your sadness to the kids.

What advise do you have for military spouses'

Matamoros: "Ask questions, make yourself familiar with the other wives."
Reid: "I would tell them to put God first and then be there for each other. There are going to be bumps in the road, but you can't let your Soldier see that you're falling apart. Talk to each other."

What have you treasured the most as a military spouse'

Georgi: "Meeting new people, it's helped me grow.
Being a spouse is probably the most rewarding because it's shown me that I can do things I didn't even know I could do."

Offord: "Meeting new people and moving to different places."

What is the secret to a successful military marriage'

Layer: "Make time for each other. Talk and listen to each other."

Reid: "We try to make time for each other even if it's over the phone just to say 'I love you.'"

Matamoros: "Cherish each moment that you have with your spouse.
We only have one life, and that's precious."

Offord: "Anytime you actually have that time together is special."

Final thoughts'

Georgi: "It's been tough sometimes, but overall it's been a pretty good ride."

Layer: "Being a military spouse is challenging, but you have to think outside the box. It's hard sometimes, but you just do it."

Page last updated Thu May 7th, 2009 at 15:32