By Mr. Robert Timmons (IMCOM)May 17, 2018
Military spouses on Fort Jackson were "rewarded" for their help in keeping the Army ready May 11 with a special serenade from a troupe singing World War II-era music.
Victory Belles, a singing trio based out of the National World War II museum in New Orleans, sang patriotic and period music during the installation's Military Spouse Appreciation Day celebration at the NCO Club. Their show included 1940s-era classics like the "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B," and a musical tribute to each branch of the armed forces.
"When I think of a military spouse, I think of readiness," said Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, Fort Jackson's commander, as he opened up the event. "I think of mission. I think of everything that our nation asked our military services to do is really on the shoulders and sacrifices of military spouses."
Military spouses have been behind the scenes helping service members since "the first Basic Combat Training" at Valley Forge, Johnson said.
"It was a seasonal business to fight back then," he said. "And in the winter the families would come into the frame. These military spouses gave way allowing for the refitting and reset of the entire Continental Army."
Military spouses throughout American history bore the sacrifice of raising children and taking care of the household while their husbands or wives were off fighting.
"The burden of that has been held really on the shoulders of the military spouse," Johnson said moments before the singers took the stage.
The Belles sang and danced to the delight of viewers showing their thanks for their service to the nation.
"Thank you for keeping us and the rest of our country safe," said Mandi Rigell, one of the Victory Belles, after the performance. "We applaud you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Joel Hiller, a Vietnam veteran found himself being thanked up close and personal by Victory Belle Courtney Andersen. Andersen serenaded him before leaning over and planting kisses on his cheeks and forehead leaving bright red lipstick as a reminder.
Hiller said he wasn't going to wipe it off just yet.
"I'm going to take that home with me," he said. "In fact, I'm going to show it to some friends tonight."
The post's military spouse appreciation event resonated particularly well with Hiller as he remembered his wife who passed away 10 year ago.
'She was with me during my wars … while I was away from home and I like to say, 'thank you,'" he said.
When Hiller left for Vietnam, he left his wife to care for their 16-month-old daughter.
"It took a long time to get over that," he said solemnly, because my wife "is saying, 'she's still looking for her Daddy."
The Victory Belles would perform later that day for trainees of 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment.