By Charles Melton (USAG Fort Irwin)November 12, 2010
FORT IRWIN, Calif.- When Mrs. Connie Abrams received the news her husband, Brig. Gen. Robert "Abe" Abrams was assigned to Fort Irwin and the National Training Center, she wasn't exactly thrilled.
"I have to admit when I found out we were coming out here I was not a happy camper," Mrs. Abrams said.
However, more than a year later, Mrs. Abrams admitted her feelings have changed.
"When and if we ever move, it's going to be a heartbreak because we've made great friends out here and it is kind of hometown," she said.
That hometown feel is part of what sets Fort Irwin apart from every other stateside installation, she said.
"I never had a hometown feel and this is what we have," Mrs. Abrams said. "I love it out here now, and it's amazing."
Mrs. Abrams and Brig. Gen. Abrams were surprise guests on the Nov. 8 morning radio show on 88.3 FM KNTC hosted by Fort Irwin/NTC Community Relations Officer Jackie Hoggins as they promoted the monthly new spouses' welcome event, which is on the first Wednesday of every month.
"Being a Fort Irwin is like that old TV show "Cheers," where everybody knows your name," Brig. Gen. Abrams said. "It's part of the small-town charm."
Helping newly arrived spouses become part of the Fort Irwin/NTC community is one of the primary reasons the installation hosts the spouses' welcome event each month, he said, noting that the most recent event on Nov. 3 had a good turnout.
"There were 14 or so new spouses, and we had some seasoned spouses and we had some others," he said. "There was a newlywed there who had been married less than three weeks to her new 2nd lieutenant husband. That's always exciting."
Brig. Gen. Abrams said when he and Mrs. Abrams were married they did some "discovery" learning at their first duty station, which was Fort Knox, Ky., a place both of them knew well.
"That's true, so true," Mrs. Abrams said. "The Soldiers have this whole in-processing network they go through, so they go to each place to in-process and they know where everything is."
However, the same isn't true for spouses on most installations. "(We) have to learn on our own,"she added.
Discovering who those providers are at each new duty station is a challenge, so the spouses' welcome event helps with that aspect of a move, she said.
"There is a lot of us wives who have been on Fort Irwin for awhile who know where to go and what to do and how to do it, and I think that helps with all the new spouses," she said.
Even though Fort Irwin is a small installation, it's not always easy to find organizations, she said, noting that's where the great representation of organizations from the Red Cross to the Spouses Club to MEDDAC and DENTAC and AAFES and the Commissary at the spouses' event is a great help.
"I think it's a great welcome and I think it's a great opportunity for spouses to see kind of what's out there for us," Mrs. Abrams said.