By Kari Hawkins, USAG RedstoneJanuary 18, 2012
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Spouses of the military deserve a chance to see the Army, too.
With that in mind, the spouses of the Army's highest level sergeants major were invited to join their Soldier at Redstone Arsenal for a spouses meeting that coincided with last week's Sergeants Major of the Army Board of Directors meeting.
The group received updates on Army family programs, and resiliency programs that the Army is providing Soldiers and their families.
"The outcome that we hope to get from this is to start a chain of communication with senior spouses that we can push down throughout the Army," said Jeanne Chandler, wife of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler.
"We want to know what the best practices are and then we want to make sure they are implementing for spouses and their families throughout the Army."
Resiliency programs for family members are an area of emphasis that Chandler would like to see incorporated throughout the Army.
"I don't believe I was born resilient," she said. "It's a skill set you can learn. I believe if the Army had incorporated resiliency programs 10 years ago when the war started then we would have had less divorce, less suicide and fewer family breakups."
Often, Chandler thinks about the young wives of enlisted Soldiers, and those first few years they spend as an Army wife.
"The important thing for them is to learn about the Army and to get involved," she said. "They should get involved with Army Family Team Building and with their family readiness groups and other programs that bring them together with military spouses.
"There is no other person who can really understand what they are going through than another spouse going through the same thing."
Those spouses who do educate themselves about the Army and get involved discover that the military is "a wonderful way of life," Chandler said.
"They will discover, like I have, that they are tougher than they think they are. They are more resilient when they are involved in an Army community."
As the wife of the Army's top enlisted Soldier, Chandler hopes she can be an example to the spouses of other enlisted Soldiers.
"I have really cherished the opportunity to make a difference," she said. "It surprises me how much joy and gratitude I get from helping others. I enjoy extending myself and being someone who can help other military spouses."