When I was newly married to my soldier in 1991, a spouse warned me to not let the commander’s wife catch me talking with the spouse of an enlisted soldier. Was she serious? Sure, my husband was a young second lieutenant, but I was nervous, naive and looking for new friends. I spoke with almost anyone who would spend time with me.

A couple months after receiving my warning, the commander’s wife did pull me aside and suggested that it was not in my best interest to be fraternizing with a specific spouse at the sidelines of a unit sporting event. I was shocked!

Fortunately, I have since talked with many spouses from all walks of life, married to soldiers of all different ranks, and this experience has never been repeated.

Through the last 14 years of war, military spouses have worked very hard together in teams to support our soldiers and one another through many deployments. We have volunteered together at our children’s schools. I have personally attended and taught classes with spouses married to soldiers of many different ranks.

When my husband and I were first married, the leaders of our family support groups were most likely the company commanders’ spouses. Roles have changed in the past decades, and I’ve since met amazing family readiness group leaders who were spouses of young enlisted soldiers, all of whom served with a great volunteer spirit and a desire to help others.

One of the greatest changes I’ve seen since I was first married, is the creation of spouse clubs that include membership of spouses (not just wives) married to all ranks of soldiers.

Just last year, the Fort Hood Officers’ Spouses’ Club voted to open their membership to all Fort Hood Army spouses, and change the organization’s name to the Fort Hood Spouses’ Club. Wonderful! I was thankful to have been a part of the club last year as this change was discussed and voted upon by the membership, and am excited to see how it grows in the upcoming years, too.

What does this mean for the Fort Hood area army spouses? All spouses will be able to check out the new club for themselves at the Fort Hood Spouses’ Club Super Sign-Up on Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Phantom Warrior Center on 37th Street, Fort Hood. They will be able to join together at luncheons and special events, have fun, learn from one another, and work together in raising thousands of dollars in support of scholarships and other local programs.

I have personally benefited from many relationships with my “Army-issued friends” over the years, regardless of their soldiers’ ranks. I believe we all have a story to share and can help one another through support, friendship, and by sharing our experiences. I look forward to meeting more people as the Fort Hood Spouse’s Club grows in this upcoming year, and in future years, too.

Karin Markert, an Army spouse who lives at Fort Hood, is a freelance photographer and Herald correspondent.

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