Being a military spouse isn’t something you choose, per se. It’s really more of something that happens to you.
For some, it may seem like finding a lost puppy. Sure the puppy is a really cute and a seemingly likeable thing to find. But whether you decide to keep it, or find a nice home, it’s work. You didn’t expect to do all this, but you’re the one who found the puppy, and you took on this responsibility.
I met my husband on a blind date, not knowing I would find love. I fell head over heels for a soldier. And just like that, without even trying, I became an Army spouse. Or as the Army called it, “a dependent acquired on TDY status.” Whatever that means.
And while moving, making new friends and understanding this world of acronyms wasn’t easy, I had one thing going for me: I was in the gender majority.
I’ve spent the past week working on a story for the Fort Hood Herald about male military spouses. Despite more women in the service these days, female soldiers only make up 16 percent of those serving at Fort Hood. That number shrinks when you look at the female soldiers who are married; the number married to civilians, still even smaller.
And as much as I whine and complain about trying to make new friends, for me to walk into a room of women is one thing — for a man to walk into a room of women is a spectacle, as one of the male spouses described it to me.
Of the three men I interviewed, Rich Lucas was the one who seemed to bite the bullet and go all in.
The spouse of a now retired colonel, Lucas joined the “officers’ spouses’ club” back when it was the “officers’ wives’ club.”
More than six years after joining up, men have come and gone, but Lucas said he’s usually the only man.
“We decided to make our home here, so I can’t just sit around. I’ve got to do something,” he said of the decision to get involved and volunteer.
After a while, the ladies of the club get used to him being around, but then people move and it starts all over, he said.
Tracy Curran, the current spouses’ club president, described Lucas as a “fabulous member” and a “treasure.”
“He is probably the only man from our membership who is there for us at every luncheon, every volunteer opportunity and is a huge wealth of information,” Curran said.
After interviewing Lucas, I realized I have a lot to learn from him. You shouldn’t let things like gender lines blur your vision. If you know what you want, you can go get it.
COMING WEDNESDAY: Read more about male military spouses in the next Fort Hood Herald or at forthoodherald.com.
Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.