• Please take a moment and update your account profile. If you have an updated account profile with basic information on why you are on Air Warriors it will help other people respond to your posts. How do you update your profile you ask?

    Go here:

    Edit Account Details and Profile

Completely new to military life

mariaz

Member
Hi ya’ll! First off, so glad to be here, I’ve spent the last few months researching and trying to find navy groups to join and I’ve had a tough time. I’ve found the basic non-officers group have been kind of mean and acting like I’m “holier than thou” for asking aviation specific questions and told to go find an officer group, and the officers groups have been like “come back when you’re married.”

My partner was accepted as an SNA candidate in June. He was given the timeline of leaving anywhere between July and July 2021 to leave for OCS.

We’re both older (31) and settled into our relationship. Marriage is in the equation military or not, and I’m basically waiting on an any day proposal. We’ve discussed doing a small wedding pre-OCS to make life easier, and doing the big family thing sometime the following year when we have time / a better understanding of his schedule.

I’ll be moving in with my parents when he leaves for OCS, and we’ll be moving into one of his parents vacation homes pre-pensacola, then I will be moving with him to Pensacola for flight school. I tried my hardest to ensure we have plans in place before he goes so transition back is much smoother.

basically, just looking for any / all advice, things you wish you knew, etc. on how to navigate through this life. Military life is completely foreign to me, I just want to be as prepared as I can to not only support him in every way possible, but also make things as easy for me as I can transitioning.

TYIA :)
 

webmaster

The Grass is Greener!
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Welcome to the site.

This is a difficult question really to answer, and depends more on your relationship. But there are some constants to be aware of. It sounds like you have done an excellent job of developing a plan, just be aware and flexible to things changing.

  • Training and flight school is going to demand a lot of time and undivided attention.
  • There are gaps in training that make it one of the best times in the military to enjoy time off with the only responsibility involving being prepared for the next upcoming events.
  • Be ready for unpredictable changes to schedule
  • Be part of the process and help out
  • Build in time off from flight school training (example, I always kept Friday night and Saturday off, so my wife and kids always had something definite, and allowed me to take a break from studying). On Sunday's I would get back into studying to stay ahead.
  • Spend time socializing with the rest of your peers, they will be life long friends that you will cross paths with even after the military

I went through flight school with a wife and two young kids. We made it through, took a lot of coordination, and my wife's support (she was a great study partner with my flashcards and quizzing).

Anyways, rambling thoughts, there are quite a few threads on this subject, but it definitely doesn't hurt to get some other perspectives.

Best of luck to you both!

John
 

Hair Warrior

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Congratulations on multiple fronts! You guys have a lot of fun times in store for you.

One option that a friend of mine took advantage of (he is a naval aviator) - He and his wife got legally married at a courthouse in their home city. That gave his wife benefits (TRICARE health coverage, base access, etc.) and also gave him more housing allowance money (BAH) in his Navy paycheck.

Then, they planned a later wedding ceremony for about 8 months away, and treated that event like the "real wedding" for family, friends, etc. They treated that whole time like a long engagement rather than marriage (he didn't wear a ring). He said it also took some of the pressure off the wedding planning and social events, since they were both already legally married. Most of his friends and cousins weren't even aware that the "real wedding" celebration wasn't quite so official.
 

mariaz

Member
Thank you for the welcome and the input!
We both want kids, so I feel like flight school May be the ideal time to start trying. Hearing other people give their own experiences definitely help!
 

Hozer

Jobu needs a refill!
None
Contributor
Since you're both older, one of your challenges may be the 24/7 commitment level of the military. The military comes first. Duty, training, etc.
Especially for the first couple of years. Hopefully you've got a leg up being a little more mature with life experience, support from family, and not hurting for money. Working weekends, holidays...going to be a little different than you are used to, so a lot of patience.
Do him a favor and get his ass in shape if it isn't already. No love for the older guy who shows up out of shape.
You guys are going to be older than your peer groups, so have fun with that. I mean that sincerely.
Good luck. It's going to be fun as hell.
 

mariaz

Member
Congratulations on multiple fronts! You guys have a lot of fun times in store for you.

One option that a friend of mine took advantage of (he is a naval aviator) - He and his wife got legally married at a courthouse in their home city. That gave his wife benefits (TRICARE health coverage, base access, etc.) and also gave him more housing allowance money (BAH) in his Navy paycheck.

Then, they planned a later wedding about 8 months away, and treated that event like the "real wedding" for family, friends, etc. They treated that whole time like a long engagement rather than marriage (he didn't wear a ring). He said it also took some of the pressure off the wedding planning and social events, since they were both already legally married. Most of his friends and cousins weren't even aware that the "real wedding" celebration wasn't quite so official.

we talked about doing that once, but both of us agreed neither one would want to keep it secret. At the very least I think we’re going to have something SUPER small (parents/siblings/grandparents) before he goes, then something big later, and in case we don’t end up having the time for something big at least the people most important to us would have been there for our big day.
 

mariaz

Member
Since you're both older, one of your challenges may be the 24/7 commitment level of the military. The military comes first. Duty, training, etc.
Especially for the first couple of years. Hopefully you've got a leg up being a little more mature with life experience, support from family, and not hurting for money. Working weekends, holidays...going to be a little different than you are used to, so a lot of patience.
Do him a favor and get his ass in shape if it isn't already. No love for the older guy who shows up out of shape.
You guys are going to be older than your peer groups, so have fun with that. I mean that sincerely.
Good luck. It's going to be fun as hell.

Honestly, that’s one of my biggest concern is how set in our ways we are with being together every day, constant communication, etc. but the sacrifices and changes will totally be worth it, he’s so excited about this I can’t imagine not going through this journey together.


And lucky for him, he’s in ridiculously good shape (gym 5-6 days a week) but he’s already upped his running and started swimming as well.
 

Hair Warrior

Well-Known Member
Contributor
we talked about doing that once, but both of us agreed neither one would want to keep it secret. At the very least I think we’re going to have something SUPER small (parents/siblings/grandparents) before he goes, then something big later, and in case we don’t end up having the time for something big at least the people most important to us would have been there for our big day.
Yup! You guys do you.

Her parents lived overseas (she is a foreign national) so they just wanted something quick and official. They definitely told their parents on the night of the engagement, and they told them about the courthouse. Everyone was cool with it and it wasn't a secret really. They both acted like they were married - but they truly wanted to enjoy their "real wedding" with the dress, the flowers, the music, etc. etc. and not miss out on that experience.
 

AllAmerican75

Running the IT Help Desk
None
Contributor
Honestly, that’s one of my biggest concern is how set in our ways we are with being together every day, constant communication, etc. but the sacrifices and changes will totally be worth it, he’s so excited about this I can’t imagine not going through this journey together.

And lucky for him, he’s in ridiculously good shape (gym 5-6 days a week) but he’s already upped his running and started swimming as well.

At least you know going into it that it'll be a huge change in your status quo. Something to note is that even after flight school, the Navy will take up a LOT of his time. Between work-ups for deployment and actual deployment, he will be gone a LOT. When you get to a duty station, reach out to the Wives' Club at your unit (contact the Ombudsman) and also the Spouses Clubs on base. There are sometimes multiple clubs available. When I was in Naples, there was the traditional Spouses Club run through MWR/Fleet & Family Services (can't remember which off the top of my head), the base chapel had a Spouses Prayer Group, and then the Catholic chaplain/Church ran a Catholic Families/Spouses Group.

Something to keep in mind is that you need to be married to have access to a lot of this stuff. Without being married, getting put into DEERS, and having a dependent ID, you will not have base/commissary/exchange access nor will you be entitled to use of Fleet & Family Services or any other military services.
 

villanelle

Nihongo dame desu
Contributor
I've been doing the spouse gig for about 20 years (which is odd because I'm only 29 years old, still ;) ). Flight school might be the least bad time to have kids, but it's still a bad time. There is no good time, in many ways. But it's a time during which he won't be deployed so likely can be there for the birth, at a minimum. If that sounds dire, sadly, it's kind of your new reality. I frequently say that the Navy will almost always be more urgent than the family needs; it's on the service member to make sure it never becomes more important. But it's on the spouse to very carefully weight the family needs and engage in sucking it up when possible. That banks a lot of good will. If your husband goes to the command 5 times a year with family emergencies, the command is going to doubt, with good reason, whether these are all truly emergencies. If it happens once a tour, it's going to have a lot more credibility. This is the mindset you both need to start adopting.

Let's fast forward and say you just gave birth (congratulations!) 17 days ago and your spouse is in flight school. He took ten days of paternity leave, and saved the rest for future needs (like attending a doctor's appointment for the kiddo). So he's back at work/school and he's got a flight tomorrow. You are exhausted. Baby is doing what babies do--being a needy tyrant. You have't slept more than two hours in a room since before you gave birth. It's 2 am and the baby cries, after crying at 1230, 1000, 845... But he's got a flight tomorrow. So as much as you (and likely him, too) would love for him to take this one, you haul your exhausted ass out of bed to sooth junior. That's may seem inherently unfair, but he needs to be coherent to be safe, not to mention to be able to brief and fly well enough to actually pass flight school.

It can suck. Sometimes, it can suck a lot. Flight school is a strange animal in that they don't deploy and actual working hours a fairly minimal. But that just means that both of you need to be disciplined enough to know that even though he was only required to be in "the office" 25 hours this week, he needs to spend another 20 attending study groups, going over note cards, grabbing an extra sim, etc. It can be tough because he doesn't have to do those things, in that no one is ordering him to or looking over his shoulder. But he can't opt out to take over baby duty or view wedding venues or Netflix and Chill. Start preparing yourself for that.

As far as resources, the girl or boyfriend/fiance/spouse thing is kind of a hot topic. Some groups allow all of those. (When I was in charge of one, I pushed hard and with a fair amount of resistance to open it to any of those, as long as the service member said s/he wanted them involved.) But the groups, rightfully so IMO, don't want a revolving door of significant others based on who Lt. Smith is screwing that week.And things like base access to meetings and events also become complications. You may know this is real and serious, but the group doesn't. So most groups wait until it is legal. Most commands have an FRG (Family Readiness Group) that is often open to extend family and might welcome a girlfriend if the service members wants her added, but since he's not at a command yet, there is no FRG. FRG's primary purpose is to disseminate information and resources, but they do often have a social component as well. Most aviation commands also have an OSC (Officers' Spouses Club). This concept is falling out of favor and aviation seems to be the only community still doing them commonly. This is almost entirely a social group, though information may be disseminated. (At the monthly meeting, someone will say, "don't forget we have a Hail and Bail coming up on the 17th and the command is selling tee shirts if you are looking to do Christmas shopping".) These are a way to make social connections, especially as you arrive at a new location. You can be as involved, or not, as you desire. I was usually not very involved. I'd attend 4-5 monthly meetings a year and then see everyone at the various holiday parties. (The Navy LOVES holiday parties.) Then I moved overseas and suddenly I didn't have a solid friend network and a job and all the things that filled me time and created my support system, and I got much more involved. There can be some implicit pressure, but F that. It will not affect your spouse's performance evaluations, positively or negatively, if you never attend an OSC or FRG meeting, or if you become president of both. So decide what works for you, be willing to adjust as your needs change, and then forget about it.

If all this sounds somewhat dire, that's because I think the dire stuff is what you need to prepare for. The great stuff can just happen. You are both in for a great adventure. I'd say that the very best and the very worst experiences of my life in the last 20 years are all attributable to the Navy. If you are open to being flexible and accepting that birthdays and Christmases and births and deaths may be spent alone, and that when you have a really shitty Tuesday your spouse still has to work that night, then it can be incredible for both of you.
 

FinkUFreaky

Well-Known Member
pilot
At least you know going into it that it'll be a huge change in your status quo. Something to note is that even after flight school, the Navy will take up a LOT of his time. Between work-ups for deployment and actual deployment, he will be gone a LOT. When you get to a duty station, reach out to the Wives' Club at your unit (contact the Ombudsman) and also the Spouses Clubs on base. There are sometimes multiple clubs available. When I was in Naples, there was the traditional Spouses Club run through MWR/Fleet & Family Services (can't remember which off the top of my head), the base chapel had a Spouses Prayer Group, and then the Catholic chaplain/Church ran a Catholic Families/Spouses Group.

Something to keep in mind is that you need to be married to have access to a lot of this stuff. Without being married, getting put into DEERS, and having a dependent ID, you will not have base/commissary/exchange access nor will you be entitled to use of Fleet & Family Services or any other military services.
There has been a lot of good stuff posted here, and don't want to reiterate too much. But on the aviation side, from what I've seen: One VT squadron (of 3, plus the RAG) was about reaching out to student spouses. But the fleet squadron and shore squaadron were both very proactive. In other words, you may not be reached out to during flight school, but once your spouse gets where they go, there will a be a group of people in very similar circumstances as yourself. You will be reached out to. Some spouses don't want any part of the group and that's OK. Mine goes back and forth. But during times when your other is gone, it's a great support network that are going through the same things you are. And it's been beaten beyond recognition, but the Navy itself (rightly the DOD itself) does not give a flying F about a girlfriend, boyfriend, or fiance. They only care if you are married. There are also financial benefits. Don't get married because of them. But it will be nice when the military comes out of the 1800s and figures it out.
 

mariaz

Member
I've been doing the spouse gig for about 20 years (which is odd because I'm only 29 years old, still ;) ). Flight school might be the least bad time to have kids, but it's still a bad time. There is no good time, in many ways. But it's a time during which he won't be deployed so likely can be there for the birth, at a minimum. If that sounds dire, sadly, it's kind of your new reality. I frequently say that the Navy will almost always be more urgent than the family needs; it's on the service member to make sure it never becomes more important. But it's on the spouse to very carefully weight the family needs and engage in sucking it up when possible. That banks a lot of good will. If your husband goes to the command 5 times a year with family emergencies, the command is going to doubt, with good reason, whether these are all truly emergencies. If it happens once a tour, it's going to have a lot more credibility. This is the mindset you both need to start adopting.

Let's fast forward and say you just gave birth (congratulations!) 17 days ago and your spouse is in flight school. He took ten days of paternity leave, and saved the rest for future needs (like attending a doctor's appointment for the kiddo). So he's back at work/school and he's got a flight tomorrow. You are exhausted. Baby is doing what babies do--being a needy tyrant. You have't slept more than two hours in a room since before you gave birth. It's 2 am and the baby cries, after crying at 1230, 1000, 845... But he's got a flight tomorrow. So as much as you (and likely him, too) would love for him to take this one, you haul your exhausted ass out of bed to sooth junior. That's may seem inherently unfair, but he needs to be coherent to be safe, not to mention to be able to brief and fly well enough to actually pass flight school.

It can suck. Sometimes, it can suck a lot. Flight school is a strange animal in that they don't deploy and actual working hours a fairly minimal. But that just means that both of you need to be disciplined enough to know that even though he was only required to be in "the office" 25 hours this week, he needs to spend another 20 attending study groups, going over note cards, grabbing an extra sim, etc. It can be tough because he doesn't have to do those things, in that no one is ordering him to or looking over his shoulder. But he can't opt out to take over baby duty or view wedding venues or Netflix and Chill. Start preparing yourself for that.

As far as resources, the girl or boyfriend/fiance/spouse thing is kind of a hot topic. Some groups allow all of those. (When I was in charge of one, I pushed hard and with a fair amount of resistance to open it to any of those, as long as the service member said s/he wanted them involved.) But the groups, rightfully so IMO, don't want a revolving door of significant others based on who Lt. Smith is screwing that week.And things like base access to meetings and events also become complications. You may know this is real and serious, but the group doesn't. So most groups wait until it is legal. Most commands have an FRG (Family Readiness Group) that is often open to extend family and might welcome a girlfriend if the service members wants her added, but since he's not at a command yet, there is no FRG. FRG's primary purpose is to disseminate information and resources, but they do often have a social component as well. Most aviation commands also have an OSC (Officers' Spouses Club). This concept is falling out of favor and aviation seems to be the only community still doing them commonly. This is almost entirely a social group, though information may be disseminated. (At the monthly meeting, someone will say, "don't forget we have a Hail and Bail coming up on the 17th and the command is selling tee shirts if you are looking to do Christmas shopping".) These are a way to make social connections, especially as you arrive at a new location. You can be as involved, or not, as you desire. I was usually not very involved. I'd attend 4-5 monthly meetings a year and then see everyone at the various holiday parties. (The Navy LOVES holiday parties.) Then I moved overseas and suddenly I didn't have a solid friend network and a job and all the things that filled me time and created my support system, and I got much more involved. There can be some implicit pressure, but F that. It will not affect your spouse's performance evaluations, positively or negatively, if you never attend an OSC or FRG meeting, or if you become president of both. So decide what works for you, be willing to adjust as your needs change, and then forget about it.

If all this sounds somewhat dire, that's because I think the dire stuff is what you need to prepare for. The great stuff can just happen. You are both in for a great adventure. I'd say that the very best and the very worst experiences of my life in the last 20 years are all attributable to the Navy. If you are open to being flexible and accepting that birthdays and Christmases and births and deaths may be spent alone, and that when you have a really shitty Tuesday your spouse still has to work that night, then it can be incredible for both of you.

Given our age, flight school will most likely be the best time to try and start a family. We’re already going to be looking at a geriatric pregnancy for our first whenever it happens. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So.. the more time we have to conceive.. definitely better lol
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Given our age, flight school will most likely be the best time to try and start a family. We’re already going to be looking at a geriatric pregnancy for our first whenever it happens. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So.. the more time we have to conceive.. definitely better lol
While I’m against children generally 😀, from a practical point of view, there’s no great time to do it, so just do it when you’re ready. I’ve got guys on their shore production tours who are arguably busier than folks on sea duty, but when their kids are due, we obviously find a way to make it work for everyone. That said, I know lots of folks who waited until their late 30s/early 40s to have kids, even though those pregnancies can be somewhat elevated in risk.
 

picklesuit

Dirty Hinge
pilot
Contributor
Maria,
We had our first kid right before API, second in the middle of Advanced. We were 27/29 for those two.
It sucked, mostly due to the impacts a couple of tit-monkeys will have on sleep for both of you. I had lots of times I basically looked at my wife and said “I’ve gotta fly, good luck” which is super helpful to your marriage.
If you are getting married, then get married. You have lots of rights/privileges as a spouse you don’t have as a girlfriend. The day to day benefits exceed any story book notion you have about the wedding.
There will be plenty of spouses as you go through your life following the career, don’t just be friends with your husband’s peers, the senior-JOPA wives and DH wives will be closer to your age than the standard issue Seville-special.
Listen to their advice, they’ve seen a lot of things.

If you want some specific info, PM me and I’ll put you in contact with my wife, she has been through 3 years of my enlisted career and another 13 of my officer career as a wife.
Pickle
 
Top