There is a television show that I’m sure many people have heard of, called "Army Wives." I almost hate to admit it…because yes, it is totally a "girl show" …not what I usually watch…but I like it. I have watched it since it began.
The newest season just started, and I have to say, I’m just a little disappointed. There are some misconceptions within the show that I would like to clear up. I know that it is a show, and that the producers of course take some artistic liberties with the facts, but there are actually people out there that have never met an Army Wife. They know nothing about the military lifestyle, so (believe it or not) they think what they see on TV is an accurate depiction.
So here are my thoughts…
This season, "Roxie" is a brand new officer’s wife. This is my first little disappointment.
Because in previous seasons, she was an enlisted wife, as was Pamela. But now Pamela is gone, and Roxie has been "promoted" via her husband’s career move. So now all of the main characters on the show, are on the "Officer side of things."
That kind of makes me sad. You see, they had a close circle of friends. Those friends were a mixed variety. You had a couple "Senior Officer" wives, you had a senior officer husband, and you had a junior and senior enlisted wife. And they were all friends. They were all accepted, they were all loved by one another, no matter what was on the uniform of the soldier.
What makes me sad, is that in the Real Army, it has taken many, many years for this division to be overcome…and it is still a work in progress. Some enlisted wives feel that they are looked down on, because they are enlisted wives. Some officer wives think the enlisted don’t like them because they are officer wives. There has been division between Junior and Senior Enlisted…Junior and Senior officers…division was everywhere. And you know, there still are people who have that attitude. It is not gone yet!
In my experience, it takes a great deal of time to overcome that obstacle. Trying to get some spouses to participate in activities is a huge challenge, simply because of the rank of their husbands, and how they perceive themselves as being looked at. Or they are afraid that if their husband’s boss’ wife doesn’t like her…it will get her husband in trouble.
This is a HUGE challenge!
I personally, have always been the kind of person, that does not care what your husband’s rank is. I don’t care if you are enlisted or officer, junior or senior. We all put our jeans on one leg at a time. As a matter of fact…I often have no idea what a person’s rank is, unless I see them in uniform. Because I don’t care. I treat everyone with equal respect.
That was my first disappointment.
This is my second issue.
In the last episode, there was a fund-raiser done that involved a Craig Morgan concert, but it was only open to senior Officers and their spouses.
Okay……that’s fine, whatever.
BUT, and here’s the big thing…. It was when the lady stood up and thanked all the FRG Leaders for their support in making the event happen.
WOAH Nelly!!! Hold the phone!!
This was only Senior Officers, and she was thanking the FRG Leaders?
Okay. First of all, any and all activities that are deemed FRG related, are open to ALL spouses (remember Claudia Joy’s bringing that up in the planning phase? About not wanting to exclude people?) So this was not an FRG event.
And secondly…it makes the assumption that FRG leaders are all Senior Officers Wives…since that is the only people who were at the event.
Big, huge, colossal misconception.
I am an FRG Leader.
And not only am I not a senior officer wife, but I am not even an officer wife at all.
My husband has been in the army for over 21 years. I have been an army wife for over 20 years, an enlisted Army Wife. So yes, I would be a "Senior Spouse" …but that is Enlisted. Not Officer.
I am currently an FRG leader in our unit, and have been one in other units as well. This isn’t my first go-around. Besides being an FRG leader, I have held several positions within Family Readiness Groups (previously Family Support Groups) over the years.
Any spouse who volunteers to do the part, takes the training and has the gumption to fill the role can be an FRG leader. The command approves the assignment (I have a memorandum assigning me the role) but it is purely a volunteer thing.
What if a commander isn’t married?
What if a commander is dual military?
What if a commander is a newlywed and the spouse knows nothing about army life?
What if the command’s spouse doesn’t want to be an FRG leader?
Again, sadly, this misconception is one of the things that leads to the division between the enlisted and officer spouses. A division that really should not be there.
……And finally, I had to laugh, because Roxie found herself in the predicament of having to host a social event for her husband’s sergeants and spouses. Then she was floored because when she asked who "foots the bill" for it, Denise answered, "You do." And it was followed by the comment of “welcome to the Officer side of the house.”
Honey, not just officers "foot the bill."
My husband is about to take over a supervisory position…he will be what is called a "First Sergeant." We don’t have Change of Commands, we have "Change of Responsibility." And guess what?
I will be preparing lunch for up to 150 soldiers!
Little ole me…the Enlisted Wife…footing the bill and doing the cooking.
And so, there are many, many misconceptions about army life out there. Some are harmless, some seem harmless, but many are a great big hurdle that make the role of an Army Wife much harder than it needs to be. Harder than it already is.
Dear "Army Wives" – please bring in some new main characters…so that you are showing a well-rounded and more accurate view of Army Life, rather than perpetuating misconceptions.
Please and thank you.