Can’t you just Google that? So often we expect newbies to military life to be able to Google anything they need to know. And they do.
The problem is that when you are just starting military life as a girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, fiancée or MilSo, you don’t know where to start. You don’t know some of the search terms you really need.
That was the problem Army girlfriend Lara discovered when her boyfriend was getting ready to deploy. He is stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. She lives in Washington State.
I am very new to this military thing and don't know what to do about most things. I've tried to see if can contact one of the wives but it hasn't worked.
I am REALLY worried that while he is away I won't have a contact point and am unsure of what to do.
Is there any advice that we could utilize so that if something happens I won't be left in the dark and to see if I could start making friends with the spouses before I move out to NC?”
Well, of course we have advice to offer.We are SpouseBuzz. We have tons of advice. Nothing we like better than giving advice!
As a girlfriend (or anyone other kind of MilSo) you need more than one point of contact during deployment. This isn’t just because “something” could happen. This is because you are a unique person. The kind of support that suits you is not necessarily the kind of support that would suit every single person in your situation. Try all of the ones below and keep the ones that work for you.
Your soldier:According to the research, the most relied upon source of information most military spouses use is their service member. This is good. Eventually.
When your soldier is young, he or she doesn’t actually know a whole lot to share with you. And they often hate to ask questions.
Most of them get better at this skill over time, especially if you praise them. So when they pass info to you, praise that a lot!
Your Official Source:In the Army, you want to connect with your unit’s FRSA (Family Readiness Support Assistant). Here is a list of the contact numbers of all the FRSAs at Ft. Bragg.
Like the Marine Corp’s Family Readiness Officer (FRO), the FRSA is a person who is paid to connect families with the command and community services. The Navy and Coast Guard have a volunteer Ombudsman to help families in each unit. The Air Forces has a Key Volunteer. Paid or not, these professionals want to know that you are out there and how to contact you. So help them out by contacting them.
Yes, your service member should be the one to let them know you exist, but this step often slips by service members during the first deployment.
Think of the FRSA, FRO, Ombudsman or Key Advisor as a source of information. They can answer your questions. They can also push info to you, so you want to be on their email list.
Note that these people will not find you a job, be your best friend, babysit your kid or lend you money. Think of them as the person who can connect you with the information you need right away.
Your Big Picture Insight:As this new military spouse notes, you have to collect information. So start with SpouseBuzz. Sign up for our Military.com Family Insider newsletter here that sends you an email weekly. Or like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Pinterest.
We are always collecting ideas and stories from people who are living the military life right now. We do love to answer questions. And our readers are full of extra insights we haven’t though of ourselves.
Your Soldier’s Family:Now is a good time to develop a friendly relationship with your boyfriend’s family (unless your boyfriend does not communicate with his family -- in that case leave them alone.) You don’t want to move in with his folks, but a monthly call, note, post or text is nice.
Since you are unmarried, your soldier’s family will be the first point of official contact for the Army. So keep the relationship courteous and kind.
Your Branch:As you can probably tell already, each branch has its own language, traditions, current knowledge, preferences. (I love this essay on Army life.)
Find out a little more by surfing Facebook groups for your branch or for your soldier’s current duty stations. Some of these are bad sites. You know they are bad if you always feel terrible after you get offline. You are a smartie. Figure this out.