When U.S. European Command (EUCOM) announced late last month that it would be evacuating about 700 military dependents and a few hundred pets from U.S. military locations in Turkey, the military spouse community demonstrated why they are basically my favorite: they saw their own in need, and they stepped up.
Seven hundred military families members is a lot of spouses and kids suddenly shooed away from their homes without the support of their service members. It’s the middle of the school year. Most of these families are in the middle of extended overseas tours. They don’t have homes stateside ready to come back to. Their belongings are all in Turkey. They will most likely never be sent back there.
Sounds very, very stressful.
So what did the military family community in Germany -- where the families were initially sent -- and stateside -- where many have already landed – do? They helped the evacuees, of course.
The military spouse community has a strong circle-the-wagons sense. We don’t throw our own under the bus. We know where there are problems, and we take them in stride. Yes, we can be catty. Yes, we can drum up drama like it is our job. But when things get real? We're there for each other.
Just like a family.
That instinct is the same that inspires military families to help each other in times of intense needs, like after a military death or in the middle of any other crises. Like an OCONUS evacuation.
As military families arrived at Ramstein last week, the military community machine was already in motion. Veterinary workers were on hand to help pets through customs, childcare workers helped with kids, community members provided what this news story called a "bounty" of food. Blankets, pillows, food - you name it - had been donated to the USO by local families and were being passed out to the new arrivals.
"Everyone. -- from base leadership to the spouse community here -- have reached out and made us feel like family," one military spouse told me.
Stateside the situation has been similar. Families with school-aged kids have been permitted to finish out the school year in Germany, but many families with and without kids are still coming stateside right away. While they all have filtered through the D.C. area, they are heading to bases and homes around the U.S. We've heard that the communities there have been just as welcoming.
It's just how we roll.