I am a proud card-carrying member of the Fort Knox Spouses and Community Club. Before that the Marne Community and Spouses’ Club at Fort Stewart was home. Before that I knew very little about spouses’ clubs and chose not to participate. Several friends sent invitations, but I always said no. I didn’t think the clubs would be for me. Even though my nickname is Mr. Army Wife, and most of my friends are military wives, I didn’t think an official gathering of these remarkable ladies would have much to offer someone like myself.

Heather and I at Super Sign Up. I’m Rosie the Riveter!

I was wrong. Incredibly wrong. Stupendously wrong. Ridiculously wrong. If I knew then what I know now, joining the spouses’ club would have been the first thing I did when I became an Army husband. The truth is I didn’t even join my first club willingly, I was kind of fooled into it. A board member asked me to work on one event, which turned into a board position. Bam! I’m in the club. Sometimes you have to look for opportunities. Sometimes they just find you.
After that first experience, I considered walking away. In fact, I did for a while. I’d made some friends, but they left. That’s the nature of our business. I volunteered with off post groups instead. I worked on my health and my personal interests. But I couldn’t stay away for long. While I loved what I was doing away from the military community, something was missing. There was one aspect of my life that I was losing. There was one thing that my brain just wouldn’t let me forget. YOU!

Meeting new #spousters.

I am one of 640,000 active duty military spouses, and the other 639,999 are the most important reason I join the spouses’ club. They are my ride or die. They are my battle buddies. They go through the good times and bad times of military life, just like I have. They face challenges too intense to mention. Some have lived this life longer than me. Others are just starting to understand just how all of this works. But their length of military service doesn’t matter. Military spouses, past, present and future are forever united. And I join the spouses club because the club helps keep that bond strong.
We are a unit. Together we can accomplish anything. We can deal with any struggle. If you’ve been a military spouse for any length of time you know what I’m talking about. You’ve made a meal for a family in need. You’ve watched other spouses’ children when an emergency comes up. You’ve sat in silence with a friend because words won’t come and aren’t necessary. We are stronger together than we could ever be individually. The spouses and the opportunities presented in the spouses’ club has shown me that.
We are a unit. We accept one another unconditionally. The spouses’ clubs know no race, gender, religion, political affiliation or any other discriminating factor. In a world where people let personal proclivities rule their relationships, we accept one and all. Your significant other’s rank doesn’t matter. You don’t even need to be a military spouse. Most clubs around the world reflect this by calling themselves “spouses and community club.” We welcome you, no matter who you are, what you do, where you are from, or how long you want to stay. Come one, come all…there are no conditions on that.

Making friends is what we do.

We are a unit. We’re nurturing because we care about your growth and development as a military spouse, and a member of the community both on and off post. We know that our involvement, whether it be in the lives of others, in on post groups, or in off post organizations help us just as much as they help those we are looking to support. They give us purpose during our time here. They provide friendships and opportunities we won’t find at other installations. Excuse me for borrowing an old Army slogan, but they help us be all the military spouse we can be. As members of the spouses’ club we nurture one another toward this goal.
We are a unit because we are invested in the lives of fellow members. While there is no “right” way to be a military spouse, there are tricks to make life easier for yourself, your Soldier and your family members. I learned a lot of these tricks by trial and error, but once I joined the spouses’ club, I learned a lot more because of the wives who’d been there before me. They took an interest in making sure younger and less experienced spouses didn’t have to make the same mistakes. Now, I get to pass on that knowledge. I invest in the lives of spouses and their families because at some point, spouses invested in me.

We like #frames too

We are a unit because we are timeless. From Camp Followers during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars to the Spouses and Community Clubs of today, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the fighting men and women of the US Armed Forces. Whether it’s by cooking and cleaning, taking on your spouses’ responsibilities while he or she is deployed, or just being there when tragedy strikes, we remain committed and strong. If you’re like me and have read stories about spouses from the past, you would know they did the same things. They began the timeless legacy we live today.
You’re probably not surprised to hear a lot of people ask me why I join the spouses’ club. Most of the time, the questioner isn’t a member of the club. They’ve made up their minds, just as I once did. They don’t think it’s for them. They don’t think an organization whose membership is primarily female would be the place for them. They don’t understand that the club has something for everyone. They’ve never experienced all it has to offer. So now, when someone asks me, “Why did you join the spouses’ club?” I just say come and see. You’ll join too!

An Open Letter to the Private Housing Companies on Military Bases

Dear Housing People:

You seem to be in quite a pickle, because military spouses have found their voice. You thought you could contain the issues or cover them up with a quick coat of paint. You believed taking our Basic Allowance for Housing meant fixing things in the most basic ways which meant the cheapest ways and did nothing to keep us safe or secure on the most safe and secure installations in the world. Now all that is changing.

Leadership knows the truth. The politicians on both sides of the aisle, who can never agree on anything, agree on this. The American people see another group of greedy companies worried more about their bottom line than their customers. You are in the news. You are all over social media. You control none of the conversation. What you do next will define how military housing is run for decades. Like I said, times are changing.

Right now, around the country military leaders at the highest ranks are inspecting every home on every base. They are looking in every nook and cranny. If there is a molding so much as off center, they are going to discover it and have you pay to fix it. They are looking for safety and health hazards. They are holding townhall meetings your employees are no doubt attending and they are listening to the horror stories about mold and smells. They are taking pictures of the neglect. The truths are all over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Nothing in this world is hidden anymore. Times are changing.

Personally, I’ve never experienced the atrocities I’ve seen displayed. I’m one of the lucky ones. I never saw mold. I never experienced moisture problems. My Soldier and I have lived on three military bases for a total of 7 years of our 18 years of service. After seeing the conditions my peers have posted, I feel blessed it hasn’t been more. But don’t think for a second that means I’m not just as angry as my fellow spouses that have had to watch as their children and families suffered while you made excuses.

However, I’m not one to complain without offering a solution and this morning it came to me. If you truly want to fix this, and make sure it never happens again there are two very simple things you can do.

1. Fix every problem and make our homes like new. Spend the money to make sure that whatever issues are there, never come back. And when they do, because issues always arise, promise to spend the money to fix things correctly the first time. Without fail, without question, without concern of whether your bottom line is going to be affected.


a. Hire a military spouse to run the leasing office
b. Hire military spouses to help new families integrate into their communities, and help families transition away from base with ease.
c. Hire and train spouses to fix maintenance issues.
d. Hire military spouses to inspect homes before families move in and once they move out.
e. Hire military spouses to clean the homes in between residents.
f. Hire military spouses as liaisons to your company and your contractors.
g. Hire military spouses in your corporate offices at the highest levels. With teleworking, the internet and working from home capabilities nothing is impossible for military spouses.

Yes, I know there are special circumstances with hiring military spouses, but any issue can be overcome. Hire spouses that will only be with you for a year or two. Hire spouses that can only work while the kids are in school. Hire spouses with children and then hire a spouse to watch those children too. Hire two part-time spouses when you really only want one full-time employee. If you want us to trust you, trust us to take care of your properties, because our real interest is in taking care of each other.

There is a push to find employment for military spouses. This would be a meaningful way to fulfill that push. As military housing companies you will constantly have new employees to help you take care of their peers. You will have a constant access to the best and brightest spouses who want to do something to help their other spouses, but also need to earn a living for their families. Yes, you might have pay to train them, but spouses who are trained in one location go on to work that training in others. And they teach others. You are staring at a win-win situation right in the face. Will you take it?

Times are changing. I have always believed being a military spouse is among the greatest honor of my life. And I love my fellow milspos. I will do whatever I can for them, their Soldiers and their families. A lot of us feel that way. We are hoping after all the scrutiny dies down, and you’ve fixed all the problems, you will feel that way too. Show us. Hire military spouses at every level. We won’t let you down.

Steven M. Schmitt
Mr. Army Wife