What an AMAZING night for military wives, and Jeremy(Hilton)!!!
Tonight on The OWN Network military spouses are being recognized in a glorious way. It started with representatives from all the branch's of the US Armed Forces being recognized by Oprah herself on her renowned Favorite Things episode. I count myself fortunate to be virtual friends with a few of those MILspouses and offered the chance to learn from them what it means to be selfless.
Following the Favorite Things episode was the new series 'Married to the Army:Alaska'. This is a true and real life reality show that follows several Army wives through their daily lives while their husbands are deployed(It's not Lifetime's Army Wives). The show started off with just the right stuff to gain an audience. It had DRAMA!! In this very first episode there were a number of things that caught the attention of military spouses. Well, at least according to my twitter feed and facebook timeline.
What stuck out to many in this first episode was how Lindsey seemed to epitomize what all military spouses try to debunk as the stereo-typical "Officer's wife". But that's not what stuck out to me. OK, it did, but because I was following Rynn and Yolanda on Twitter, I am led to believe that what we saw was real people with real issues that will be worked through in the coming episodes. I honestly believe when all is said and done most of us MILspouses will be able to say we are proud of the way these ladies represented US. But to me, there was something missing. And that something was a little testosterone.
Unlike the fictional show on Lifetime that depicts Army Wives, this show doesn't have a MANspouse like Roland. There isn't the token male military spouse to pour the tea at the wife of the Commander's house. And for me, the guy who beats the drum for getting MANspouses more recognized in our military community, you know that just bugs the tar out of me.
Now I am not sure about all of the backdrop regarding this show, but I do know the ladies on the show are wives of men of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry from Fort Richardson, Alaska. If you know anything about the Army, you know women are not allowed to serve in an infantry unit, so it will come as no surprise that there aren't any MANspouses cast into this show. But I have news for many of you, women DO IN FACT deploy with infantry units. Whether the women deploy in a "support" role or something a little more "front line". Women can and DO deploy with Infantrymen in roles that do in fact put them on those front lines. Two prime examples of that is women who are part of FET Teams (Female Engagement Team) or CST Teams(Cultural Support Team).
I won't claim to know the ins and outs of 4th BCT, 25th Inf, but I will say this show tonight reminded me all too well of what got me started when I created MANning the Homefront. My wife deployed with an Infantry unit. It was extra lonely as I knew there just weren't any real chances of connecting with the other spouses in the unit on the level us MILspouses know it takes to become resilient. (Lucky for me I found other avenues)
I can't say for sure that there were any women who deployed with this brigade and left a MANspouse back home to "man the home front", but I do assume that there just had to be. Although maybe that wouldn't have made for great TV. Or maybe no men would answer the casting call. Whatever the case, I look forward to seeing how this show will progress. I do feel that what this show will do is in fact capture the life we live. This seems to be a very diverse group of ladies and although we don't share the same genitalia, in many ways we do share the same story.
I am going to continue to beat the drum to have MANspouses better recognized in our military community, our marriages depend on it. But for now, I want to share with you all the song that sums up what it is like for many men who are married to a service member. Especially us men who are married to a woman who deploys with an Infantry unit. Because it does happen. Or else that 12 months was just a farce.