"I remember the day that Dirt Diver came home and said he would definitely be heading off to the Army’s WTC. I looked at him sideways and just about died inside. As much as I knew that was what he wanted, there was a part of me holding onto the hope that he would change his mind again, actually go take the Oregon State Trooper test and we would live the lives of civilians without a care in the world. Pssh please girlfriend, as if that would EVER happen in our life. I seriously think my life is MEANT to be on a permanent rollercoaster to keep me in check while everyone else around me is doubled over in hysterics at our lives.
The Army was a foreign subject to me, I grew up with retired Navy grandpa, my mom was in the Seabees, and my town was literally less then 10 minutes from Miramar Naval Air Station, now known as Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. Some of my best memories in high school were hanging out with one of my friend’s brother who was stationed there with his friends. (Side note I watched that base go through so many changes, that even now when I drive on it, I still only see the old base that I saw as a kid). I stupidly married a Marine aka The Spew of Satan for 4 years. I married Dirt Diver who was in the Navy and was a Navy wife for 6 years. My whole life is Navy and Marine Corps!
Off he went and off I went searching for message boards, blogs, articles, ANYTHING that would give me an inkling as to what the Army life was about. Because to be honest the only thing I knew was that they didn’t wear their sleeves up (no more nice biceps bulging outta perfectly tight roll), they gave up on the crisp clean 8 point cover, their ACU’s look faded and frumpy, and they were stuck in a horrible deployment schedule compared to anyone else.
That is when reality hit me that the Army may still be the military like every other branch but there was still a crap ton of things I didn’t know. I didn’t truly grasp the concept of how many bases there are. Or that the Army doesn’t call their base a base they are posts. I swear if one more person looks at me like I’m speaking a foreign language because I say base, I’m gonna have to slap a foo.
Did you know that the Army doesn’t call their parking lot the “grinder”? I know! Shocker huh? Imagine my surprise when people looked at me weird. (You’d think I would be used to being looked at weird by now, huh? Nope not even close.) Or that the Army’s acronym for SRB is “Service Reenlistment Bonus” not “Service Record Book”?
Here’s another thing to know, the Army is NOT like the Navy when it comes to saying what your husband does. I can no longer spit out “He’s on the Comstock” or “He’s on patrol at 32nd for the night as a MA”. Nope and if you do spit it out now that you’re an Army wife just ANOTHER reason for people to look at you like you just spoke Dutch to them. Did you know how long the units are in the Army? Why can’t they shorten them for people who have short attention spans like me and can’t make it past the first group he’s with?
Another big shocker to me was the Army Pride I see everywhere. When we lived in San Diego and me at Camp Lejeune; you’d see it but not EVERYWHERE. Maybe it’s because part of this was before 9/11 or maybe because we didn’t live on base just in off base housing. I don’t know but it wasn’t everywhere I looked. Now I am gagging to death on the Army, Army Wife, and Hooah support items. Please don’t take this the wrong way since my truck and suv are both fully decked out in pride and our house is slowly converting; it just struck me as different from what I was used to.
Oh and the BIGGEST difference between the two that just has me dying… The Ball. I have spent the last 12 years going to balls ALWAYS in October/November because that is when the Navy/Marine Corps’ birthday is. I thought it was the same way in the Army. I’ve learned nope it’s not. Balls are held for the seasons, pre-deployment, post deployment, Army birthday or because Jim Bob jumped from a plane carrying a 20 foot orange kangaroo. There’s no rhyme or reason to them and it just really irritates MY silly visions of past years’ memories.
All in all, I am learning every day the difference between the branches and trying hard to fit in this new role as an Army Wife. I call things wrong all the time, say “good to go” like I’m running out of air, and I still say my husband’s “rate” is an MA. I yell “hit the deck” when the kids are in trouble or “hitting the head” when we’re out & about. I don’t mind the weird looks people give me though because it gives me another reason to laugh at myself, the crazy differences between the branches, and most importantly it’s just another reminder of how my life has brought me to where I am now."