An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New GI Benefits Bill

If you haven't already, check out the New GI Benefits Bill.

The new, increased benefits will be free to enroll (instead of the $1200 Captain Dad shelled out, which he ain't getting back...grrr...). You are 100% eligible with 3 years of post 9/11 service, excluding service requirements from ROTC and service academies (check the link for full details).

Benefits will likely now be transferable to one dependent, but most likely that will not be retroactive, unfortunately for us.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

An Army Officer Wife's First Day

Please welcome guest blogger Phyllis Zimbler Miller, author of Mrs. Lieutenant, who has a second novel, Mrs. Lieutenant in Europe, in progress.

Sharon Gold's First Official Day as a Mrs. Lieutenant
Robert reemerges from the bedroom in his uniform, carrying his uniform hat, and stands in front of her for inspection. She wants to say "good luck." The words stick in her throat – don't these words imply the opposite is feared? She says: "You look terrific."

And he does look terrific if you like men in uniforms.

He kisses her good-bye at the front door. She stands on the balcony and watches him down the stairs to the car. He waves and mouths "I love you." Then he's gone.

She is without wheels and all alone.
In my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL, this is the first day that Robert Gold reports for Armor Officers Basic (AOB) training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, in May of 1970. Sharon is left in a strange new place – Muldraugh, Kentucky (not even mail delivery!) – with no friends, no car and no place to go.

Does this sound familiar to many of you? And while the book is fiction, this description is how I felt when my husband of six months reported to the first day of Armor Officers Basic.

I was unprepared to be a military spouse. Of course both my father and my husband's father had served in World War II. But that war was different. There weren't anti-war protesters chanting "Hell, no, we won't go!" – or two years earlier "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" – on college campuses throughout the country. The first draft lottery had been only months before in December, and young men getting draft notices were fleeing to Canada.

Although my husband had told me on our third date that he was going to Vietnam, and although one of his best high school friends (who had volunteered for the army) had been killed in Vietnam, I had my head stuck in the sand like an ostrich. I neither watched the Vietnam casualty reports on the nightly news nor read the newspaper accounts of the combat actions.

And what's more, here at Ft. Knox I was totally alone because the army hadn't said whether ROTC second lieutenants reporting for AOB could bring their wives. I refused to stay home, and with great difficulty we had found decent off-base housing. Now nine weeks of isolation stretched before me.

Then my husband came home with an invitation for a function for the wives of his AOB class (see this invite at in the section of original army documents). I attended the first function, where I learned that the army had a training program for AOB wives complete with a graduation luncheon. And that I needed to buy the $1 book "Mrs. Lieutenant" by Mary Preston Gross to learn how to be a proper officer's wife.

Thus began my initiation into being a military spouse. And the plus side was that I started making friends, shared a car with another AOB wife, and had places to go – even if only (after Memorial Day) to the officers country club to work on my tan at the swimming pool!

Visit to find out more about Sharon Gold's fictional adventures as Mrs. Lieutenant.

WIN IT: Phyllis Zimbler Miller is offering a signed copy of her novel,
Mrs. Lieutenant, to one reader. All readers with US, US military, and Canadian addresses are eligible.

  1. To enter, just leave a comment here by 9pm EST June 30, either about this post (for example, tell us about your own "first day" as a spouse or soldier) or about something you saw on Comments that simply say, "win" or "hello" will not be eligible.
  2. Click HERE to find out about another way to win from

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“Tell-Your-Own-Story” Contest for Military Spouses Announces “Tell-Your-Own-Story” Contest for Military Spouses forSeason 2 of the Lifetime ARMY WIVES TV Series

From June 8 (premiere of Season 2) to June 29

Submit the Story of Your Happiest, Saddest or Most Significant Moment as a Military Spouse (All Branches Eligible)

Go to and click on “Contest Submission.” Fill out the submission form, including a title for your story. Then paste your story into the box (500 word maximum). Present and past military spouses may submit multiple entries.

In honor of the Fourth of July – and will feature the best 15 submissions. All 10 2nd place winners will receive prizes from, including the new book Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel by Phyllis Zimbler Miller ( The five grand prize winners will also receive Season 1 of ARMY WIVES on DVD.

And in the meantime, check out the information on – information to help make your life better.