This blog post is the eighth in a series titled “Dialogue with the MCPOCG,” written by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steven Cantrell. As the Coast Guard’s senior enlisted leader, Cantrell is responsible for advising the Commandant on workforce issues, and advocating for military benefits and entitlements. He will periodically use this platform to pass information to the Coast Guard workforce.
Since 1984, the Armed Forces have set aside a special day to acknowledge the significant contributions of our military spouses. This year, on Friday, May 8th, we celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day. It’s our opportunity to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to supporting and honoring the husbands, wives, and loved ones of our Coast Guardsmen.
We live in uncertain times, and one thing that remains constant is the love, devotion, and loyalty of our military spouses — no matter the mission, distance, or duration of separation.
Coast Guard spouses keep our families on track. They balance family life and military life, often putting their own careers in jeopardy, all while supporting other military families and giving back to their communities. They often face the challenges at home or celebrate life events without us. Though they may not wear the uniform, their honor, respect, and devotion to duty sustain our Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard is strong and capable. That strength comes, in part, from our spouses. They are vital to our success. And they make the journey of service, one chosen together, richer, more rewarding, and more satisfying.
Our Coast Guard spouses are flexible, resilient and strong. Every moment is filled with extreme pride and understanding that their servicemember is doing his or her duty to protect our nation. Most of all, Coast Guard spouses are human, and they too deserve to be recognized for the sacrifices they make for their servicemember.
Words can never adequately express the appreciation we have for our military spouses and we urge everyone to take time today, and every day, to honor and thank the husbands, wives, and loved ones who serve alongside the Coast Guard and enable us to do what we do.
Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!
My wife recently sat down for an interview about her feelings on military spouses — being one, receiving support from them, and providing support to them.
When I first met my husband, he was 22 years old and a BM3. His intentions were to finish his enlistment and get out. Well, this September, he will have been in the Coast Guard for 32 years.
When we got married, my husband had two children from a previous marriage, and I had one. So, together we had three wonderful children, very small — ages 2, 3, and 4. There were many times of struggle – from housing, to child care, to financial. We were a team and we were determined. With sacrifice and commitment, we made it through. Today, I can proudly say, that my child that my husband raised as his own, is a Coast Guard Recruiter. The tradition continues.
Military spouses face a lot of challenges these days, from housing, to child care, to the transitions. There are several sources available to help our spouses with these challenges. The Coast Guard offers a wonderful Work Life Program and each dedicated staff member is a simple phone call away. The Ombudsman Program offers a great deal of assistance as these volunteers are trained and ready to help. There’s the new HSWL App which is a convenient source for quick assistance and direction right at your fingertips. Another great resource is CG Support and as always, our Chaplain Corps.
The best advice I ever received was about 25 years ago. It was my first transfer from the South to a place called New Jersey. I felt like a stranger in a foreign country who couldn’t speak the language. I had left the only place I had ever known and entered a brand new territory. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know how to drive anywhere, I had no friends or family and I was faced with learning all the ins and outs of military life. I suppose it was about a week or two and the station CO’s wife stopped by our apartment — I’ll always remember her name — Renee. She listened to my concerns and realized very quickly that I was terrified of the unknown.
Renee said, “I’ll give you one piece of advice — bloom where you’re planted.” As corny as it may sound, it truly struck a chord with me. I’ve continued to keep that phrase in mind all these years and 13 transfers later that I must bloom where I’m planted. I believe it’s important to get involved in the community, volunteer, get your children involved in school activities, join a Coast Guard spouse club, if available, and meet your neighbors. It’s important to be a sponge and take in every opportunity of every transfer as it’s only temporary.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Coast Guard support and a special thanks to the Guardian Spouses of Training Center Cape May. Each Friday, before recruit graduation, these volunteer spouses give their time to meet with every new recruit spouse and help prepare them for what lies ahead. The new spouses are given information regarding new ID cards, TRICARE benefits, powers-of-attorney, housing opportunities, and so much more. The newest spouses can hit the ground running with valuable information and materials. So, a special thanks to Cape May’s Guardian Spouses.
All military spouses deserve a huge thank you, not just today, but every day for their commitment, their sacrifices, and their devotion to our nation.
Thank you all.