Once a month, Coast Guard Compass will feature “Dear Coast Guard Family,” a column for Coast Guard families by Coast Guard spouse Rachel Conley. Rachel is married to her high school sweetheart, Chief Warrant Officer James Conley, and is the mother of three children. Rachel passionately serves as a Coast Guard Ombudsman and advocate of Coast Guard families. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award.
During the month of November and throughout the year, we recognize and celebrate our incredible Coast Guard families.
Around the world, military families are waiting by the phone or computer for word from their service member. A child is taking their first step, while their parent serves abroad. Holidays and special occasions are celebrated on alternative days. Spouses are lovingly tending to the homefront. Many are facing hard “goodbyes” and experiencing sweet “hellos.”
Although their days aren’t always easy, they persevere. They stand beside their service member, and during times of deployment, they stay behind. They admirably live a life that many people cannot begin to imagine – exhibiting great courage, strength, determination, and resilience.
And, throughout this journey of military life, they’ve discovered a lot to be thankful for.
“I’m grateful to all the military spouses I have had the privilege of meeting over these last 16 years. Their guidance and friendship has provided me with a sense of community and family that has helped to fill my heart with tremendous gratitude. I’m forever indebted to each of them, and hope that I too can be a source of guidance, a friend, confidant or shoulder to lean on if they ever feel the weight of this military life is too much for them to lift up on their own.”
“I am thankful for the amazing family that is our military community. We could not have walked our journey without them.”
“I am thankful for the Coast Guard family and the opportunity to see so much of our country while we transfer. Almost all 50 states!”
“I am most thankful for the incredible places we’ve lived and all the Coast Guard family we have made in the last 20 years.”
“I am thankful for the ability to go new places and meet new, wonderful people all over the country. I am also thankful for opportunities like the Ombudsman Program to help fill resume gaps or to have volunteer experiences and letters of recommendation for future work, and help with gaining certifications that can be used outside of the military world.”
“I’m thankful for that ‘mean ole detailer’ who sent us to Alameda, CA when we wanted Duluth, MN! I cussed her for two weeks at the time, but we gained a lot in those three years. After Alameda, we got orders to Jacksonville, FL and the prior detailer was my husband’s boss. I apologized to her for cursing her for two weeks and then thanked her for it. She’s an amazing leader and person. We wouldn’t be where we are without her.”
“I am thankful for my Coast Guard family that has grown over the years.”
Resources for Coast Guard Families:
The Coast Guard Ombudsman Program: Ombudsmen connect Coast Guard families to the command, the Coast Guard, and the many available resources.
Programs, Benefits, and Resources for Coast Guard Spouses: There are a variety of programs and resources to support you!
School Transitions: Tips and resources to support military-connected students.
The Special Needs Program: Through the Special Needs Program, efforts are made to ensure that members with special needs dependents are assigned to duty stations where medical and community services are accessible and available.
Deployment tips and resources: You aren’t alone – support is available!
Sea Legs: The Family Member’s Guide to the U.S. Coast Guard