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Military Spouse vent (very long)

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Old 12-18-2010, 02:08 PM   #1
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Default Military Spouse vent (very long)

I know there are a few of you here. I'm at my wit's end.

Ok, I'm an Air Force wife. My husband is an officer. I've never once, in the entirety of my husband's career, applied what he does for a living into my personal life. I'm not a rank-rider, and I despise those who are. Truly, genuinely DESPIIIIIISE them. I have friends, very dear ones, that are officer, enlisted, civilian and unemployed, LOL. To me, the career doesn't make the person. Anyway...

If the rank thing wasn't enough, now that our base is being taken over, or BRAC'd, through the Army, things are getting even worse. Now we're being faced with Army wives, WIVES, who don't like Air Force wives, and vice versa. So now, not only is there officer/enlisted tension, there's Army/Air Force tension. We have neighbors who actively avoid their other neighbors now.

Add to that a soaring crime rate in our tiny community (approximately 2000 people) and it's getting pretty bad here. The amount of finger-pointing is terrible. It's no secret that on the Army base next to us, there is a lot of gang activity and crime. That's why there is a gate manned with Air Force security between the two. The crime rate has almost doubled in the year and a half of BRAC.

I've lived here for 4 years. In the beginning, I knew all our neighbors and we all talked frequently. When the BRAC happened, people were outprocessed and moved. Army folks moved in. I personally introduced myself to each one of my new neighbors, happy to have new friends and acquaintances. I was asked right off the bat if my husband was Army or Air Force. To me, it doesn't matter because we're NEIGHBORS. We live next to each other. Not a single one made the effort to talk to me, and in fact, refused to even wave at me. I've overheard women on both sides, Army AND Air Force, complaining about how the Air Force "has no clue" and are full of uppity people, and how the Army is "trashy" and the people are low class. How $#^#$ stupid is that?! Here we are, living next door to each other, our husbands BOTH deploy for long periods of time, we BOTH live miles and miles away from family, we BOTH fear losing our husbands/wives, we BOTH have to do it all on our own most of the time and we BOTH have to deal with the stresses of being military. And to top it off, we BOTH have to deal with the escalating crime.

Security Forces finally put together a neighborhood watch meeting. It was there that the final straw for me occurred. People were complaining that the cops didn't knock on their doors to let them know about the gunman the other night. (The cops were out looking for him, and an email, phone call and text was sent to 90% of the residents telling them to stay indoors, and the other residents were contacted by friends who received the notification) They were complaining that ever since the Army moved in or they've moved in with Air Force, they don't know anyone and don't WANT to put themselves out there. They said they don't want bad blood between neighbors, but they don't even KNOW them. They don't know their names, if they have kids or a dog, if they work odd hours, NOTHING. So this puts us all at a very dangerous disadvantage. Not only are people unfamiliar with the kind of people they're living next to, or down the street from, but they will knowingly IGNORE problems because they don't want to create "bad blood." The incident with the gunman could have been prevented. Neighbors came out after the fact and said that they thought a lot of bad stuff had been going on for a while, but they never said anything. These are the same neighbors who were sitting at the meeting telling the cops that they keep them in the dark about everything, that the cops aren't doing their JOBS.

They even went so far as to say that the Air Force cops are discriminating against Army wives and their families because they have to fill out paperwork to get visitors passes and their entire carload of people gets carded at the gate. HELLO!!! We all have to do that. It's basic procedure!!! They handled it in a very bad way, and made it made me dislike them. I don't LIKE disliking people I have to live with, but these people are the problem. They want everyone to watch out for them, but they want no part of watching out for anyone else.

I actually stood up and said what I thought. That we all should stop the Army vs Air Force thing and start getting to know each other. By knowing who we're living with, we start taking control back. If we see someone unfamiliar in the neighborhood, we can report it without fearing that it could be the person we share a wall with. I got a lot of nods and words of agreement, except for these 3 women, who, I'm just going to say, WERE trashy. They said they have no inclination to get to know people who pose such a threat to them, and that they are discriminated against because they're Army, and their kids aren't safe because they don't know who's living on their street.

GRRR!!!

GAHH!!
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Old 12-18-2010, 02:49 PM   #2
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WOW. I am so sorry you have to deal with all of that nonsense! I'm an Air Force wife, too.

We haven't been in long, but when we lived on base, all the neighbors pretty much ignored everyone else. It wasn't the friendliest environment, but nothing like being afraid for your safety.

Sorry I can't be much help, but It's very good of you to be the bigger person and talk to your neighbors and being friendly. That's what HUMANS do. And if they want to be weird and just ignore you or be rude, then thats on them. Don't let the 'trash' bring you down.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:11 PM   #3
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I'd have no problem if the crime hadn't escalated so much. I'm not one to get my feelings hurt if Bob-the-Neighbor doesn't wave hi when I say good morning, but c'mon! We have to at least watch out for each other. Breaking and entering has been bad lately. We've had assaults, domestics, cars getting broken into... People just aren't watching out for their neighbors. When we got the call about the gunman, I was immediately on the phone with the neighbors who we've exchanged emergency info with. One of my friends who lives a street over is pregnant, has a 5 year old and her husband is out of town. I called and asked if she wanted my husband to come sit with her, or if she wanted to come over to our house until it blew over. She already had another of her neighbors husbands come over to get her and her son to take to their house. The neighborhood with the gunman is a separate one, but less than a block away, if that makes sense. We live in duplexes in one division, the gunman lived in the area with apartment complexes. In the duplexes, we aren't as close as we once were, but we still know a few people. Most of the crime is from the apartment complexes, but we have our own. My husband has been walking the neighborhood a lot more since the assault, and today he found a cache of alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia right behind my son's elementary school, about a block and a half from our house, and very close to where the assault happened.

I hate it!!
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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Oh my! I can't even imagine what u r going through. I am so sorry! From your OP I am getting the impression that you live on the base? If that is the case, I am just floored at the sorts of crimes your base is experiencing. I mean...we've only lived on one base and were fortunate to not have the crime problem, but how does a military base have crime problems? Isn't everyone on the base responsible for their actions as part of the military, and can get kicked out/put in jail etc? Sorry if I'm rambling, and sooo sorry I don't have any advice. Just wanna let you know AF wife to another that I'm here if u ever need to rant.
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:26 PM   #5
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It's similar here in the UK, I'm a Royal Air Force baby and when I was at primary school, there were a lot of Army babies and Royal Navy babies and we used to fight pretty bad. RAF hates Navy and they both hate Army. I remember my mum getting abuse from Army and Navy wives as well. We didn't live on a base, just in a town NEAR to an Air Force base.

Dad left the Air Force when I was ten though.

And, also, I've been on a couple of dates with Army soldiers and when I mentioned that my dad was RAF, they got very uppity. It's stupid, really. All the forces fight for the same cause, one isn't better than the other.

Sorry to hear what's happening Hope it gets better for you.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:02 PM   #6
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This is exactly why I don't live in housing if I don't absolutely have to. My hubby is CG and there's always in-fighting in the housing units, and even more so on bases where CG and Navy share housing. I also do not recite my hubby's resume on meeting people, and am instantly wary of those who do. Being married to the military has many benefits, but you have to take the good with the bad. Just be careful and make sure your house is secure and report any suspicious activity. Good luck to you!!
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:46 PM   #7
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That is exactly why we don't live in housing anymore. It was too much drama & tension. We were the youngest & newly married couple in our building. My hubby was just an E3 when we got married. Everyone around us was a higher rank & older..so they never talked to us. I had to find my own friends through myspace and a Navy Wife forum. However...I'm guilty of being friends with just the Navy wives, for the first 2 years though. I now have many friends in other branches, and hubby even has friends in the Army & Marines. They all make fun of each other about the better branch, but it's all in good fun.

There was a little bit of crime at our base. Nothing major really..just a couple break-ins. The MPs were always on patrol at night. We didn't have anything scary like what you're going through. It was a gated base, and ID checks were very mandatory. Just stay safe, and keep the doors & windows locked.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:55 PM   #8
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I also avoid talking about what my husband does for a living. There are times when people have directly asked me. My first time with a spouse's club, I was expected to sit down and fill out a paper that had my name, my kids names and ages, my husband's name.... and then his rank. I filled everything out except that, and I immediately had 8 wives harping at me about how they "needed" to know. After taking a deep breath, I informed them that my husband's rank is none of their damn business. If their husband wants to know my husband's rank for work, so be it. They have no business asking me what his rank is because it shouldn't matter in a spouse's club. I told them that they didn't wear their husband's rank, I don't wear my husband's rank, so don't expect me to treat you with more respect just because your husband has been in longer than mine. I told them that if rank meant so much to them that I didn't think we'd get along, because women who pull their husband's rank are generally insecure *****es. Yeah, I wasn't invited back again, and none of the other officers wives really associated with me after that. I heard about squadron functions through my husband because they took me off the mailing list. I've experienced "rankism" from both sides though. I played softball with a bunch of other spouses on base. I deliberately avoided discussions about rank, job etc. They were all enlisted wives, I was the only officer's wife. I went almost the entire season without them finding out, then one of the wives had stopped by my house and saw a picture of my husband in uniform. She told everyone else on the team, and not a single one of them so much as talked to me for the rest of the season. It pissed me off so badly that finally I confronted them, and told them that I had no reason to be ashamed or worried about my husband's rank, and if they wanted to be *****es, so be it. I quit the team.

It's just insanity. I love getting to know new people. I really don't care what rank or branch a person is. I don't even know the rank of my best friend's husbands here. I know they are enlisted because I've seen them in uniform, but I don't memorize rank insignia, so I have no clue what their rank is. So I don't understand why people are just sitting by watching their neighborhood go to **** because they don't like Army or Air Force. If I see something going on, I don't care if they are a Colonel, Airman or Private, I'll tell them. They're my neighbors, not my co-workers.

And yes, we live on base. I'm considering starting a Facebook page for our neighborhood so we can post any news and get to know each other better, but I don't want it to turn into a bunch of stupid finger pointing and fighting.
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:21 PM   #9
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That is nuts. I don't care about rank either. There is no reason to treat people differently because of their rank or their spouse's rank. You are awesome for telling those women how you felt!

I also hate it when spouses or soldiers themselves announce where they are deployed to on their facebooks. uh hello OPSEC anyone??
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:37 PM   #10
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LOL, if my husband or I get asked about where he's deployed to, we say Southeast Asia. It always floors me when I see statuses talking about deployment specifics. One of my friends on facebook was a new wife dealing with her first deployment and wrote: "My hubby told me bombs went off outside of his base in blahblahblah! I can't wait til he comes back from blahblahblah" I sent her a private message and said, ya may want to delete that... LOL.

My status isn't available to anyone other than those on my friend's list, but I still avoid even saying my husband is deployed or otherwise out of the house. One wife on this base had been posting about her husband being deployed, and one of the people on her friends list, he wasn't a friend but more of an acquaintance, figured out where on base she lived and then assaulted her. Scary stuff.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:08 PM   #11
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I was a military brat. Oh wait, sorry, TECHNICALLY not really, since my father was an officer. Captain in the Navy the last I saw of him. So I know totally what you are talking about. I cannot think of a time when I was growing up that my mom ever had an enlisted wife in the house, and RARELY did she have any wife whose husband was a rank or two lower than my dad in the house. She volunteered at the Navy crap cannot think of the name of it now, basically the place where there is food, clothes etc for the family's of the guys who are deployed. Anyway, it all rolls down hill, just as my mom did not associate with the enlisted wives, likewise I did not have friends whose fathers were not officers. If something trashy or shady happened, it was always "oh well she IS an enlisted wife".

But the same happened in the opposite direction. Most of the enlisted wives deferred to my mom when they talked to her, or when my mom had to "lower" herself to talk to them, usually when working at the aid place. The Italian MP's always called her Mrs. Ma'am.

Once my parents got divorced that whole "class" thing carried over, my mom who is no longer a military wife, STILL to this day is like that.

It is all very strange.

My future son in law is in the Air Force, he is in Security Forces, unfortunately my daughter has seen and heard her grandmothers stupidity about the situation, and has listened to her grandmother say things like "well I hope you guys do not plan on getting married while he is just an E3 because you will have to be on food stamps, him being enlisted and all". The good part is that we live in a "military" town, we are VERY close to Camp Pendleton, so MANY of her friends from High School are in the Military, and she herself did 4 years of AFJROTC in High School, so she thinks that the whole rank crap with the wives is stupid
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:08 PM   #12
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I hate it when people ignore the OPSEC. We have it for a reason. It's for everyone's safety..why must people be stupid like that?

Speaking of ranks. Someone I knew got in major trouble for hanging out with a family of a higher rank. Her husband was called in and given a warning!!! They were told they can't socialize with someone of a higher rank. Their daughters were heartbroken, because they lost new friends! I had never heard of anything like that. Several of my friends have husbands who are a higher rank than my husband..and we never got a warning like that. We never even heard about it!!!
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:48 PM   #13
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I asked my husband about this. He says that yes, you can get into trouble if there's fraternization among ranks. He says it doesn't happen often, but yes, it can and does happen, and people can get into trouble for so much as referring to a higher-ranking person by their first name. BUT, it doesn't happen often in today's military. He said usually if there is an issue with fraternization, it's because the rank difference is causing favoritism or the appearance of favoritism, which can cause issues with both the higher ranking person and the lower ranking person. He said it's fine to hang out with people you like, regardless of whether or not they are or lower or higher ranking, but it's best to keep it out of your own chain of command. So he would have issue with hanging out with someone who answers to him directly, or hanging out with someone he answers to directly. Sort of like a boss dating someone who works for them, it just doesn't look good, if that makes sense...

Having said all that, my husband hangs out with my friend's husbands when we all get together, and they're all enlisted. We've gone out for dinner together, had each other over, done birthday parties together etc... He doesn't make them call him "sir" or care if they call him by his first name. They aren't within his chain of command though. I don't go around my husband's squadron, nor do I go to squadron functions often enough to even be recognized, so I only have 2 friends from there. One I only know because they moved in 2 houses down from me, and happened to work with my husband, and the other I met through my first friend. So chances of me actually running in to, and becoming friends with someone within my husband's chain of command is rare. Not saying it won't happen, but the only experience I've had with people in my husband's squadron is that they are only trying to one up each other, and if that means a wife becoming your friend only to stab you in the back later, yep, it'll happen. And did happen to me, so no, I don't get involved with people in my husband's squadron, his rank, lower than his rank or higher. I get involved with no one, except for the 2 I have known since I moved here.

His view is that when it's family time, it's family time. When it's work time, it's work time. When the uniform comes off, so does his rank.

And as for me? Pfft... I do as I please.
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:44 PM   #14
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The world is just like high school isn't it? Sorry to hear people are being such b!tches over petty stuff that shouldn't matter.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:13 AM   #15
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My mouth was hanging wide open when I read anything you posted about the insanity on your base. Just....amazing.

My dad is in the military but he's always been National Guard never had to be deployed, I've never lived on the base. My husband was Navy before I met him and sometimes I wish that he would have been in the Navy and we could have travelled and lived in on base housing, but OH MY WORD that is INSANE!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe what's happening where you live. I think I would be a lot like you completely befuddled by people's harsh and negative reactions to their neighbors.

Just like you said everyone's husband is fighting for our country basically and why isn't there a bond out of just THAT alone!!

What I found MOST appalling was the fact that you were on a softball team with these women, one found out your husband was an officer and everyone started treating you like you had the plague!?!?!? I mean REALLY?!?! That burns me up and it didn't even happen to me! People can really be a bunch of idiots! I guess it goes without saying that I completely empathize with you.
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