Blog - Be a military wife? by Steve Schroeder

How’d you like to be an Army Wife?


“So, Steve” Sergeant Slaughter1 said as he dug his fingers into a tin of cherry-flavored Skoal, “It’s time to make a decision. What’s it going to be?”

I had been working with the Army recruiters to find out as much as possible the requirements for becoming a linguist for the military. It was generally much longer initial training than other MOS’s simply due to the fact that your language training could be almost two years, depending on its complexity.

That didn’t bother me. Having studied multiple foreign languages over the last ten years, it was expected to be a long stint to actually be of use in a language. There were two areas of concern at the time.

The more I considered it, the more it seemed this was the path I would be taking to try something other than the public ministry.

Number one: As I had said before, I did not come from a family of military service. I knew very few people who served and didn’t really know anybody who was currently active duty, especially in the Army. It was hard to get a true sense of what I was actually going to be in for in that enlistment.

Number two: Although I was not engaged yet, Sarah and I had been heading that direction in our lives together.

As it was 2000, we thought of the worst case scenario that would happen to us if I joined – that I’d be stationed in Korea. September 11th was not even on the horizon at this time, so we imagined that the most difficult thing that might happen to us was that I would be stationed somewhere overseas for a couple of years. How much expectations would change in a few short years.

“If it means I would get sent to Korea, that’s not an option” I naïvely answered. “Getting engaged and then leaving for overseas for a couple of years wouldn’t work.”

“Oh,” the recruiter responded, pausing for a moment. “I think there’s something about being able to turn down your first assignment…” The funny thing is I believed him.

And that is how I ended up with one of the ubiquitous “But my recruiter said…” stories. Obviously, unless there are some major mitigating circumstances, this is not true.

The more I considered it, the more it seemed this was the path I would be taking to try something other than the public ministry.

Sarah and I talked regularly about the progress of my decision. She was teaching two states away at the time and needed to be in agreement with this rather radical change of plans and careers – plans and careers which were not even considered even six months ago.

“So how would you like to be an Army Wife?” I asked hypothetically as we weren’t engaged yet. Sarah, who enjoyed travel as well as new experiences, simply responded with “Sure!”.

1Pseudonyms used to protect privacy

Chaplain Steve Schroeder, CW4—Retired, served in both Afghanistan and Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, flying many mission in combat situations. A helicopter crash ended his flying career and opened the path for a ministry helping those experiencing severe trauma.