If you are new to the Coast Guard Family, Welcome. Things might feel very overwhelming right now, but you will soon get the hang of things. The Coastie Voice polled seasoned Coastie Spouses and put together a list of tips that are sure to help put you on the right path.
Always be Ready for Goodbyes
Saying goodbye is the hardest part. And this first comes with saying goodbye to your family and your closest friends. Your heart will break when you leave home for your new adventure. Broken hearts are unavoidable. It will break every time you establish roots in a new location and you have to say goodbye. It will break because of the friends you have made and the memories you have made. It's important to not let the threat of a broken heart stop you from living. Because every goodbye is a new start and a new hello.
Always be Kind
The USCG is the smallest of the military services. There is a very good chance that you will have many of the same families stationed around you as you have had in the past. Each location and meeting will be different than the last. Make it so that every introduction is a good one.
Always be Confident
Know that you are strong (fake it if you are unsure) and capable of handling things on your own, because you never know when you will have to tackle things on your own. Learn to be independent, use your resources, and solve problems on your own.
Always be Semper Paratus
Always be ready, be flexible, learn to adapt and over come. Plans change all the time within the military. Nothing is ever set in stone. Take the good and the bad as an adventure! Be proud and supportive even when you are annoyed or angry. When away from families become part of your Coastie community and create family, those relationships and friendships even though you may move apart they are forever relationships that are like no other!!!
Always Stay Positive
Don't get mad at your Coastie when they have to pull duty or has to work late. Most of the time, it is out of their control and a huge part of their job. There will be holidays, weekend, special events that they miss. Just remember that they would rather be spending these special moments with you than at work.
Always Remember - Keep Your Own Identity
When joining a military family, it is hard not to try and “wear your Coastie’s rate.” Remember, that you are not the active duty member, you are only the spouse. Support your Coastie in any way that you can, but maintain your own identity. Do that by finding a job, or a hobby.
Always Grow Where You are Planted
Moving every 2-4 years is hard, but if you have the mindset that you are going to really enjoy each and every duty station you will thrive. Embrace the culture, volunteer, emerge yourself in the community- it's your only chance to build roots.
Always Remember Operations Security
OPSEC is the process of protecting little pieces of data that could be grouped together to give the bigger picture. Any information that can be obtained freely, without breaking the law, is Open Source and nearly 90% of the information collected comes from “Open Sources. It is social network sites, tweets, text messages, blogs, videos, photos, GPS mapping, newsletters, magazine or newspaper articles, your college thesis, or anything else that is publicly available.
Giving out even the smallest pieces of information can not only put a mission at risk, but also all coastguardsmen including your spouse. And sometimes, this information can be passed along to the command, which will not ware well for your Coastie.