I’m starting a new series for all the new mil-significant others. I’ve been a milspouse (and girlfriend, and fiancee) for 7 years now. In that time I’ve face many of the challenges that new mil-SOs will face. There are many questions common to those new to military life so this will be my attempt to help newcomers deal with the culture shock and hardships they will face.
One of the first things a military SO will face is boot camp. Being a Marine wife myself, I’ll be using all USMC terminology here. Every branch’s terms are different but one thing is the same: You won’t hear from your SO for some time while they are going through their initial training. It will be very hard for them in every single way, and the first real taste of military life for you both.
What to Expect:
- Your SO will get one call to their emergency contact where they will read from a script and let the emergency contact know they have arrived. They cannot deviate from this script. It’s about 30 sec long, and will be the last time you hear their voice and they hear yours for a few months.
- Your SO WILL NOT be able to contact you via phone or computer while at boot camp.
- Your SO will have access to mail. They will have limited time to write letters, and it will most likely be when they are supposed to be sleeping.
- Boot camp will be hard for them.
- Your civilian friends will NOT understand.
Boot Camp Don’ts For SOs
- Don’t send your SO packages. They will get punished for that.
- Don’t send sexy pics or contraband….or those cards that talk/play music. Great way to get them in trouble.
- Don’t expect your SO to send many letters. Trust me, they will send when they can but they don’t get a lot of free time and what free time the do get it’s very easy to loose.
Boot Camp Do’s For SOs
- Do send as many letters as you can. Fill them with anything and everything you can think of to talk about. Nothing is too small to mention. Those letters will mean the world to them.
- Do reach out to other military SOs. There are many groups out there to choose from. You don’t have to go it alone!
- Do be understanding if your SO can’t contact you as much as you’d like. They’d love to contact you more, but simply they can’t. They aren’t on vacation. This is probably the hardest thing they’ve ever done.
- Do encourage them. Your support will help them get through.
- Do start learning about military life. This is especially important if you are already married. You’ll want to get in DEERS asap! MilitaryOneSource is a great place to start.
- Do keep yourself busy. School, work, hobbies or all 3! The busier you are the faster the time will go. Don’t put your life on hold because your SO is gone.
Graduation & Family Day
After the Crucible, your Recruit will finally become a Marine! It’s a life changing event that they will remember forever. Then comes graduation. You’ll travel to see your Marine for the first time in weeks. They will not look the same as when they left, in fact you may have trouble picking them out from the crowd! You’ll get to spend time with your brand new Marine but there are still some things to keep in mind.
- You’ll be on a military base. It has it’s own dress code. So dress conservatively. Spaghetti strap tank tops, and flip flops don’t cut it. So keep the dress on the conservative side.
- What to wear? First, check the weather and dress appropriately. Paris Island in the summer is wicked hot!! You’ll probably be walking and outside a bit so wear good shoes. Some people dress up for graduation, others don’t. It’s up to you!
- Sign or no sign? Some bring signs to graduation, others don’t. Again it’s up to you.
- Make sure to bring a camera! Capture all those special moments.
- Your SO may have changed, they’ve gone through a lot, so be understanding.
- Most importantly, enjoy your time together!
Keep these Do’s and Don’ts in mind and you’ll survive boot camp and give your Recruit the support they need. Do you have a tip to help new military SOs deal with their SO at Boot Camp? Share in the comments!