Tips From a Marine Wife

Family members say goodbye as the guided-missile destroyer USS Russell (DDG 59) departs to join the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. The strike group is deploying to support the Global War on Terrorism as part of a regular deployment rotation. Photo by David Rush

“I keep resilient by staying focused on the bigger picture and what it means for us all. I surround myself with people who support that same cause, and it is not about political party lines. The bottom line is, they are fighting and we are left behind–what can we do about it now? Move forward, don’t look back.

The advice comes from one who knows whereof she speaks. Aime Fountain, 32, is the wife of Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Kevin Fountain, who recently deployed to Afghanistan on his third combat tour. It’s his fifth deployment in total, and Aime has been through them all.

During the first three, the couple did not have children. Now they have two, a boy, 4, and a 2-year-old daughter, and a third child is due before Kevin returns home.

The deployments never get easier, Aime says, but her job as a nurse and a solid network of friends “have helped me keep my sanity.”

Working made time go by quickly and helped me keep my mind off the deployment. I was able to meet new people and feel like I was making a positive contribution. When I wasn’t working, I had a wonderful group of girlfriends that I surrounded myself with. Deployment is such a personal experience but with so many commonalities, it’s easy to relate to another military spouse if you just start talking.

Her advice to young military wives is to learn the system, stay informed about the battalion or unit, and don’t be a hermit in your house.

Take the base programs, classes and trainings. They teach you much about the military and support resources, and you meet people. You need to be dialed into your unit, your base, your neighborhood. Know where to go, what to do and be proud in doing so. For me, information is power and it helps me feel more in control in a situation where I have very little control.

Even with the benefit of her experience, Aime says she is nervous about Kevin’s current deployment. Their 4-year-old son gets teary-eyed and misses his father terribly. Aime is taking the advice she would give to another spouse and seeking out support.

This deployment is more of a challenge than I’ve ever had before, and it wears on me. I don’t always know how to answer our little boy so I called my Family Readiness Officer and we’ve got a meeting scheduled with someone who can help.

Aime is confident that this latest deployment, in the end, will be a positive experience for her family.

Everyone has a breaking point. Some days you get there but if you are lucky, most days you won’t. You get up, tackle another day, and know that no matter the cost, or where the journey takes you, it is worth the ride. I would not trade anything thus far. I know I’ve grown and changed so much with each deployment, and learned a lot about myself in the process.”

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