Sunday, June 21, 2009

Week #3 Semi-Finalist Military Wives Contest

My husband, Lt. Col. Chris “Gash” Carslon, served 10 years active duty Air Force as first a F-111 pilot and then an F-16 pilot. He was stationed at Vance AFB (Oklahoma) for pilot training, then 2 tours at Cannon AFB (Clovis, NM), a tour at Upper Heyford (England), & Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA). He separated from active duty AF in 1999 and transitioned into active duty Texas Air National Guard. Gets a little confusing for the non-mil folks. LOL. Basically it’s the same pay, retirement, benefits, but instead of working directly under the federal gov’t, he now works for the state of TX. He has been an F-16 instructor pilot @ the Kelly Guard (aka The 149th Lone Star Gunfighters, which is @ Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX) for 10 years (this August).

As all military spouses know, there are always challenges in being married to someone who serves their country. When we first married in Nov 1996, he moved me to another state where, of course, I didn’t know a soul, and then promptly left 2 weeks later when his squadron deployed to Gulf for 4 months. This rotation continued for the two years, where I don’t think we celebrated Thanksgiving or Christmas together until 1999! LOL Throw on top of that all the TDY’s (temporary duty’s – usually 1-3 weeks at a time), cross-country’s, & long work hours, it can be a bit grueling – for him and me! J And while he has the benefit of not deploying now – because hey, if the instructor pilots leave, who’s going to instruct? – there are still plenty of TDY’s, cross-country trips and long work days (and don’t forget that 1 weekend a month deal the guard throws on top of it ). Not that they don’t deploy, but the trips are more to their choosing and the deployments are for more than 3 weeks. But you know, as a spouse you either sink or swim. I’ve known lots of folks who have gotten divorced because they just can’t deal with it. They say they know what they’re getting into when they marry a military person, but I don’t really think anyone knows what they’re getting into, aside from maybe military brats who grew up living the life. It’s hard, but we make the most of it and we’ve made some fantastic friends throughout the course of his 20 years. In my experience, our squadron becomes our surrogate family. You can be hundreds (if you’re lucky) miles from home or stationed on the other side of the world, but one thing you know is certain – you can always depend on your squadron support group. We’re there for each other, help each other, watch each other kids grow up – and most important – have fun together. It’s certainly not a life for everyone, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.
The picture above is us at the RTU Graduation in May 2009. In normal terms, it was the graduation for the latest group of F16 pilots.

By the way, I think this is fantastic of you to recognize the military spouses.


Missy “Jiggles” Carlson
(yeah, I’ve even been gifted with my very own “call sign”…)
Remember....I'll be selecting 1 semi-finalist every week through August 31st and then reveal the Grand Prize winner on Labor Day Weekend. All of the contest details are on my website in the contests section. Please pass the word to anyone you know!
Don't forget....a portion of all of my book sales from June 1, 2009- August 31, 2009 will be donated to ASMBA STAR, an outstanding charity for Veterans and their families.

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