JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO–LACKLAND, Texas —
Once Airmen graduate from Air Force basic training, they enter a new chapter of life by starting technical training. Not only is it an important milestone for them, it’s a whole new lane for their partners. The Spouse Orientation seminar offered each week at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland plays a major role in making that road a lot less bumpy.
The majority of basic military training graduates are between ages 18-24, according to Hazel Wong, community readiness consultant for the Military Spouse Orientation program.
“They’re brand new, the Airmen are young…they just got married,” said Wong.
A multitude of factors will come into play as a BMT graduate and their spouse get their first assignment which can be anywhere around the world.
“We kind of let them know your family is not going to be with you so you’re going to have to open up,” said Wong. Challenges to this new path should be expected.
The new partners are preparing for what to expect from their spouse during the technical training phase, how to make moving arrangements, fill out health insurance paperwork, get employment opportunities and find their way without their usual support group. Wong said the program volunteers, who are military spouses themselves, furnish the new spouses with that information and more.
“The military will drive you crazy, it will challenge you,” said Collins. “It will also give you the resources to grow as a married couple and it’s the only employer that will offer all of these advantages and resources.”
Many of the volunteers have their own reasons for helping out.
“I love the love connection,” said Diane Reece, spouse orientation volunteer. “You know, you [your spouse] survived seven and a half weeks; let’s reconnect at eight.”
Once spouses are reunited, there’s also advice about how to act in public.
“If I [spouse] hold your hand I’m going to get in trouble,” said Reece.
Explaining simple things like that to a partner keeps a couple on track, but there are other ways to express affection in public.
“Winking, body language and using your words,” said Corinda Wilson, spouse orientation volunteer. It's questions like these both male and female spouses are interested in.
“There’s a time and place for everything,” said Wong. “[Knowing] simple things like that can keep a relationship strong.”
Spouse Orientation is open to spouses, betrothed and family members and is held Thursdays at 9:40 a.m. at the Pfingston Center before the coin ceremony.