Melissa and her husband, Allen, have been married for 8 years. However, because of their time in the Air Force, trainings, TDYs, and deployments have kept them apart for about 4 of those years. They met at the University of Arkansas their sophomore year (back in 2005) during his ROTC years. She knew he was the one the day he told her that he would wait for her until the day they graduated so she could focus on school. Fast-forward to today! They now have two boys (Nathaniel 4yrs and William 2yrs) and a little girl due early December (Penelope). Too add to their crazy mix, they also have a 9-month-old Goldendoodle, named Maverick.
Advice on Bases
Melissa and her family have called three bases home: Hickam AFB, HI; Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ; Scott AFB, IL.
“Hickam was our first base; it took me a while to fully enjoy it. It was far from home and different than anything I had ever known. I made some amazing friends that helped me enjoy HI and I’d say they are some of my best friends to this day! Don’t be afraid to dive into the culture and explore the area!
Davis-Monthan is H-O-T! They say it’s a dry heat but that doesn’t make a difference when it’s 115+ outside. There are some really great places to hike and you can take a few hours drive and escape to the mountains.
Scott has by far been our favorite assignment. It’s a great place to raise a family! There are so many FREE activities in and out of the city as well. We love the four seasons that you get and that it’s not a far drive to ‘home’ for us.”
Advice for Finding Jobs
Day to day, Melissa works as a Civil Engineer- DoD AF. Her best advice for finding jobs is to network!
“Use your friends, use your spouses, use the Airmen Family Readiness Center, and don’t be afraid to use social media. We (spouses) are all in the same boat, so if someone has an ‘in’ then take it!”
“Soon to be four! Our first two were back to back in Hawaii. We spent most of our first few years of marriage apart. During your first deployment you learn just how strong you really are. We had our third deployment at Davis-Monthan and our oldest had just turned one. This was a long deployment! I can promise you that what can go wrong will go wrong; learn to embrace it and push forward.
Our upcoming deployment will be trying. This time we have two kids and one on the way. Yes, he will be gone for the birth and no they will not send him home. Having a baby while my spouse is gone is going to be difficult but we thank God every day that this is our hurdle in life because we are so blessed with amazing healthy children, jobs, and a roof over our head. How am I going to survive? You ask for help and you take what is offered! I have great friends, coworkers, and family who are very willing to help and I will use every bit of it. We are all one big military family and we need to lean on each other when in need.
My advice for deployments would be to embrace them; they are not going away any time soon. You are not the first to go through this and you won’t be the last. There are several resources out there to help you get through them. Use them!! Lean on friends/family, your squadron Key Spouse, and stay involved as much as you can. Recently, a dear friend gave me the best advice for my upcoming deployment- no one is going to judge you for all the pizza boxes stacked up in your trash can! This is so true! Do what you can to survive during a deployment because this too shall pass.”
Favorite Part about Being a Military Spouse
“The friendships that you make will last a lifetime! You are in the same boat as these spouses and they truly understand the good, bad, and the ugly! They are your instant family. I am also so honored to be a military spouse. I am so proud that my husband is a part of that 1%.”
Best Relationship Advice
“Trust! You have to trust each other at all times. Trust that your spouse is making decisions not only for his career but also for the whole family. This comes with open communication. Don’t be afraid to have those long, deep conversations about how you feel or even the future.”
Thank you for your service, Allen, and thank YOU for yours, Melissa!