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Military Loved Ones Get Lessons in Soldiers' Lingo

Posted August 17, 2007

— Military life can seem like a whole different culture, one with its own language, traditions and customs. Some spouses of service members can quickly feel lost, especially when their loved one deploys.

Soldiers can bounce around all kinds of lingo. To catch the meaning, you might need to R.S.V.P. for a class on acronyms.

“I had a meeting with the first sergeant and the CO after the GI party to talk about the FTX,” said Instructor Araceli Smith. FTX is a field training exercise, she explained.

Some Army spouses recently tried to learn the military’s lingo by taking part in the Army Family Team Building classes at Fort Bragg. Volunteer instructors taught the free classes.

Participants learned to say "15 hundred" instead of "3 o’clock" (that's p.m.), and they learned the chain of command, among other things.

“I’m here to learn more about what I can do to support my husband as a spouse,” said Army wife Jessica Roberts, 19.

But the classes didn’t merely involve the ABCs of military acronyms. With hundreds of Fort Bragg soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the classes also delved deeply into hard-hitting issues that Army families face

“We talk about deployments and what it does to our families,” Smith said.

There's a class on stress management, one on coping with crisis and grieving. Saying goodbye to a spouse bound for battle is tough enough, but instructors say re-uniting can be just as stressful.

“The dynamic of the family, relinquishing the control of things, it’s one of the hardest things,” Smith said.

Roberts said she knows her husband’s deployment is inevitable. He just joined the Army, and she said she has plenty to learn.

“Where you’re going to have emotional problems, where you’re going to have financial issues,” she said. “You can’t prepare for a deployment, you just have to be ready and take it one day at a time.”


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  • Fair Tax Now Aug 19, 2007

    To the liberal intellect-why would you be against "the idea of the military"? Our military has a long, proud tradition of liberating oppressed people and assisting people of many nations in times of crisis. It is difficult to know these things today with the liberal slant of news and education.

  • kdavis2 Aug 18, 2007

    Gee whizz mrtwinturbo, give the lady a break! The clash of life philosophy and life love (her future husband) is an old and well known battle to history buffs and psychiatrists alike. Just by expressing it she is in the ballpark to find the answers to balancing her love of her man and her love of life. Understand, most people who love life never like war or the military (as an entity) needed to fight it. Perhaps you, sir, should slow down and learn to appreciate people for whom they are.

  • mrtwinturbo Aug 18, 2007

    TheLiberalIntellect.....you are already heading for trouble and a doomed marriage, you can't support someone and also say you are against the military at the same time. I spent over 20 years in the military so I know your thinking is all wrong.....perhaps the screen name TheLiberalIntellect at the age of 17 is all wrong for you

  • TheLiberalIntellect Aug 18, 2007

    I'm honestly really afraid of the idea of being an army wife but it's something I'll have to face in the near future. I'm 17 going on 18 and I'm dating an army guy. I support him fully but I've always been very against the idea of the military itself. So for me this is going to be one of the absolute hardest things for me to do. And I can see how a class suach as this would aid some spouses in understanding and coping. It's a nice idea.

  • fiftygirl Aug 18, 2007

    I say a big thank you to Ms. Smith and her efforts to provide any and all assistance to the military spouses & families. Yes, the lingo can be picked up but isn't just nice to know someone, somewhere cares enough to make it a little easier. Thank you again to Ms. Smith and others like her.

  • LIR Aug 18, 2007

    Maybe the spouses aren't explaining things to them. I could see where the lingo would be hard to understand if military life was "new" to anyone. Then again most should be easily pick up on - providing the wife/husband is paying attention to what is being said. :)

  • ERRN Aug 18, 2007

    Why is this news? I was an Army wife for years and never had to take a class to figure out what my husband was saying.