Military Monday: Are spouses entitled to salutes, extra pay?

There have been some crazy articles in the Military Spouse world lately asking for benefits that I have NEVER EVER heard of. And they are sounding like crazy people so let’s break them down (and apologies in advance but I rant a bit):

An officer’s wife wrote into a Navy publication upset that she/her car were no longer being saluted at her duty station when she drove on post. Personally I’ve never experienced this when I’m in the car by myself. When my husband is driving us onto post he is saluted, but salute a wife? I didn’t even think this was a thing. Apparently it is…kinda.

facebook_-1952629648I hope you can read that (try opening it in a new tab). If not, here’s the breakdown:

  • This wife claims she’s “worked hard …and should be recognized” with a salute, the traditional greeting for an officer by enlisted service members. She’s no longer seeing this at the gate and worries about the “laxness” of the military
  • The answer’s 1st line: “Wow. That’s quite a sense of entitlement you have.”
  • It continues on the history of salutes (started by the Romans to indicate they weren’t armed) and that it’s customary between military members to recognize officers
  • That the sentries or guards at the gate are working hard at what their real job is: protecting the base, not rendering salutes.

But basically the answer is no, spouses aren’t really supposed to be saluted. Cars of officers can be but that’s about it (I saw this once when a General drove by). I talked to my husband about this because I always thought any lower ranked person saluted higher ranked persons, but that’s not the case. It’s only to Officers (learn something new everyday!).

But that’s not really the point: as a wife I have never expect to be treated differently than any other person – military or not. I’m happy to have my benefits and support of others while my husband serves. Yeah I’m sounding a bit cheesy but it’s true. My husband is the one serving, wearing the uniform everyday, not me. Do I make sacrifices? Sure, but I never see that as a sign or excuse or right to be treated any differently.

(Thanks to Julie for sharing this story! If you have an blog topic you’d like me to write about feel free to email me.)

Then there is this officer’s spouse who I honestly have no words for. She is a fellow LT’s wife who I have no but so many words for – just read her question to Ms. Vicki.

Apparently someone told her that wives get a stipend, and a nice one at that. Oh how I wish that was true. And every other military spouse out there. Like Ms. Vicki I would like to know where she heard this. If you are a dependent your Soldier does get more pay (in his BAH and BAS) but that’s it. You get health insurance, base access, etc. But that’s all. Quite simple stuff. And personally, I don’t think I’d ever ask for more.

To be frank, I think this couple needs to establish a budget. LT’s make enough to live just fine. It’s a middle class salary to be honest. And while yes I have worked the entire time we’ve been married aka we’ve had two incomes, I know many spouses of all ranks (including LTs and enlisted) that live fine on one income – and some of those people have kids too! Also, go look at what enlisted soldiers make, then look back at the LT pay, now reassess.

But I am still a bit shocked by this question, and her attitude to be honest. Warning: rant starting now…sorry if I offend anyone in advance.

Let’s start with the money: A budget is an amazing tool. I started with a simple one when I was living on my own after college, and now we have a pretty complex one that includes savings, all our payments broken down by date, and even a future outlook (it’s intense). But it’s simple: look at what you make each month (after tax), every bill, every expense. See where you can cut. See where you have wiggle room to make a hair appointment or go shopping. I promise it’s there. But if you still feel strapped for cash – a job is great as Ms. Vicki pointed out. Find what you love, or heck what you like if you need the money that badly, and enjoy life. Getting certified in a state can be difficult, this particular spouse is an educator, if you can’t make it happen then look for similar jobs like tutoring or education related. It’s a great experience, who knows maybe you’ll find a passion for something else you love. I know it’s been hard for me to transition into new jobs but I’m so glad I have.

On meeting people: it is hard. And there are people out there that you won’t mesh with. But there are so many opportunities to find people. Volunteer. Join a club. Keep going to FRG events because maybe you’ll find someone there that you really click with. I admit I got lucky with my first FRG and made amazing friends, now that we have switched units I am getting to know people again from the beginning – it’s hard and I’m sure I’ll encounter people that I like and don’t like, but I need to talk to them a lot before making a final judgement.

As an officer’s wife (and an Army wife in general) I’m a bit appalled by both of these ladies. Like I said, I don’t really expect much out of the “job.” I’m married to the person I love and he happens to serve and be an officer. I go through the same things as enlisted and other officer wives – deployments, field training, long distance, long hours, buying a new required piece of equipment not accounted for in the budget, etc. But never in a million years do I want anything extra for that. I’m just happy that we can be together when we can and that we’re sharing our life together (yep getting cheesy again but going there). If he worked in a civilian job I’d expect to be eligible for healthcare too and we’d still make a budget, and I still wouldn’t want to be treated any differently by anyone he worked with. Rant over. I needed to get it out of my system.

What do you make of all of this? Any tips for these ladies? Or expectations you have as a military spouse? Share below in the comments!

7 Replies to “Military Monday: Are spouses entitled to salutes, extra pay?”

  1. I heard about the Dear Vicki one and my reaction was this, “Well… that was cute.” I don’t understand how people can be like that. All I can do is shake my head. I wonder if she salutes back or what. Even when I’m driving and my husband is with me, he gets a salute (not just when he’s the one driving). But I would never ever ever expect to be saluted. I would feel awkward. If I wanted to be saluted, I would go through OCS. Except I’m not. I’m enlisting. So either way, I won’t be rendered a salute. lol I just have to wonder where these people come from. How can anyone be that deluded? Why can’t people be more humble and graciously accept gifts that are given instead of expecting everything and being entitled.

  2. I think that the saluting situation differs with each branch of the military and also within specific jobs in those branches. For example, things are very different on Air Force bases then they are on Navy bases. EVERYONE salutes here and addresses superior ranks by their rank. I am almost always saluted when I drive on base here. However, if you went to an Air Force base, people salute less and will call each other by their first names. I’m not defending the lady who thinks that she’s “worked hard” to “earn” the salute, but it could be that she’s used to one situation and now she’s in a different situation and is confused. Special forces do not address rank in the way other ares of the military does. So, with the Navy pilot community, they are rank oriented. With the SEAL community, they are less so. It really varies from base to base and branch to branch.

    1. Great point! If you are used to it and then it doesn’t occur anymore then it would be confusing. I think what got me more than anything was her phrasing of it, but each post/base is totally different. I have noticed that from formality of guards to searches (or lack of searches) of vehicles.

  3. Oh my goodness! It’s spouses like that, that give all military spouses a bad wrap. I’ve seen a lot of infuriating articles latey about the “lavish lifestyles” military spouses have. All I can think is, “where the heck are these people getting this idea from (that we lead such cushy lives)”? Well, I guess that answers the question. I do believe that we, as milspouses, wear a “silent rank”, and that we do have to make so many sacrifices. But I am very thankful for the perks we DO get, and I don’t think we are owed or entitled to anything else. I DEFINTELY don’t think we should be saluted! One of my biggest pet peeves is a woman who “wears” her husbands rank – such an unattractive quality.

  4. Jessica, that last paragraph is really what its all about! Did you marry your husband because you loved him or because you thought you’d get a kick back or some acknowledgement for it? I totally agree with you, the benefits we have are really more than we can ask for. Free health care, next to nothing dental, access to the base, the opportunity to make friends in a community that understands more than most what you’re going through. I’ve found all of these benefits are just extras to the fact that I’m married to an amazing man that I love more than anything (now I’m getting cheesy!) Of course I have a moment of weakness, which I know everyone has, where I’ll wish we had more, whether its more time together or just a little more money, but it doesn’t last long. I know the life that we have, he serves & I stand behind him, no matter what. & I get to be with the man I love & our son has an amazing father, someone that he will always be able to look up to. So what more do I need?

    1. By the way, I bet these wives expecting things are the same wives who think officer’s wives & enlisted wives shouldn’t associate.

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