You probably heard about the show Army Wives that aired from 2007-2013. As an army wife, there were things about that show that made me laugh, that I agreed with, that made me cry. And then, of course, there were plenty of things that made me shake my head at how Hollywood can really take something too far – but I bet you’ve never heard of The Battle Hard wives of the 173rd.
Maybe one day, you will. Maybe one day, we’ll share our stories for the world to see. I know that long ago, in my introduction and reasons for blogging, I said I wouldn’t be naming my military appreciation by name, but this time I have permission. I won’t share all their names – the first wives I encountered in Italy many years ago. But at least one hero among them: her name is Colleen Wood.
In the lives of many army wives, this woman’s name will always be held in a place of honor. If there was a purple heart for keeping spouses sane, caring for single soldiers, running amazing FRGs, holding the hands of newly arrived ladies in the face of uncertain and difficult deployments, making difficult phone calls to the states, and later continuing to carry the banner of support years after her duties are fulfilled, I have to be completely biased and say there is only one FRG leader that would take all. And how does she do it? And still be mom to 3 boys, love and support her husband, be a teacher and friend, and balance life’s ups and downs? I don’t know, maybe she’ll write a book one day and tell us 🙂 One token that she has contributed recently was by starting a journal for The Battle Hard Wives for us to remember that very uncertain deployment to Iraq, now over 10 years ago.I’m the latest Battle Sister to have this priceless journal in my living room. I’ll be adding stories of my own to our thoughts, reflections, tears, encouragement, rants, and whatever else comes out of our hearts and fills the pages, after some of those feelings have lain dormant for a while. When Colleen first took the time to reach out to us all, get the wives connected again, and set out on her mission of a joint journal, I did not really understand how important and impactful this will be. We went through a life changing event together: sending our husbands and loved ones on a deployment that began with the first jump into combat for the 173rd since Vietnam, with so many unknowns in being part of the initial invasion that our need for each other was stronger than our military connection had already begun by already being stationed overseas. We relied on each other so much in those 13 months. And now, we are remembering.Colleen Wood, I hope you know how much of a hero you are in our hearts: and I hope we can let you know how much we appreciate all you’ve done and continue doing by sharing our stories and reaching out to others with the same care.