The Air Force Wife Handbook

  • Published
  • By Stacy Huisman
  • 17th Training Wing spouse
At the beginning of my marriage to my husband, he gave me a little gift. It wasn't pearls or diamonds, it was a book - The Air Force Wife Handbook - A Complete Social Guide. I contemplated throwing it at him and seeing how I played college softball, I knew I had a good chance of knocking him out. However, after several attempts to reason with me, I realized the book was more than what it seemed. I was about to embark on this crazy journey as a military spouse and I hadn't a clue what I was walking into. The book was no slight. It was a handbook to tell me everything that he couldn't about the community and social life of being in the Air Force.

I read it, mostly when he wasn't looking, to see what the fuss was about. The book was fascinating. It gave me a look into the past and the future. Chapter after chapter, it explained all the unknowns to me. Questions about rank, procedures and how to address someone were all answered. To my delight, it was written so I didn't have to guess the meaning of an acronym or buy a vowel; it was all spelled out. The book covered military weddings, coffees, clubs and what to wear to formal functions. It also covers military funerals, retirements and promotions. I found myself reaching for it last year to find out about Change of Command ceremonies and receptions. The book has always been helpful and handy when I needed it.

It was first published in 1992 and was written by Ann Crossley and Carol A. Keller, both former Air Force spouses. There have been six different editions, each one trying to keep the material current. With the Air Force ever changing, the book will always have some dated
information. Overall, it's a great resource for spouses of all ranks. It covers all those curiosities you've always wondered about but didn't have the nerve to ask. As for my husband, I'm thankful he gave me this book. It's been a real eye-opener and has prepared me for a few unexpected things.

Don't get me wrong, if I had a choice between diamonds and the book, I'll take the diamonds next time. However, I'm thankful for him for his service to the Air Force and for making me his wife. I love my life as a military spouse.