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The Mocha Manual to Military Life

The Mocha Manual to Military Life—A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends and Female Service Members (Amistad/HarperCollins) by Kimberly Seals Allers with Pamela McBride.

Introduction

 

Growing up, I had very little military experience in my life. I remember my cousin Benjamin always showed up to family reunions in a crisp green uniform with lots of medals, but, to be honest, I never bothered to ask why. More recently, my cousin Jamis attended West Point, and she is now a helicopter pilot for the army. And although I felt great pride knowing that West Point is a prestigious military institution, I know very little else of her life as a service member. For those of us on the outside, the military world seems like a strange club governed by lots of rules and protocol, requiring a level of discipline beyond what most of us could muster.

 

      Lately, world events have made us all a lot more familiar with our armed forces. The “war on terror” has brought us countless images of wounded soldiers, monthly death counts, and a new and unwanted familiarity with IEDs (improvised explosive devices). We see news reports of soldiers leaving spouses and children for yearlong deployments, and images of sweet homecomings of flag-bearing kids waiting for returning dads. As a New Yorker living in post- 9/11 America, I’ve seen more soldiers in our streets, train stations, and airports than ever before. But even now, despite a renewed awareness of our armed forces, we know very little about the people who love and support them, the people who kiss them good-bye. We often see these men and women as soldiers, not necessarily as everyday men and women with doting wives and husbands and bright-eyed children left behind.

 

      That is why I feel very honored to team up with Pamela McBride, an army wife of more than twenty years and an accomplished journalist in her own right, to bring you this Mocha Manual for military spouses. This may sound like a bumper sticker, but after spending several months interviewing, spending time with, and learning about this unique group, I am thoroughly convinced that they are truly heroes at home. But they are often overlooked. What’s been missing from our wartime and peacetime coverage is an honest look at the toll the war takes at home for military families, particularly wives. Nobody is talking about how these women can cope, how they can be supported, how they can connect and keep their marriage strong. Nobody is talking about the other women in military marriages—the military.

 Excerpted from The Mocha Manual to Military Life—A Savvy Guide for Wives, Girlfriends and Female Service Members (Amistad/HarperCollins) by Kimberly Seals Allers with Pamela McBride, on sale now everywhere.

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