There's no doubt that military spouses and families are the unsung heroes of our nation's military community. As Host Doug Soderdahl and Guest Host Kim Causey sat down with Sue Clark and Melinda Stackle, their strength and resilience became evident. These incredible women, married to retired Major General Jeff Clark and Colonel Mark Stackle, respectively, share their unique experiences and challenges in navigating the demanding lifestyle of being a military medical spouse. In our conversation, we explore the unique challenges, sacrifices, and strength of the families of military medical providers, as they navigate the demanding lifestyle of traveling away from relatives and adapting to new military customs and traditions.
We were fascinated to hear how Sue and Melinda managed their households and coped with the uncertainties of their spouses' deployments which can be particularly challenging for all military spouses and families. Their stories emphasized the importance of having strong support systems and learning from senior military spouses. They also shared strategies for coping with deployments and reintegration, offering a rare glimpse into the realities of military family life.
In this heartfelt discussion, we also explore ways to better support military spouses and families, such as intentionally educating them on resources and strengthening their buy-in to military life. We were inspired by the Oak Leaf Club at Walter Reed, which serves as an excellent example of how auxiliaries and organizations can provide similar programs. Ultimately, this episode is a celebration of military medical spouses and their immense significance in caring for our nation's warriors and supporting the cause of freedom.
(0:00:00) - Military Medical Spouses
(0:16:23) - Challenges of Military Spouses During Deployments
(0:22:01) - Coping With Deployments and Reintegration
(0:28:31) - Supporting Military Spouses and Families
(0:42:55) - Challenges and Opportunities for Military Spouses
(0:00:00) - Military Medical Spouses (16 Minutes)
We honor military medical spouses by learning about the unique challenges, sacrifices, and indomitable strength of those married to military medical providers. We hear from Sue Clark and Melinda Stackle, both military medical spouses of many years, who share their personal stories of how they and their spouses met and the most difficult assignments they had. We explore how the transition from clinical practice to operational command can be a significant challenge, creating a demanding lifestyle of traveling away from family and making it difficult to identify with the military side of life.
(0:16:23) - Challenges of Military Spouses During Deployments (6 Minutes)
We hear directly from military medical spouses on the unique challenges and sacrifices they face when their spouse is deployed. We learn how they must manage the house and family while the spouse is away, and how communication has changed over the years. We also discuss the need to put systems in place to prepare for the deployment and how to cope with the unknowns of the situation.
(0:22:01) - Coping With Deployments and Reintegration (6 Minutes)
We understand the unique challenges that come with deployments, including reintegration when a spouse returns home. We explore strategies for coping, and the importance of finding a good support group. We hear directly from service members and spouses on how to best manage the challenges of deployments, and how to reintegrate when a spouse returns home. We discuss the difficulties faced when communicating with family while deployed, and the importance of talking to each other and taking things slowly as part of the reintegration process.
(0:28:31) - Supporting Military Spouses and Families (14 Minutes)
We discuss how military spouses can better support each other and their families. We explore ways to strengthen the buy-in of spouses into the military life, such as taking advantage of educational opportunities provided by the military and making connections with other spouses in their service member's unit. We also consider how military medical centers can intentionally educate and empower spouses on what life in the military looks like and how to access resources when needed. Lastly, we look to the success of the Oak Leaf Club at Walter Reed to encourage other auxiliaries and organizations to provide similar programs.
(0:42:55) - Challenges and Opportunities for Military Spouses (10 Minutes)
We consider the impact of gender roles on military medical spouses and the evolution of male and female roles within the military over the years. We talk to spouses directly about the unique challenges they face and the role of social media in helping them find jobs. We also learn about Guest Host Kim Causey's journey with her career and how the choice to stay at home with their baby has benefited their family. Lastly, we explore ways to strengthen the buy-in of spouses into the military community to ensure they are supported.
Take Home Messages:
Military medical spouses play a significant role in supporting the demanding lifestyle of their partners and face unique challenges.
The importance of having strong support systems and learning from senior military spouses is vital for coping with the uncertainties of deployments.
Strategies for coping with deployments and reintegration into family life after deployment can include distractions, finding a good support group, and communication.
Educating military spouses on available resources and strengthening their buy-in to military life can better support them and their families.
Programs such as the Oak Leaf Club at Walter Reed can serve as models for how auxiliaries and organizations can provide support for military medical spouses.
Navigating the transition from clinical practice to operational command in the military can be a significant challenge, creating a demanding lifestyle of traveling away from family and making it difficult to identify with the military side of life.
Understanding the impact of gender roles on military medical spouses and the evolution of male and female roles within the military over the years is important.
The importance of community and finding your "people" within the military community is emphasized, whether it's through neighbors, spouse clubs, churches, or friends.
Empowering and educating spouses on what life in the military looks like and how to access resources when needed can better support them.
For junior spouses or those new to the military lifestyle, saying yes to invitations, engaging in social situations, and learning from senior spouses can be beneficial.
Military Medical Spouses, Military Medical Families, Unsung Heroes, Deployments, Reintegration, Support Systems, Oak Leaf Club, Walter Reed, Social Media, Career Choices, Buy-In, Sacrifices, Uncertainties, Strengthening, Educating, Empowering
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