Did you know… Among our Band of Bloggers, 3 are cancer survivors, 1 is on the team that plans the Army 10-Miler road race, and 7 are teachers!
Mary was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. She currently lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, SFC Spangler, their two sons, and one cat. Previous duty stations include Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, Rivanna Station, Virginia, and Fort Shafter, Hawaii. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Indiana University in 2009. During her college years she also spent some time volunteering for the Student Veteran’s Association, and participated briefly in the Army ROTC program. She loves writing, music, gardening, watching documentaries and movies, cooking, hosting get-togethers, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.
Ally Darnell is an Air Force wife of 15 years. She has two beautiful children who are autistic . She was born in Peru and grew up in a military family as her father was a General in the Peruvian army. Her family from her father’s side is Italian and from her Mother’s side is Spanish. She has supported her family proudly from the homefront and holds a certificate in Travel Agency Management. She currently serves as a lead key spouse for the 305th Aerial Port Squadron at McGuire AFB . Ally loves to learn and is a fan of Royal History and decorating. Her family also has a 127 pound Labrador who still believes he’s a lap dog, and they absolutely love him!
LaVaughn Ricci is originally from Michigan and met her husband while they were both students at Cedarville University in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, and she also studied bible, theater, and American Sign Language. She is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language. LaVaughn’s husband commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2004, and the two of them overcame a long-distance relationship through five different duty stations and two deployments before they finally married in 2011. Since then, they have been stationed at seven different installations together, have had four incredible children (two born overseas), and have traveled a decent fraction of the world. LaVaughn loves Jesus Christ, being an Army wife, adventuring with her family, musicals, chocolate, chai lattés, and a quality cup of decaf.
Kathleen is an educator and project seeker from Texas. In her 25 years as an Army wife, Kathleen has taught and coached in six different states and Germany. Kathleen has a big heart for both Army families and soldiers having served as a Soldier for Life counselor in both Germany and Korea. Her favorite part of Army life is her acquired community of battle buddies!
Kathleen loves words (both speaking and writing them) and has contributed to AWN, NMFA, The Fort Hood Sentinel, The Army Spouse Handbook, Inside Abu Ghraib, Memoirs of Two US Military Intelligence Officers, and The Army War College at Carlisle. Her favorite writing piece about being an Army wife is “The Lady in the Grey Suit” which was published in 2015 in Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors (Vol.3). You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, or on her website, Life Is Messy, Love Big. Just like Kathleen, the site is a WORK in Progress!
She also currently serves as Mission: Milspouse Director of Content.
Sara Jane Arnett
Sara Jane Arnett is a seasoned Army spouse of 15 years, mother of dragons (four boys), and considers supporting fellow military families one of her greatest joys. She serves in various leadership roles through military and civilian organizations such as Soldier and Family Readiness Groups, community events, non-profits, and schools.
Sara Jane currently serves as a USARCENT (located at Shaw AFB) Soldier and Family Readiness Assistant and an HHBN SFRG Volunteer; she is an AFTB and Four Lenses Self Discovery Instructor and travels the country delivering keynote addresses, customized trainings and workshops catered to the military spouse.
Sara Jane actively coaches and collaborates with SFRG leaders, volunteers, military and civilian leadership in multiple commands, ensuring all families are taken care of and remain valued. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University and plans to use her education to make a positive impact for military families across all branches.
Scot currently resides in Fort Lee in, Virginia with his U.S. Army active-duty wife, Julia Flores, and their three children, Hunter, Eva, and Acadia. Prior to his wife joining the military, Scot held careers in the corporate, political, and non-profit worlds.
It was at the Close Up Foundation where Scot worked as a Community Outreach Coordinator, striving to increase civic participation among America’s high school students. During his corporate tenure, Scot was a Subcontract Manager for General Dynamics Armament Systems. There he managed supply chain components for various Gatling as well as crew-served weapon systems such as the M2, MK19, and MK47, among others.
Since joining the military family, Scot has served as treasurer for a spouses club, various CYS sports coaching positions, and has become the first male writer for Army Wife Network, now Mission: Milspouse.
Today Scot is involved with developing and operating RadishNFT, web3’s home for NFT knowledge, opportunity, and community. RadishNFT is presently in beta testing.
Justine is a writer. Whether writing in her journal, blog, or sharing a post on social media, writing is a form of meditation and a way to connect her mind and spirit. What she enjoys most is making unique connections with people.
Being a military spouse has allowed her to travel and to be a part of many communities throughout the United States. It has been a privilege to see different cultures and groups within the many cities she has lived during the past 16+ years.
Along with writing, she is a mother of two and a yoga teacher. She is deeply in love with the wealth of knowledge and wisdom she gains from faith, yoga practice, and the community in which you will often see her writing. Throughout the week she teaches yoga classes and pursues her bachelor’s degree in psychology; her weekends are best spent going on hikes or watching movies with her family.
Annie was born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, PA (Go Steelers & Penguins!). Annie met her husband Chris in Alexandria, VA, while he was assigned to The Old Guard. Three PCS’es later, they are living at Fort Drum, New York while preparing for their second baby and another PCS.
Annie’s passion for event planning has led her to volunteer for non-profit organizations, including the AMA Triangle and Innovate Raleigh. She has served in multiple roles for large events including Event Director for Fail Fest Raleigh, Trade Show Manager for High Five Conference, and has managed multiple events for an economic development organization. Annie holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication from Ithaca College.
Annie also serves on the Mission: Milspouse Command Team as Director of Marketing.
Claire is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and has lived there her whole life. For now, at-least. She met her military husband in December of 2019 and got married shortly after in March of 2021.
She and her husband have two kids- Addy who is three (going on sixteen) and Ava who is one. She also has another one on the way. In addition to her kids, she has two furry 70 lb dogs, Winston and Millie.
After attending four different colleges, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in public relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
She currently works at a church in downtown Fayetteville as a facilities communication coordinator. During her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, host get togethers and take the girls to the park.
She has a big heart for others and is always willing to help.
Anastassia is originally from North Carolina, born and raised in Fort Bragg. She is a military child turned spouse, so the Army has been a part of who she is for her entire life. She and her husband have been married for six years and have two boys (2 and 5 years old) and are currently stationed in Washington, Illinois. She is hoping her next assignment will take her back down South next because she does not enjoy snow-filled winters!
She is a stay-at-home mom with a knack for Crocheting, which she actually turned her hobby into a side job. She also enjoys yoga, podcasts, reading, thrifting, and exploring cities and villages. Most of her exploring various places is food related as she loves trying new foods (and finding cool tea rooms) so she can broaden her palate. Anastassia is a fun-loving person who is always ready at a moment’s notice to enjoy life, have fun, and make new friends.
Angel Garcia has been an Active-Duty Army Spouse for 11 years. Her adventures of becoming an Army spouse are not traditional or fairytale by any means. Angel was raising two young children on her own and putting herself through college. Angel pursued her love of ballet and the creative arts while earning her first degree from San Jose State University.
Shortly after graduation, Angel moved to Texas where she met and married the love of her life Christopher, a soldier at Fort Hood. After getting married, Angel earned her BSN from Texas A&M University and is currently working for the DOD at her new duty station in Virginia.
Life gets busy with her blended family of five kids and two dogs. Angel continues to dabble in the fine arts through her writing and her sewing/crocheting projects, but her love of ballet and iced coffee find plenty of space in her life as well.
Tina McRae was born into an Air Force family in Mississippi and primarily raised in Philadelphia, PA. At 17 she met her husband Rashan of almost 27 years, who whisked her away into what is this roller coaster ride of Army life.
They have raised 4 amazing children ages 25, 23, 20 & 19. Tina holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and found her calling in life advocating and caretaking for her son who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. She also has spent many years teaching spouses by hosting coupon and savings classes and showing families how to stretch their service member’s paychecks without sacrificing life experiences.
In 2019 she bought her forever home in South Jersey 30 minutes away from family in Philadelphia while her soldier is on his terminal assignment at JBMDL. Her other passion besides her family is traveling and hitting up theme parks.
An Army Brat, Spouse, and now MOM, Laura holds a Bachelor’s in Human Services Psychology and a Master’s in Education from Marymount University. She has taught elementary school in various roles and locations throughout the globe. During her time as an Army spouse, she held various positions in spouses’ clubs, school PTAs, layette programs, city planning committees, garrison leadership groups, and FRG leadership and senior spouse roles.
She is the daughter of a career Army officer who moved 12 times across the US and Germany as an Army brat. She met her husband at her parent’s house in Heidelberg, Germany. Together, they have 4 children and have moved 11 times throughout the US, Germany, and South Korea. Her husband retired from the Army in 2021 after 31 years of service and now works for the Army in a senior civilian role. To top it all off, her oldest child is now a LT in Germany. Her support of the Army is not over!
Jenny recently celebrated 25 years of marriage to her former Infantry, now MI soldier. As empty nesters they are now able to enjoy travelling in their RV when the military allows. Living in Arizona, and working out of Ft. Huachuca, there is plenty of opportunity for site seeing and deciding how they want to spend their retirement years.
She started her career when she met her husband while at Ft. Benning. They PCS’d to Ft. Sheridan, she changed careers to raising a family then later picked up her career as a Project Manager in the Fitness Industry. She can be found on Instagram @jennymanagofitness and on Linked In: Jenny (Slifko) Manago, PMP
After a recent PCS to Ft. Huachuca, she has become a Certified FASTERway to Fat Loss coach which is where her true passion lies. She is excited to build a community of mil-spouses who can connect via the FASTERway to support each other while we build our resilience and readiness for ourselves and our families. She can be found on Instagram @JennyManagoFitness or Facebook @Jenny Manago.
Sheila Rupp is originally from Michigan and is married to her high school sweetheart. She is a copy editor and writer with almost 20 years of experience.
Sheila has a bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communications and a minor in Professional Writing from the University of New Mexico.
Sheila is a military spouse of more than 18 years. Having spent the first 17 years as an Air Force spouse, she is now a proud Space Force spouse after her spouse transitioned to the newest branch. She serves as a Key Spouse and enjoys volunteering for a local nonprofit arts organization.
In her free time, you’ll find Sheila on hiking trails, curled up with a good book, watching her daughter dance, or traveling the globe. Sheila is currently based in Los Angeles, California, where she lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and dog.
Chelsea is a Transition Specialist with the Serving Spouses Team at Hire Heroes USA. She is married to her husband who is currently Active Duty in the United States Space Force. As a Military Spouse, she has a direct understanding of the unique challenges Military Spouses face and as a former client of Hire Heroes USA, has firsthand experience with their mission. She received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and worked in academic and behavioral health settings before joining Hire Heroes USA in 2019, where she has helped over 550 Veterans and Military Spouses find meaningful employment.
Julie Eshelman is originally from Pennsylvania and met her husband while they were both attending James Madison University in 2009. She has been with him since he was in ROTC and has experienced military life as a significant other and a spouse since marrying her husband in 2015.
Throughout her husband’s career, they have been in every type of duty status within the Army Reserve and are currently enjoying life as an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) family. They have been stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, Scottsdale, AZ, Darien, IL, Fort Leavenworth, KS, and are currently stationed in Schuylkill Haven, PA.
Julie has held careers in film & media, aquatics, and in the nonprofit worlds. She is passionate about advocating for military and veteran families through storytelling and raising awareness. Julie loves exploring new places, especially National Parks with her husband and daughter.
Chaplain Ron Fisher
Chaplain (LTC) Ron D. Fisher Fisher is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a lifetime teaching certification in Secondary Education from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in 1996.
After graduation, Chaplain Fisher taught English and coached football, basketball, and track in the public school system. It was during this time he became a follower of Jesus Christ and committed his life to serving Him. Chaplain Fisher completed a Master of Divinity degree from the Logsdon School of Theology, Hardin-Simmons
University (STSCS) in 2002.
He has served in a variety of assignments, including: the 10th Mountain Division, Arlington National Cemetery, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Currently, Chaplain Fisher is the Communication Sync Officer in Office of the Chief of Chaplains. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, reading, playing music, surfing, and combat sports.
Crystal Niehoff is an Army chaplain’s wife, mother of five, and grandmother to five. In 2000, Crystal and her family began their homeschooling journey, which Crystal now continues with her oldest granddaughter, Lexi. Previously a child welfare worker and former owner and CEO of Army Wife Network, Crystal holds certifications as a birth and bereavement doula and chaplain, along with degrees in child development and business administration.
She is host of the new Military Homeschool Podcast on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network, created specifically for military homeschoolers. Join Crystal and her guests each week as they bring relevant information to equip you, stories to encourage you, and content to inspire you. An avid researcher, history buff, writer, teacher, and self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, Crystal and her family are currently stationed at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.
George Banker is the Operations Manager for the Army Ten-Miler (US Army / MDW), the second largest 10-mile road race in the United States. Since 2003, his responsibilities include the operational planning, logistics, community outreach, design of the course, volunteer recruitment, and support to medical and police jurisdictions.
He is retired from the U.S. Air Force (enlisted grade Technical Sergeant). George received 14 military decorations including the Air Force Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal (1969-1989).
Since 1983, he has worked as a freelance photographer and journalist, senior writer for the Runner’s Gazette, a contributor to Running Journal newspaper, and is the author of “The Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition.” He is an avid runner, with 114 marathons completed.
Ann has been associated with the Army all her life. An Army daughter, she moved with her Army dad to Japan in 1948, then later to France and Germany where she graduated from high school. After college at the University of Georgia, where Ann studied Home Economics, she married her Second Lt. love in 1960, and they started moving—22 times in 28 years.
During those years, protocol and etiquette were strictly adhered to, yet there wasn’t any source of guidance for Army wives. One of Ann’s solutions was to take courses from the Foreign Service Institute and other protocol and etiquette gurus.
Throughout those years, she shared her lessons learned through newspaper articles, presentations at AWAG, and to various wives clubs throughout the Army. Finally, when her husband retired from the Army in 1988 (as a one-star general) and Ann had time to write, she penned The Army Wife Handbook and The Air Force Wife Handbook (selling more than 60,000 copies).
Fate put her in touch with Ginger Perkins who also had a long-standing interest in protocol and etiquette, and Ginger put together a committee of 20 Army spouses to help with that work. Two years later, The Army Spouse Handbook was born.
Ginger thrived as an Army spouse for 38 years as an active-duty spouse, which included more than 20 moves around the world and multiple combat deployments as the spouse of the commanding officer until he retired from the Army in 2018 as a four-star general. She is also the mother of soldiers, with a daughter who is a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with two combat tours to Afghanistan, and a son who is a West Point graduate and engineer.
Ginger’s experience and dedication has been forged through the trials of combat and sacrifice. Ginger knew the Army spouses and families needed encouragement, support, and inspiration. She has had the honor to lead multiple spouse groups and community organizations, each time gaining insights into how important protocol, history, and traditions are to understand why we serve this great nation. Ginger has published several Army spouse advisory and unit social guides, such as Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Spouse Protocol and Social Guide and most recently two books—The Army Spouse Handbook with Mrs. Crossley, and Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Customs, Courtesies & Traditions of the United States Army: A Primer for Family Members.
Michelle was born and raised in Norton, Ohio. She and her husband Jim, married after he graduated from The United States Military Academy, West Point, NY in 1978.
She was very active in volunteering throughout Jim’s 34-year military career. Michelle trained to become a facilitator in a program at The Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, entitled Facilitator, Leadership and Group Skills, and the learned skills she uses to this day.
Michelle helped develop a Company Command and 1st SGT Spouse Course at Ft. Stewart, facilitated there and then again at Ft. Carson. She was a Spouse Club President twice, EUCOM (European Command) in Stuttgart, GER and at Ft. Stewart, GA, and served as a senior advisor on three boards to include one on a joint base at Scott AFB, IL. She was also on a historical restoration committee & on a women’s board at a hospital, in Petersburg, VA.
After Jim retired from Active Duty in 2012, Michelle found ways to continue volunteering in numerous capacities spanning the community, military and beyond.
Michelle and Jim happily raised three children and now have two granddaughters.
Lynda and her husband have been on this Army adventure together for 25 years and counting. They’ve experienced 10 duty stations and multiple combat deployments and mission rotations. She has served the military community in numerous roles throughout the years.
Lynda likes a good challenge and enjoys finding new ways to bring old Army traditions to life with fun and humorous experiences, a little old-school vibe, and a modern twist. She and her husband have shared the richness of Army life with the soldiers and spouses in each of her soldier’s commands by holding tight to the best Army customs.
When she is not volunteering for the Army, Lynda likes to be doing anything physically or mentally active. She particularly loves doing anything outside with her family and dog, Scout, preferably at the beach. She dotes on their two beautiful girls (now 11 and 15) who have both thrived and grown with all the opportunities in the life of an Army “brat.”
Lynda’s advice to any military spouse new or experienced: use whatever adversity comes at you to make you the best version of yourself.
Cowgirl-turned-nomadic navy spouse, Julie Tully writes about life, culture and the places where they intersect. Her quirky lifestyle has taken her around the world, from rural Northern California to Europe and Africa. Julie’s writing has appeared in Legacy Magazine, Legacy Kids Magazine, InDependent, and Your Teen for Parents.
Her memoir “Dispatches From the Cowgirl” was published in 2022 and details the years she lived in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, after spending eighteen years overseas, Julie and her family have embarked on an even greater adventure—rediscovering the United States. You can read more about Julie and her work on her website julietullywriter.com or follow along on her adventures via Facebook and Instagram.
Manda Lynn McVey
Military Resilience Trainer
Manda Lynn met her husband when they were 12 years old. After graduating high school and leading very separate lives, they found their way back around to each other, bringing her into the military community as a late-career spouse. They have one daughter together and she has two amazing bonus kids.
During her almost seven years as a military spouse, Manda Lynn has been named Armed Forces Insurance’s 2022 Fort Polk Spouse of the Year and become a Spouse Master Resilience Trainer, Army Family Team Building Instructor, Holistic Nutrition Wellness Practitioner, Behaviour Change Specialist, Fitness Nutrition Educator, and Yoga Meditation Instructor with over 3,700 volunteer hours under her belt leading military spouses to reconnect with their intuition to achieve overall wellness and resilience through a variety of modalities.
An extremely resourceful person, Manda Lynn finds joy in sharing resources and knowledge with fellow military spouses and the community off-installation. Bringing resilience, wellness, and resources to the military and first responder community is something that comes to her naturally. Turning it into her full-time job has been a dream come true. You can learn more about Manda here.
Military By Owner
In 1999, the owners of MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, David, (USMC,Ret.) and Sharon Gran, were stationed in Germany faced with a move back to the states. This move triggered the idea of linking relocating military families. In 2000, MilitaryByOwner was launched.
Their website offers advertisements of homes for sale or rent near US military bases. Their home advertisers connect with other families in need of living near a military base. Their business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. MBO strives to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email, and office hours. The majority of their staff is either military spouses or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact them by phone, email, or live chat! Check out MilitaryByOwner here and on Facebook.
Just Moved Ministry
Just Moved Ministry is dedicated to the emotional well-being and spiritual growth of women who are uprooted by a move. Through Biblical teaching, resources, and one-on-one encouragement, we prepare, inspire, and equip a woman to trust God with her future, put down new roots, and embrace life in a new community.
Military installations, churches, seminaries, mission organizations, and in corporate settings around the world offer the in-person or online study based on Susan Miller’s popular book, “After the Boxes are Unpacked.” For any military PWOC that chooses to start an “After the Boxes are Unpacked” study, Just Moved Ministry provides the essential materials to launch the study for up to six members at no cost. Learn more about offering the study at your military installation at just moved.org.
Exceptional Families of the Military
EFM is a volunteer-led, 501(c)3 non-profit organization specializing in helping DoD families enrolled in DoD’s Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). They are EFMP families themselves and have multiple online support groups with about 7,000 EFMP family members DoD-wide. EFM provides direct support and support groups, and also works on legislative and policy priorities on behalf of military families. They are part of the Tricare for Kids Coalition and the EFMP coalition, the largest group representing EFMP families. To connect with them, visit their website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Hope For the Warriors
Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post-9/11 veterans, service members, and military families. What began as post-combat bedside care and support has evolved to a national organization that has adapted to ongoing changes within the military community. The organization has stayed the course with our country’s post-9/11 veteran population as physical wounds healed, but emotional wounds still needed care. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 23,200 through a variety of support programs focused on clinical health and wellness, sports and recreation, and transition. For more information, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter , or Instagram .
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, The USO is united in its commitment to connect service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support.
The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Its programs, services, and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, the support of corporate partners, and dedicated volunteers and staff. To join them in their vital mission and learn more about the USO, visit USO.org or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
Ohana Homefront Foundation
The Ohana Homefront Foundation was founded on Oct. 4, 2021, by military spouses Natalie Ealy and Sarah Otto. Both Natalie and Sarah have been milspouses for more than two decades and have a heart for the military community as a whole.
They realized that there is a gap when it comes to mental health awareness and suicide prevention and want to make sure that EVERYONE in the military community is receiving the mental health care they need. The Ohana Homefront Foundation Board of Directors and numerous volunteers are working to bring awareness to help bring an end to suicide within the military community.
Mission: Milspouse is a
501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
EIN Number: 88-1604492
P.O. Box 641341
El Paso, TX 79904