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New M:M Writer has a Heart for Spouses and History!

Seven years ago in history, on a chilly day in May, my life changed forever in two important, wonderful ways. First, on that drizzly day, I married the love of my life in a historic country church.

Secondly, our marriage ushered me into the wonderful adventure of life with the Army. So far, our journey with the Army has had its fair share of strange twists and turns, trials and joys, and unforgettable experiences.

Through it all, I find that my delight in being a part of this amazing community has not just survived, but has flourished. 


This is not to say that our adventure has always been easy. When we were first married, I joined my husband at Fort Riley in Kansas, where he was currently stationed.

Next, we experienced Fort Cavazos, Texas, with all of its mixed blessings and trials (those who have been there will understand!) before finding our way to Fort Meade, Maryland.

As I am originally from the East Coast, our time at Fort Meade was a breath of fresh air, partly because we were surrounded by one of my favorite things – history. 


Before marrying my husband, I studied history in college and graduate school, with every intention of working in a museum. While obtaining my degrees, people would often ask if I planned on working as a history teacher, to which I would always reply in the negative and then explain my museum career goals.

historyWell, as is so often the case with Army life, my career plans had to change significantly, given the scarcity of museums around most Army posts.

In an ironic twist, I finally found work as an online history teacher and discovered that I actually did love many aspects of teaching!

It allowed me to talk every week to a captive audience about my favorite topic – the history of our country and the inspiring stories of those who lived in the past.

Now, with the addition of two beautiful children to our family, my teaching days are on pause, but I still have a true passion for sharing my love of history with others! 


To that end, I am delighted to bring posts to you focusing on the history of military spouses.


The spouses who lived in the past endured unimaginable hardships and experienced adventures I can hardly fathom.

For example, Elizabeth Bacon Custer, the wife of the infamous George Armstrong Custer, was nearly swept away in flash floods on a couple of occasions while she was in Kansas, not far from where my family and I currently live in Fort Leavenworth (Leckie, 99)!

The stories I will share with you will span our nation’s history, from the camp followers of the Revolution to more recent history.

The manner in which military spouses survived and thrived despite the challenges they faced provides me with courage, inspiration, and hope. I truly hope that the stories I will share of historical military spouses will encourage your heart as well!

From these individuals, I hope we can find the joy in our journeys, courage to face adversity, humor and comfort in knowing we’re not alone, and a deeper sense of the amazing community of military spouses we are all a part of now. 

Thank you for allowing me to share my passion with you! It is largely because of fellow military spouses that my own journey as an Army wife has been so rich thus far, and I am excited to now be a part of this digital community of spouses! 


*Editor’s Note: Anna Fitzpatrick Layer is Mission:Milpouse’s newest blogger and we are so excited to share the perspective she brings to our community of readers! Stay tuned for more amazing posts from Anna.



Leckie, Shirley A. Elizabeth Bacon Custer and the Making of a Myth. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993.




  • Anna Fitzpatrick Layer

    Anna Fitzpatrick Layer is an Army wife, a mother of two young children, and a historian. Anna met the love of her life, Jacob, while studying history at Cedarville University. Life took her and Jacob in different directions after graduation, during which period Anna obtained an MA in History from Villanova University. During grad school, she and Jacob reconnected and began dating again – even though he was deployed to the Middle East at the time! She and Jacob married in 2016, at which point Anna joined Jacob at Fort Riley, Kansas. In addition to Fort Riley, they have been stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Fort Cavazos, Texas; Fort Meade, Maryland; and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Anna truly loves the adventure of military life and the chance it provides to explore new places! She has found great joy in getting to know other military spouses and in forging friendships by sharing the blessings and trials of military life. In addition to being an Army wife, Anna worked as an online history teacher for several years before becoming a mother. Now, she and Jacob have a three year old little girl, a 6 month old baby boy, and a Golden Retriever who thinks she’s the firstborn child. Anna continues to pursue her passion for history by researching the American Revolution and the Civil War and by collecting (and trying to find the time to read) as many history books as her patient husband will happily move. Besides her love of history, Anna also enjoys playing the harp, baking way too many sweets, studying the Bible, cuddling her Golden Retriever, knitting, and most of all spending time with her family.


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EYB: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

EYB: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Located in Montgomery County, Maryland, Naval Support Activity Bethesda—home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center—is centered in the National Capitol Region. It is the home of support for the hospital as well as all of its tenant commands in their pursuit of excellence in patient care, medical research, and education. Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) is responsible for providing installation support to 12,000 military and civilian employees and their families, as well as 40 tenant units. Bethesda is one of the most renowned communities in the Greater Washington D.C. area.

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