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6 Degrees of Milspouse Separation

So you just PCS’d (moved away) from your happy little home with all your best battle buddies to your new unsettled home where you know no one.

Now what?

Or, you just got married to the military this past summer, and now you’re in a foreign land, which doesn’t necessarily mean Germany, Puerto Rico, or Japan.

Now what?

Even the most social people feel a little lost and many shy newbies write us or ask online, “how do I meet people?” It may seem daunting. It always did for me. But, it doesn’t have to be.

We really are closer to one another than you may think, and there is a reason we call our military spouse community a “family.” In fact, you may have a proverbial sister (or brother) or distant cousin living among you in your new community and not even know it.

How do you find out? Well, let’s have fun and make it a game.

It’s probably a toss-up on whether or not you know “The 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. It’s where you link any Hollywood actor or actress (living or dead) to Kevin Bacon in six degrees or less.

You know Kevin Bacon, though, right?

I like his more military-type roles in A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, My Dog Skip, and the HBO movie Taking Chance. Personally, I’d like to know my “Bacon number” or degrees of separation between him and me.

Degrees of separation means the number of people between the first and last person in the chain. Some believe that there is no more than six degrees of separation between any two people on earth.

My proposal is this: that for any milspouse you meet, the degree of separation between friends at your old duty station and new friends at your new duty station could be six, but it’s probably less. And even if this is your first duty station, I’d bet there is someone around who knows someone –who might know someone—from your home state or even hometown.

I don’t know about you, but my interest is piqued when I find out someone I’ve been talking to is from my region of the country, let alone the same small town. It’s not on purpose. It’s not that I don’t give southerners a chance, or those Californians, but I do honestly linger and chat more if I meet someone from the Midwest vs. Southwest.

For example, my mind was totally blown this past spring when (through our blog coordinator) I met a milspouse blogger, ten years my junior, from my high school, who was best friends with a much younger sister of a good friend of mine. Two ladies “originally from upper Michigan” found their way to the same space and time at Fort Leonard Wood and it helped me feel just a little bit less alone, more connected to who I really am and where I came from.

That “it’s a small-world” feeling is one that can be experienced when you meet someone who knows your FRG leader from the last installation, or your running partner from two installations ago, or your babysitter from your first duty station. These relationships are something to connect over.

It makes sense; your normal is built on what is familiar to you. If you meet new people who knew your old people, you attribute those warm feelings and memories to the new people, and it really helps break the ice.

So, my advice?

Make it a game. Think of those people you hung out with before, activities you enjoy, and places you love and purposely bring those up. Ask the person tying their shoes next to you in the locker room if they have ever been to Fort X, Y, or Z. Where do they call home? Who are some key people in their military life? And then, figure out the degrees of separation. They might call you crazy, or they just might join in and play along.

What’s the smallest degree of separation you witness? What connections surprised you? Report back and check to see if anyone has a “small-world” story as crazy as you.



  1. Melissa Hardy

    We were stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and I found out an old high school friend of mine that I had lost track of was stationed there too! I found her on facebook, we met up, and it turned out our kids had classes together in the same middle school….all the way on the other side of the world! A new friend I made at our newest duty statione (APG, MD) was college roomates with an old friend from our first duty station, Ft. Campbell. It’s so insane how small the military world is 😀

  2. Kate Laing

    I met a now friend via our kids shortly after we PCS’d. One day new friend and I took our kids to the beach and I tagged her in a FB post. Before I knew it a comment popped up from a friend from my previous duty station, “How do you know each other?” Turned out my new friend and old friend had been friends for years after being stationed together a few duty stations ago. Oh and best part? Not the same service! They are both Army and we are Navy.

  3. Mary O. Spangler

    I’ve met people who have gone to the same college I did, and who are from the same state I am. not quite a small world, but pretty darn incredible when you can talk to someone you’ve never met before and they know some of the same people you do!

  4. Jenny O

    A friend posted this last night. Did you know Google has a function where if you put in an actor’s name followed by “Bacon number”, it will give you that actor’s separation from KB.

    Facebook has changed the way we connect with friends and how we find old friends. I’m always amazed at how small those degrees really are.

  5. Starlett Henderson

    My recent blog…which is about how small this world really is AND reveals my not-so-secret crush on Kevin Bacon.

  6. Star

    Yes, I read that about the Bacon app. I always wondered “why Kevin Bacon,” surely there are people more connected then him.

    I think facebook and one other study has shown the average connection is more like 4-something. It is amazing how small the world feels in relation to how large it really is.

  7. Cerani

    We are getting ready to pcs to Fort Bragg and it just so happens that a good friend of mine is also stationed there. I worked with her while pregnant with my first child and also helped plan her wedding but haven’t seen her in 3 years.


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