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You’re Invited: Military Protocol and Traditions Explained

“I cast my lot in with a Soldier, and where he was, was home to me.” — Martha
Summerhayes, 1873, Army Spouse

Life with the Army, as you may know, is often exciting; yet it can be challenging and sometimes stressful. Even though Army spouses are busy with their families and careers, there will still be occasions when you will want to know the protocol and etiquette expected of everyone—for example: parades, changes of command, receptions, New Year’s receptions, balls, dining outs, coffees, and entertaining.

The Army Spouse Handbook, recently published, covers all of those topics in depth and more. It’s a 440-page paperback book that has been updated for the 21st century spouse. It describes situations that you may encounter as an Army spouse, irrespective of your spouse’s rank or assignment. This book is not meant to be read from cover-to-cover, but kept handy and used as a reference book when you need to know what to expect in social situations.

Ginger Perkins and I, along with a committee of twenty experienced Army spouses, worked for two years to update this book and are confident that you will find the information useful for your entire life as an Army spouse. As we go forward blogging, we will talk about the subjects covered in the book and answer any questions you wish to submit.  We hope you find the information we will provide of interest and useful. Our goal is to help Army spouses embrace and understand Army protocol and traditions and to feel comfortable and empowered by that knowledge. We look forward to taking this journey with you as we are the wind beneath your wings!

GINGER’S SPICE OF LIFE (traditions-explained section):

The cover of The Army Spouse Handbook is blue, in keeping with the theme of The Soldier’s Blue Book: The Guide for Initial Entry Training Soldiers. General George Washington tasked Baron von Steuben at Valley Forge with writing an instructional guide, commonly referred to as the “Blue Book” for future generations of Soldiers.

The emblem on the front cover of The Army Spouse Handbook represents the United States Armed Forces insignia, patterned after the Great Seal of the United States. The American eagle, with his right talons holding an olive branch and his left talons holding arrows, represents self-reliance. This combination of olive branch and arrows is meant to convey a desire for peace but the ability to wage war. The number of leaves on the olive branch and number of arrows symbolize our nation’s thirteen original states.

We look forward to sharing the Army’s great customs and etiquette tips with you in our future blogs!

Author

  • Protocol and Etiquette Team

    Ann Crossley and Ginger Perkins are the authors of "The Army Spouse Handbook," the go-to guide for the 21st century Army spouse. The 440-page book describes situations that you may encounter as an Army spouse, irrespective of your spouse’s rank or assignment. The book is not meant to be read from cover-to-cover, but kept handy and used as a reference book when you need to know what to expect in social situations. Michelle Hodge, a seasoned spouse, has taught protocol and customs classes and continues to be an advocate for soldiers and family members. Lynda Smith, the newest member of the Traditions and Protocol team, 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.

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The Days Are Long as a Milspouse

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