MCAS Beaufort, S.C. --
A 21-year-old girl married her high school sweetheart and they built a life together hundreds of miles from home. Her best friend, her rock, her everything comes home one day with news of an upcoming deployment to a place they might not come home from.
This story is all too common in the military and for the first time ever, there is a centralized resource for reading material to help with military lifestyles.
Knowledge and assistance is now available through a compilation of titles put together by The First Lady of the Marine Corps, Bonnie Amos, wife of Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, entitled "The First Lady of the Marine Corps Recommended Reading List." To promote this event the Air Station Library designated a section of the library to the titles within the reading list, Nov. 9.
"Mrs. Bonnie Amos is going around to several of the larger bases to perform the actual ribbon cutting ceremonies, but she needed a little help from all of the smaller bases," said
Karen Murtha, spouse of Col. Brian Murtha, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, "so we cut the ribbon here at the Air Station for her.
"Although all of the books on the list are available for purchase at any Post Exchange, having it available free of charge will make it much more accessible to all."
The collections of books span a variety of topics that the military family will face.
"Marines have the sergeant major’s and commandant’s list of reading to go to for knowledge and professional growth, but this new reading list will provide a wealth of knowledge for those Marines’ spouses and children," said Becky Cederholm, spouse of Col. Michael Cederholm, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 31. "There is something on the reading list for everybody, there are books geared toward spouses and children covering a wide variety of topics."
"There are even books on dieting and other books to help with caring for yourself," said Murtha. "It is not always about your Marine, spouses should ensure they are taking care of themselves, as well as, making sure that they and their families are healthy."
"Everything from how to books to daily devotionals and books on how to navigate through Tri-Care and the Exceptional Family Member Program, as well as, books on general Marine Corps knowledge," Cederholm added. "This reading list is meant to create healthy relationships, healthy marriages and healthy [families]."
The reading list will also help bridge the generational gap between seasoned and fresh spouses to foster a mentor-like relation between the two groups.
"The familiarity that comes with that commonness of having literature set out by the First Lady for all of us to read creates a bond and a foundation for spouses to pull together and understand one another better," said Cederholm. "We are always seeking a common ground and this will help."
Communication between spouses can allow them to have someone who understands their situation to assist them through some hardships they may face. Fostering better communication between Marine Corps families helps to ensure family readiness.
"Spouses should always try to reach out, it is really easy just to get in your shell and stay in it," Cederholm said. "We have all done it and it is never good.
"Even if you are not social, reach out. At least now there are these books that you can read and discuss with other spouses," Cederholm continued. "There is planning being done to put together book clubs, which can help spouses reach out and become involved in family readiness."
Family readiness directly affects the Marines fighting America’s battles wherever they may be throughout the world.
"We are always looking for something we can use to better communicate with other spouses," Murtha said. "We are not really from the technology age and younger spouses are, so giving them a "how to" book may seem a little old fashioned for them, but all of these books can be found and downloaded on any E-reader.
"It gives spouses something to sit down and talk about and share their experiences with each other."
The First Lady’s reading list can now be a centralized hub of knowledge for spouses to read and discuss amongst themselves and implement in their lives.
"We are very hopeful for the list to grow, with better books being added and have the list take on a life of it own," said Cederholm.
"A lot of the books on the list are based on the army life, it should now be a goal for our Marine spouses who are writers to come forward and tell the story from a Marine Corps spouses’ view," Murtha said.
"We all have to reach out," said Cederholm, "Bonnie [Amos] cannot do it all.
"We have to be the hands that reach out to where she might not be able to, this reading list is another great tool to help us do just that."
Titles are currently available at the Marine Corps Exchange and at the Air Station Library.