May 6th is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. According to the Department of Defense, over 50% of active-duty military members and 44% of reservists are married. That’s almost a million military spouses who manage households, care for 1.6 million military children and often work their own jobs, while their spouses are deployed or on temporary assignments!
Steven Robinson, an active-duty Air Force spouse and brat, is one of nearly 2,500 military spouses at USAA and knows first-hand about being a military spouse. Join us in getting to know Steven Robinson, his perspective is refreshing and inspiring!
Tell us a little more about you, your family and how long have you been a military spouse?
When I was born my dad was stationed at Hurlburt Field AFB in Fort Walton Beach, FL. I was raised a military brat, married military and now raise military brats myself. This December will be 20 years that I have been living as a military spouse. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I was born into this lifestyle and really know no other life outside of it.
Where has military life taken you? Do you have a favorite duty station and why?
My life as a brat was fascinating. My dad was stationed at Capitol Hill where he escorted Newt Gingrich when he was a Senator everywhere he went. I used to roam the halls as an elementary kid inside the Pentagon on the weekends while my dad completed work. I went to high school in San Antonio. Randolph AFB has this great little school that is public but feels private called Randolph High School. This is where I finally got to stay in one place long enough to go all four years and have made lasting friendships. We continue to get together and it’s neat to see our kids getting to share life together too. My wife first station was Eglin AFB in FWB, FL. We loved it. We then got stationed to Kadena AB in Okinawa, Japan. Talk about a crazy fun experience. We got to learn and live a new culture for 6 years. My middle child Rebecca just said the other day she moved there when she was two and moving back stateside at 8 years old, she had to learn the American culture. She only remembered the Japanese culture. We got stationed here in San Antonio at Lackland AFB and I just celebrated my 6-year anniversary at USAA.
What has been the most surprising part of living the military lifestyle?
Nothing really surprises me. I have lived my whole life being tied to the military. I think one that many still find interesting is the lack of male spouse leads when it comes to squadrons. I think most female spouses assume that males do not want to be a part of the “wives group” now called “Spouses group”. I do not want to learn to cook or make cute decorations, but I would like to have that interaction with spouses that are tied to my wife’s work.
How do you stay motivated and committed to living a life of service?
It was engrained in me by my dad. He was pretty strict growing up on completing tasks, good grades, excelling in sports, making water into wine. Never settling for less than I deserve when I put the work into it. He never pressured me to go into the Air Force like him and my grandparents. However, I still married into the Air Force lol. Just on the other side... the enlisted side. I have always taken what my father has taught me and tried to put that into practice with my three children. Different era so somethings work, and some things don’t. I love working at USAA where I can serve those who serve just like my family. I know If I am getting taken care of when I call USAA then I want to take care of others like myself. It is very rewarding.
What advice do you have for the new military spouse?
Male or Female… embrace the ride. You will be separated from your loved one, you prepare the best you can but are never ready for it. You will get orders out of nowhere telling you that you are moving your whole family overseas to another country. You will not want to do it at first but embrace the ride. The best part of my life was living in Okinawa, Japan. Leaving family is hard but military friends around you become your family when you are away from home. Lastly, be ok with putting your career on hold at times due to your spouse’s career. A career change might happen a time or two. Continue to go to school, get your education, apply for jobs when you get stationed locations and live your best life. You have experience that 99% of population does not. That is being a military spouse.
What advice do you have for the military spouse experiencing a high tempo operational command such as yourself?
You must learn and adapt and adjust to what works for you and your family. It is easy to get frustrated with the long hours, TDY’s lack of 1 on 1 time or even family time. You and your Spouse must work even harder on supporting each other, being purposeful with your time you do have together. Date nights are key. Fights will come, frustration will come, just don’t go to bed mad. Certain duty stations can really test a marriage. Know going into it that the rings you have on your fingers symbolize you two being together forever. Forever is longer than a deployment, TDY, duty station that has your spouse working 12-14 hour days etc.
What does being a Military Spouse mean to you?
It means a lot to me. I am thankful for the opportunities the military has given me as military brat and now spouse. Being a male spouse is pretty awesome too. Everyone typically expects me to be the active duty member with my military haircut. When I tell people that my wife is in, they go “OOH” and I say why do you say that? My wife is amazing at what she does in the military. She represents our family daily protecting and serving our country. Being a military spouse also means showing love, compassion, patience and more to others. Being a military brat and now spouse has really taught me to love thy neighbor. Be a light in the world where one might not be so bright as the one shining on me.
Join in as we celebrate military spouses all over the world. Wishing all military spouses a very happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day!
About Steven Robinson:
As a military spouse for 19 years, Steven has PCS’d several times. His latest was from Okinawa, Japan to San Antonio, Texas. Prior to living in Okinawa, Steven spent 14 years in Radio Broadcasting. Both as a Promotions Manager for seven different radio station in Colorado Springs, Colorado and an on-air talent for seven years in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. While in Okinawa, Steven worked for a financial services company. Steven then joined USAA in 2016 where outside of his primary responsibilities, he leads USAA’s VETNet Spouse.
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