I’ve been a Marine wife for 16-1/2 years. I’ve moved 5 times and gone through 4 Iraq deployments. A lot has changed in the USMC but not that much. I was convinced that I wouldn’t learn anything in LINKS class put on by MCFTB (Marine Corps Family Team Building). I know the ranks, I’ve forgotten more USMC history than some Marines even know, I can read an LES, I know how to do a PCS move, and I’m all too familiar with the 7 Emotional Cycles of Deployment.
But, as I’m a salty-and-spicy seasoned spouse (the nice way to say I’m old by USMC standards), I wanted and needed to take the LINKS class. It’s a mandatory class if one wants to serve as a command team representative or family readiness assistant/adviser. But more than that, I wouldn’t feel right about personally recommending the class if I hadn’t taken it too.
The LINKS mentors, who are all military spouses (both Navy and Marine), spoke on USMC history and tradition, coping with deployment, moving, and how to read an LES. Incredibly, it was not boring! I know, you’re amazed too. You think a class like this would have to be dull and you’d just look at slides and follow along in your booklet. But NO! We played fun and funny games. This kept everyone listening and interacting, including leading my blindfolded husband across the room to high five one of the LINKS mentors.
Because this was a couples LINKS class, I’m note sure if a chaplain always comes, but the MLG chaplain spoke about ways to communicate and stay connected with your spouse in the months leading up to a deployment and while your Marine is gone.
Our LINKS mentors were engaging and funny, down to earth and humble – they all came from different backgrounds with varied experiences; a true representation of the military spouse community. No one claimed to be a know it all, and they were very patient in their explanations and answering questions.
I only WISH this had been available within my first 3 years of marriage to a Marine. It’s really Marine Wife 101 and provides a truckload of information about the Marine Corps. And yes, even this seasoned wife learned a couple of things.
Most importantly, I now can wholeheartedly endorse and recommend this class to any Marine spouse. However, whether you take the class or not, it’s important every spouse be aware of her rights, privileges and expectations when vowing to love a Marine til death do them part, so do your homework – Go to the DFAS website, learn about Tricare, learn about moving in the military, and so on. Be proactive, be informed, YOU are your own best advocate!
Visit the USMC MCCS website for more information about LINKS.