Often the heart of every military connected family is the military spouse. She (or increasingly more often lately He) is the one who stays behind, holds down the fort, keeps things together and is responsible for…
Just about everything!
This position is unpaid, requires absolute commitment and focus for 24 hours a day and often includes expectations which have been institutionalized within the military organizational structure.
Arlene (Army Issue) Crandall was an exemplar for individuals in this role as can be seen in her Obituary below.
Like most military spouses, for years her work took place in the background. When her husband was invited to speak or present she made sure everything and everyone was ready, had prepared the speech, kept an extra copy available if needed, made sure the itinerary was properly laid out, had picked out the appropriate clothing for the venue and then stood or sat beside her husband as he would present and in every speech or talk he ever gave he never failed to thank her for her tireless dedication and service.
When the cameras were off and the lights were down she was meeting with groups of military spouses, listening to their concerns and hardships, sharing coping mechanisms, budgeting ideas, child rearing tips for highly mobile families and affirming to them that their sacrifice was worth it and important.
It was only after a lifetime of service that her constant work with military spouses began to receive attention. She was named both an Honorary General by the U.S. Army and an Honorary Admiral by the U.S. Navy
for her selfless work helping military spouses dealing with the demands of military life. One side benefit is that the world now could recognize (in much the same way as those who knew her already knew)… she outranked her husband the Colonel in the command structure.
In 2008 she was inducted into the Order of Our Lady of Loreto. a Joint venture between the Army Aviation Association and the U.S. Army Aviation Center which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated conspicuous contributions to support the Army Aviation family and community and who have generously given of their time and energy in support of not only their own family, but those Aviation families within their local Army Aviation community.
She also was inducted into the United States Armor Association Order of Saint Joan D’Arc which honors military spouses who voluntarily contributed significantly to the morale, spirit, and welfare of Armor or Cavalry units and communities. Such voluntary contributions had to exemplify the spirit of the Order’s namesake in such service to others.
Her work with military spouses largely inspired this work and will continue to serve as an inspiration moving forward.