Last time you saw your spouse was probably at BMT graduation. Luckily, during his time at tech school, you two have probably been able to talk on the phone, or if you are one of the lucky ones you have been able to facetime. My husband’s squadron at tech school lacked Wi-Fi and decent cell reception, so we had to rely on spotty phone connection to communicate. 90% of our conversations consisted of dropped calls.
For days leading up to my trip, I was bouncing around the house with joy that in X amount of days I would be holding my husband in my arms again. For about 48 hours he would be all mine. I knew that this would be one of my only trips during his tech school because each trip cost us around $1500 a pop.
When you decide to visit your spouse at tech school, you must take into consideration what phase they are in at the time you visit. The first phase they will go through at tech school is BTP. During this phase they are not allowed to leave the base, they must wear either their ABU’s or PT gear and they are not allowed to go into a hotel room with you. Personally, for us, because each trip cost a decent chunk of change, it didn’t make sense for me to visit him during this time.
The next phase they will be in is called ITP. To reach this phase, they must pass at least two room inspections and clothing inspections. During ITP they will have more freedoms such as being able to leave the base, they can now wear civilian clothing, and they can file the 4392 form which will allow them to stay off base in a hotel with you. Unfortunately, only wives can sign them out for weekend stays. But for all the girlfriends out there don’t let this discourage you from seeing your airman. You can still go and stay, probably best to stay on base and see them during the daytime.
When you visit your husband’s tech school, you can choose to stay at one of the on-base hotels or off base. Personally, my husband and I preferred to stay off base. Because we were both under the age of 25 renting a car was going to be astronomically priced, so we opted to borrow a car from one of my husband’s friends.
After my plane landed, I checked into the hotel and took an Uber to the gate. I was giddy and ready to see my man! Upon arriving at the gate, I nervously asked a security forces officer where my husband’s squadron was located. He told me it was nearly two miles away. Mind you, it was the middle of summer, so it was nearly one hundred degrees and 90% humidity. As I was about to start my trek to my husband the security forces officer was kind enough to offer me a ride.
When we arrived, my husband was barely out of class. I got out of the car and said a quick thank you and prepared to wait outside for my husband. To my surprise, the man got out of his car and told me he would escort me inside where I could wait for my husband. Security forces aren’t as scary as they seem, they are there to protect us, and if you abide by the rules, they will be super nice to you.
There was a flight returning from class at the front of the dorm. I was prepared to wait till they entered, but the MTL told the flight to make a hole to let security forces through. As I walked between the airman standing in two uniformed lines, I felt my cheeks grow warm. I quietly apologized (basically for my presence) as we made our way to the front doors.
I checked in with CQ (the front desk at the dorms) and told them my husband’s name. To my dismay, the girl working CQ that day seemed to know my husband quite well. She proceeded to tell me how much she just loved my husband and how great he was. At that moment I began to feel like an outsider in my husband’s life. I wondered why he hadn’t told me about her. I squirmed in my skin, jealousy and uncertainty creeping up. I didn’t let my feelings show as I plastered a rather fake smile across my face. She then began to tell literally everyone whose wife I was. All I wanted was to see my husband.
It’s normal to feel like an outsider to your spouse’s life when they are at tech school. After all, during their training, you two are living separate lives. The key during this time apart is communication and lots of it. Don’t start needless arguments when they are away but don’t hesitate to voice how you feel about certain things. After speaking to my husband about this very friendly girl, I came to realize that she was just a friend from class. Don’t let your imagination run wild; often there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Your spouse is more focused on learning what they need to learn so they can return home to you.
After the girl at CQ introduced me to people who knew my husband she proceeded to tell me how my husband talked about me all the time. He had even brought some of the pictures of us I had sent him into class. This made my heart beam and confirmed that my initial worries were pointless.
Once he came walking down the hallway toward me, my initial desire was to run up and hug him, but I held back uncertain of what was allowed. Don’t worry, if your spouse isn’t in uniform when you pick them up you can give them a modest hug hello.
We had about an hour till he would be released to leave for the weekend. Unfortunately, for us, there was a thunderstorm and lightning, so the MTL’s called for lightning within five. This means that all airman must stay put wherever they are at for safety reasons. Lucky for us the MTL’s let me get the car we borrowed and pick my husband up at the front of the dorm.
My husband handed me the keys to the car we had borrowed, and I went out to search for it in the parking lot. I am sure you all will get a kick out of the next part of this story. I knew the make and color of the car, but that was the extent of it. I walked up to a car that matched the description and proceeded to get in the car.
Multiple airmen were standing by a truck that was parked next to the car. They all looked at me with odd expressions crossing their faces. One of these airmen peeked their head into the rolled down passenger side window and asked me what I was doing. Politely, I told them that my husband had borrowed this car from a friend. He laughed at me and began to tell me how this was not the car my husband had borrowed and how the car belonged to him. I partially thought he was messing with me, so I insisted that it was the correct car. We went back and forth for a few minutes as I tried to start the car with the keys my husband had given me. As you suspect, the car didn’t start. I quickly took the keys and my purse and said sorry before looking for the correct car. And that my friends, is how I almost stole a car on my visit to see my husband. Let’s just say, not my finest moment.
Once off base, we headed to our hotel to spend some quality time catching up. My husband’s tech school was in Wichita falls Texas at Sheppard AFB. There isn’t a whole lot to do in this rather small town. I highly recommend the Cracker Barrell for breakfast. I suggest staying at the La Quinta located a few minutes off base. It’s clean, updated, reasonably priced, and has an accommodating staff. There is a gun range if you are looking for something fun to do, although it is slightly expensive.
Enjoy this time you get with your spouse while you are in town. Don’t focus too much on the inevitable goodbye you will face at the end of the weekend, instead, be thankful for the time you do get with them. Soon enough they will be back home, and that time apart will feel like it flew by.