Coming together in tragedy

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Ashley Conner
  • 39th Information Operations Squadron
Growing up in a military family there are a lot of things you become accustom to - understanding that PCS meant pack up your toys, standing up for the national anthem before a movie and showing your ID card before you buy groceries are some of the things military families find normal.

One aspect of military life that is always present to me is the spouses club.

My mother, who has served as the president of a officers' spouses club, cooked meals for families who just had babies, prepared welcome baskets and hosted spouses coffees.

On more than one occasion my brothers and I surrendered family meals at our dining room table for dining-out seating charts and table decorations.

I always thought of the spouses group as a nice social event and something fun to do. I never considered its importance and true reason for existence until the recent F-15C crash that took the life of our good friend 1st Lt. Ali Jivanjee.

There are no words that can soothe the pain that the family, the fighter community and the Air Force is experiencing.

It is remarkable how the wives of the 58th Fighter Squadron sprang into action as quickly as the pilots did. This group of intelligent, sophisticated and compassionate women came together for our friend and for each other. Meals, hugs, tissues, child care and phone calls of sympathy were offered up in overwhelming quantities not just from the 58th FS wives but also from the 60th FS wives who share the same pain and loss as the rest of the 33d Fighter Wing.

As another wife and I drove to be with our friend who has suffered the greatest loss of all I called a veteran of the spouses group, my mother, to ask her what to say and what to do. She shed tears with me over the phone and shared wisdom that only after 30 years in the Air Force one could provide. Passing wisdom from one spouse to another.

The profession of arms expects its members to willingly risk their lives while performing their professional duties. That doesn't make it easy. The support the spouses group can provide to its members - both men and women - is unlike any other and I know the wives of the 58th FS can attest to that.