They’ve Had Enough
The situation had become out of control.
Was it really expected that the men would salute her?
There was no way they could agree with that. All because a badge was on her car? She was just a wife.
It wouldn’t be tolerated.
There was a tense silence among the men.
There was nothing pleasant about the situation the men were in.
The situation needed to be addressed.
Margaret Willis, a 52-year-old woman, was fully aware of the pros and cons of being married to a man in the military.
She was not like any ordinary wife, she was the wife of a respectable officer which was a pretty big deal.
Margaret tried to maintain the respect and poise of an officer’s wife at all times.
She simply did not know where this distinction ended, which was unfortunate for her.
It Had Its Perks
Being married to an officer was not without its privileges.
One of the said privileges was that their family was granted the ability to live on the military base.
Corporal Thomas West was a non-commissioned officer, but where he lacked rank, he made up with the discipline and drive.
Meeting Margaret Willis demonstrated exactly how far he was prepared to go to carry out orders.
Things were quite extreme at the Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER).
The winters were cold and ruthless, lasting up to six months and it was clear that this environment had no place for weakness.
Being assigned to gate duty in sub-zero conditions entailed additional responsibilities.
When Corporal West first met Margaret Willis on this deployment, he faced fresh challenges.
A Small Community
The soldiers who lived in JBER were a close-knit community, and they made Margaret Willis feel like she belonged.
She was married to their superior, and she deserved nothing but respect.
She married her husband long before the majority of soldiers enlisted in the army, but Corporal West did not agree with her reasoning.
He believed that respect should be earned.
A Big Man
Corporal West, who had initially been assigned to gate duty in the winter of 2019, stood watch with dignity and obedience.
West was a towering figure, standing 6 feet tall and built like a machine.
When Margaret arrived at the entrance on his first day, he was taken aback by her demeanor and expectations.
West permitted Margaret through because she had an officer sticker on her ostentatious SUV, assuming she was a friend or relative of an officer.
That day, the bitter winter was stinging, and West had been guarding the gate all morning, needless to say, he was not in the mood for theatrics.
Instead of continuing on, Margaret came to a halt, rolled down her window, and focused a deadly gaze on West.
There Was No Officer Present
Having dressed in black, wearing dark glasses, and having a pompous attitude, Margaret demanded to know why she no longer received salutations as a wife of an officer.
The officer badge, according to West, signified one’s rank, not their vehicle. He couldn’t salute because there was no officer present.
Margaret was furious now, and she marched straight to the administration building with one goal in mind.
The next day, West and his squad were summoned by the commanders, who informed them that saluting cars with an officer’s sticker was now necessary, regardless of whether there’s an officer present or not.
West, enraged by the injustice, determined to avenge Margaret.
He didn’t worry about the dangers because this was now an issue of pride.
West had an unauthorized meeting with his unit to create a strategy for demonstrating to Margaret why ranks were so important to them.
It began with tiny annoyances: guys leaving their stations and wandering around the parking areas, saluting for seemingly inconsequential reasons.
When people started noticing, it was time to get his revenge.
It Was Time For The Next Step
As Margaret got into her car the following week, she found herself suddenly surrounded by West and his men.
The men all wore icy expressions on their faces and refused to move an inch.
With his crew cut, hardened jawline, and intense expression, West looked the most menacing.
Orders Were Orders
Margaret’s entitlement soon abandoned her, an expression of fear as she jumped out and ran off towards the barracks.
Returning with an officer who demanded answers.
They explained—discipline codes stated an officer’s salute must be returned before being dropped.
They were, therefore, duty-bound to wait for the car sticker to salute them back before they could leave.
She Wasn’t Letting It Go
The look on Margaret Willis’s face as the officer at her side struggled to suppress a grin at the mens’ explanation was priceless.
They felt that their interpretation of the rules was logical.
Margaret obviously did not. Once again, she marched off towards the administration office—only this time she returned with her husband.
Thought They’d Won
After pulling their prank and trying to get back at the privileged wife.
The men in the unit were feeling pretty good about themselves. They high-fived each other and started to celebrate.
But just as the soldiers thought they’d won the psychological warfare with the military wife, they saw someone they didn’t expect walking up the runway.
He had a mean look in his eye that spelled danger for the men.
Even though he was far away and they wouldn’t normally be able to recognize his face from that distance, they could see who it was by the way he walked. It was an intimidating march that they had seen before.
The grins that they shared now dropped from their faces.
They recognized the man walking on the tarmac as none other than their superior.
But that wasn’t all he was.
Going Straight To The Top
This time when the disgruntled woman marched to the administrator’s office, she decided she’d get the big guns.
She wouldn’t just complain to the front desk and have it feed up the ranks.
She would go to the source of all the power in the military base.
In fact, she could have gone there from the start.
Highest Ranking Officer
Normally, a civilian wouldn’t be able to just waltz into the highest ranking man’s office.
But she had a trick up her sleeve that none of the men could have anticipated.
Once they realized what was going on, there was no going back.
They’d already had their fun with their prank by the time the most important man at the military base caught wind of it.
Walking Straight In
Margaret walked straight passed the reception and all the way to the colonel’s office.
She didn’t even knock on his door before entering.
Most civilians would get kicked out of the base for just that alone.
The colonel looked up from his computer and saw Margaret fuming in front of him.
But after she told him what had happened, he saw red.
Walking Up The Lot
The colonel got up out of his chair and disregarded his important work to figure out what was going on.
He stomped past Margaret and started the long walk all the way down to the lot.
But there was a very good reason why he gave Margaret the time of day.
Something he wouldn’t do for just any normal civilian in his base.
The colonel was, in fact, Colonel Willis, Margaret’s husband. She lived on the base with him and had a chip on her shoulder because of it.
Now that she had been scorned by the other soldiers, she ran straight to him.
He couldn’t believe what she had told him. How could his own men do this to his wife?
But that was before he had the whole picture.
A Harsh Lesson
As Colonel Willis approached the lot, his expression was imposing.
In full regalia, the men immediately saluted him and he duly returned it—a little stiffly.
Margaret wore a look of bemusement as her husband demanded answers.
Explaining again, Colonel Willis turned to his wife after. The look on his face wiped the smug grin off her face.
Colonel Willis’ face flushed red with embarrassment now that he had the full story laid out in front of him.
It appeared to the men that she had embarrassed him greatly and wouldn’t side with her this time.
Margaret’s smug grin turned to a look of surprise when she saw how red her husband was.
He was not happy about the situation and she knew it.
Colonel Willis wouldn’t make any exceptions, even if it was his own wife.
He told her to go back and wait in his office while he spoke to his men.
Margaret couldn’t even look at him and kept her gaze on the ground.
Corporal West could tell that she knew she wouldn’t get away with her treatment of he and his men.
But what would happen to them?
Addressing The Situation
She shamefully headed back towards his office while he let out a sigh.
He then turned to his men to address the situation. He looked tired and drained, he hadn’t probably gotten any sleep just like his men.
He looked at all of them and back at his wife who was walkign away.
It was like there was an internal struggle on who to side with.
The men had no idea what to expect from their commander in chief.
Would they still face repercussions for their actions? Dozens of thoughts raced through their minds.
None of what they were thinking was positive.
Would they get latrine duty for a month? Or even worse, a dishonorable discharge.
Couldn’t Get A Read On Him
He rested his gaze on each of the men slowly, as if to unsettle them.
He was testing their mettle to see if any of them would show weakness.
But none of them budged an inch, they were the strong men he had trained and gotten to know.
They couldn’t get a read on what their superior was thinking.
Not one of them could have expected what happened next.
The colonel did something that none of his men could have anticipated.
He looked at them and opened his mouth.
But what they heard was something they never had before.
It was an apology.
He told them that he would have a talk with his wife and she would never disrespect a military rank again.
A New Arrangement
After apologizing to his men, Colonel Willis dismissed the men and turned on his heel.
He walked back to the administrators office to have a word with his wife about the importance of rank.
When he got there, he told her exactly how things would work on the base from now on.
Hopefully, it would spell the end of the recent mishaps.
Rules Were Rules
The entire saga caused quite a stir around the base.
Now, the top brass saw sense and sided with Corporal West and his unit.
They reverted their views on saluting the rank of a car and left it exclusively for officers.
Thankfully, Corporal West could know enjoy things just as they were before the incident.
But what about Margaret?
Margaret Willis still resided on the base with her husband.
But after their chat, she understood that she couldn’t use his rank as a way of forcing military personnel to salute her.
These days, she can be spotted driving her own car.
It’s a little hatchback as humble as her attitude is now.
A Sinking Feeling
Margaret had always been proud of her husband because he was a military officer who had dedicated his life to serving his country.
And now she felt ashamed that she had embarrassed him in front of his colleagues.
Although she was a supportive wife, she had always felt a bit left out of the military community, as she was not a service member.
On Second Thought
Looking back, Margaret thought that when her husband was deployed, she shouldn’t have taken matters into her own hands.
She realized that insisting that the military personnel on the base greet her when she was driving her husband’s car is quite an egoistic character.
She wanted to feel like she was part of the community and thought there were better ways to do it than that.
The poor lady realized the predicament she must have put the Top brass in and felt even more flustered. Margaret remembered how the other military wives would whisper about her as she walked by, all because of her causing unnecessary issues on base.
All the other wives sided with the personnel.
Their decision humbled Margaret, and she realized that she had made a mistake.
She felt bad for causing any issues on base, and she decided to apologize to the top brass and the other officers.
She arranged a formal dinner and invited all of them, along with their significant others.
She wanted to show them that she was sorry and that she wanted to be a part of the community.
You Are Cordially Invited
The military staff was impressed by her fancy dinner, and all was forgiven.
Margaret had made a mistake, but she also showed that she was willing to make amends.
But would this dinner party be the perfect apology?
She also used the opportunity to network with the other military wives about starting their own support groups.
Setting It Right
The military wives were interested in Margaret’s idea and listened intently as she explained her plans for the military wives’ support group.
They all shared similar experiences being married to men in the army, and they could help each other through trying times.
Margaret had always felt alone, but now she knew she had a community of other military wives who understood her.
Army Wives Unite
The support group was a huge success, and it helped many military wives navigate the challenges of being married to a service member.
They shared tips and advice and were there for each other during deployments and other trying times.
They also made special lunches and dinners for their families.
And organized fun sports days to raise money for charities.
Finally Fitting In
Margaret was proud of what she had accomplished.
She apologized for her mistake and created something that would help many other women.
She felt like she had indeed found her place in the military community.
She felt a bit better about what she did.
But were the other army wives genuinely nice to her?
Happy Wife, Happy Life
Her husband was proud of her as well.
He had always known she was a strong woman, but now he saw her as a leader.
He became popular with other officers in his rank.
He was happy that she had found a way to be a part of the community, even though she was not a service member.
Fight For The Top
The support group grew, and it soon had members from all over the country.
Margaret was invited to speak at conferences and events, and she became a respected leader in the military community.
But not all the ladies were happy with her accomplishments.
One of the other military wives thought that Margaret had had her time and wanted to be the new chairperson of the military wives’ support group.
You Can’t Please Everyone
Margaret knew that something like this was bound to happen.
Even women had issues with leadership and power. She laughed at herself as she thought about how petty she also used to be.
She had started the group to help other military wives, but it had also helped her.
She had found her place in the military community and made a difference.
A Good Run
As time went on, Margaret’s husband retired from the army, and they started a family.
She was still a part of the support group but had also found a new purpose in life.
She had always been proud of her husband, but now she was also proud of herself.
She had made a difference and found her place in the world.
Carrying The Torch
The support group continued to thrive, and it helped many military wives navigate the challenges of being married to a service member.
Margaret was proud of what she had accomplished and knew it would help many other women for years to come.
She even drafted a document that the chairperson would be changed every three years by democratic vote.
The women were pleased to hear this and knew they would get a chance if they qualified.
It was a small gesture, but it greatly impacted the military community.
Margaret had shown that she was willing to make amends, and she had also shown that she was ready to help others.
She had indeed found her place in the military community and was the most loved of all the military wives.
Thank You For Your Service
Margaret and her husband lived a happy life, and she continued to be a leader in the military community even after she resigned from her chairperson position.
She was still an active member of the military wives’ support group and continued to assist on the board at the military base.
Margaret is an example of strength and pride in the American woman, and we thank her for her service.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination.
Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.