We met on an American Airlines flight at 30,000 feet! John was finishing up law school in Dallas; I was traveling the world and living in New York City. After graduation, John had an Army commitment and was assigned to Seoul, Korea as a JAG officer. But before he left, he came through NYC, and we had our first date.

The next was more than a year and a half later. By then John was assigned to 5th Corps in Frankfurt and I had moved to Nashville. He was able to get my new address and wrote to me. I had plans to visit friends near London. He followed me there. We toured the English countryside, France, and Switzerland together. It turned into a whirlwind romance. We were engaged two months later and married two months after that!

I quit my job, moved to Frankfurt and began to follow John as an Army wife. That was my first of many moves over a 22-year career in the Army. It was a busy life with two sons, and a peripatetic lifestyle, but I always made it a point to pursue my own interests as well.

Each place we lived offered an opportunity to hone my skills: a stent as a writer at the Frankfurt Chronicle, Advertising Coordinator at a business in Charlottesville, Basic Skills instructor in New Jersey.  By the time we settled in Washington, DC for the third time, I had the credentials and confidence to land jobs at U.S. News & World Report where I spent 12 years, another couple as a government contractor, and now at AAFMAA.

My military exposure and experience proved to be invaluable.  The point is that no matter where your military life takes you, seize the moment. Develop your own interests and make them work toward a career for you. You never know where you’ll end up or what opportunities await; so, be prepared. Enjoy your Army career but have your own too.


About the Author

Mary Lu is an Army Spouse and the Member Services Coordinator at AAFMAA.

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