Spouses of U.S. Space Force members are exposed to the same concerns and difficulties that affect regular service members’ families. Spouses and families of service members are often subject to constant relocation around the country, and even internationally, making it hard to settle down in one location.
The U.S. Space Force was a long time in the making
However, the U.S.’s newly formed Space Force branch of the military aims to alleviate some of the hardships associated with being the partner of an active duty member.
The Space Force is currently the world’s first and only space force. Discussions of how necessary it was to have a space-focused branch of the military began in the post-WWII era, after the massive technological advancements made during the 1940s made it clear that space was a near-future frontier. Where there are frontiers, there is conflict.
The idea of space as a defensive front was brought to attention in the 1980s by Ronald Reagan, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the U.S. president signed the United States Space Force Act. This officially made the Space Force its own independent branch of the military, the first since 1947, when the U.S. Air Force separated into its own entity from the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Mollie Raymond is ready to create a family-like culture in the Space Force
Leading the charge on establishing better lives for Space Force spouses is Mollie Raymond. Mollie is no stranger to the military spouse life, having married an Air Force missile launch officer in 1987.
Her husband, General John W. Raymond is now the chief of the Space Force. Before they met, the only time Mollie had moved was when she relocated to the University of North Dakota from a close community in Minnesota, and she was completely unaware of military life. Since then, she and her husband have relocated 16 times.
“Originally I’m from St. Paul, Minnesota, and I was not familiar with the military lifestyle at all. I grew up in the same house on the same street, same friends, community,” Mollie said. Their first move was to sunny California, which was the one she struggled with the most. “Moving to California was a really tough adjustment. But now we have moved 16 times and I would say I absolutely love my military lifestyle.”
Over her 33 year marriage, Mollie has seen the highs and lows of military family life, which has given her a great perspective on how to help others who are going through what she once did.
Mollie believes that the Space Force’s small size (only around 16,000 are expected to serve in the branch) will make supporting military spouses easier. With her position as senior Space Force spouse, Mollie has spent the last year making connections to establish ways to assist spouses and their families.
Much of this has been done virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this has only highlighted how useful the internet is to her work, as she was able to communicate with military spouses from around the world online. Mollie wishes to speak to spouses and families to hear their troubles, worries, and hardships, in order to help her to provide a service to them that works.
There are many systems in place to assist military families already, like helping to find childcare, deal with mental health issues, help with the moving process, and integrate them into their new area, but these services are often unknown and underused. With Mollie’s support, she can guide more families to make use of these extremely helpful services.
Mollie is grateful for many of these services and regrets not using more, as they can make the stressful transition between houses, deployments, and role changes much easier. Eventually, she hopes that she can establish a community for spouses and families, who can share experiences and advice, and support others in their times of uncertainty.
Some of the areas Mollie is particularly focused on are helping spouses to understand and embrace change, which occurs frequently in this lifestyle, and to ensure they maintain self-care, something which many spouses can often neglect.
Using online forums, social media, and direct communication, she hopes to create and foster a big family within the newly formed Space Force.