Angela R., Air Force Spouse

We are an Air Force family that has been serving for 22 years. My husband is Col. Aaron “Bullseye” Ruona, a F-15E Weapons Systems Officer. We recently moved to Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama for our 9th assignment. 

We have been married for 25 years and have 3 children, Alysa (24) is a Pediatric ICU nurse in Duluth, Minnesota, Ava (21) is a Junior at The College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota, pursuing a Social Work Degree, and Alex (16) is a Junior at Saint James High School in Montgomery, Alabama.

As we embarked on our first assignment in the Air Force, my thoughts were to change our perception of being a military family and treating our time not as a “Job”. We decided to go into the military and embrace it as a “Lifestyle”.

In order to learn how to thrive in the Air Force lifestyle,  I joined our Squadron Spouses’ Group, made meals for families, joined playgroups, volunteered to raise funds to support military scholarships for dependents, volunteered at the Base Thrift Shop, organized Airman Cookie Drives and supported our network as a Key Spouse & Key Spouse Mentor which is a vital resource to command teams in an effort to support Air Force Families. 

During these times I was able to meet and form friendships with other families that were stationed with me which ended up being my support system and help navigate this lifestyle during multiple TDY’s and Deployments. These friends are not just friends, they become family. Some of my best memories have been made with other military spouses and our families. We have created our own traditions, traveled, shared hard times and formed bonds that will last a lifetime.  The support and strength that military friends offer is unconditional. 

As military parent, one of our biggest concerns is providing stability and continuity for our children as there is uncertainty in the military. We have always encouraged the children to join youth groups, social clubs and engage in new friendships along the way. There are difficult times for them with moving, missed holidays and birthdays, but in the process, they have learned to embrace living a military lifestyle. It has taught them to navigate unfamiliar places, understand different points of view, and adapt by living a life that requires them to step outside of their comfort zone on a regular basis.

It is easy to look at the difficult obstacles that sometimes come along with serving in the military, but if you changed your perception and put yourself out there, the military life can be quite a gift! 

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