Monday, December 24, 2012

The Mrs Claus Affair

On Saturday and Sunday my little family delivered Christmas cheer to 9 women whose husbands are deployed right now. The Mrs Claus Affair raised $1200 and provided Christmas gifts to 17 women.  It was such a wonderful experience for my family as we delivered gifts to these women who had no idea we were coming. Many tears were shed and much gratitude was exchanged. We thanked THEM for their sacrifice and their husbands service to our beloved country. Here are just a few responses women left us. (Some women weren't home so we left their gifts on the doorstep.

"My name is Jen. I live in Germany and just received some gifts on my door step. I want to apologize for not being able to get to the door. I was talking through skype with my husband who is deployed right now. I googled "Mrs. Clause Affair" and found who you guys are and your mission. It made me cry. :) Thank you for the thoughtfulness you guys bring. I am still very unsure how you got my name and address, but I am going to guess it was from my husband. :) I don't think there is anyone else that knows my address here. I didn't get to tell you thank you when you were here and I am sorry. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas. "

"I came home today to find mystery packages in my driveway from Mrs. Claus Affair… So I googled it..." This is really touching!! Thank you thank you for making my day today by having mystery packages waiting for me!! So very excited to open them on Christmas Day! Very sweet!"

"You delivered gifts to my daughter and I today. I want to say a million thank-yous! This has been one rough week in particular, and you really put a smile on my face. I’m not used to anyone showing they care like this. We have been in the military 17 years and this has been the most caring squadron and group of people here in Germany we have ever been around. You are so sweet and thoughtful."

My friend Annie and her family delivered gifts to the other 8 women and I'm so grateful I have her as my friend and that we were able to pull this off. I'm grateful to each person who helped us raise money and wish each one of them could have seen the women as we embraced them with love and gifts.

This is what the Christmas Spirit is about. Seeking those who need to feel Christ love for them. Happy Holidays to each of you!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

This Colonel Rocks!

I wrote a post last year (that I later deleted) about J's then SJA (Colonel boss). It was no secret that he was not the most desirable SJA to say the least. Anyways, I wrote a post comparing our first SJA to our second one. It was night and day. The first one took the time to know not only J but our family. He made sure office functions happened with families, checked in with me personally etc. Then we came to Germany and had a completely different experience. The SJA had no idea who I was when I walked into the office nor took the time to hold office functions or helped facilitate office camaraderie, etc. I had a reader write me a lengthy comment saying how that is silly to compare the two because Germany's office is much, much larger and it's just plain impossible for an SJA to have the same kind of relationship with me or the Captain's as J's first SJA who was running a much smaller legal office.

Well J has had a new SJA since this summer and....HE IS AWESOME!! Just like our first SJA was. He knows my name, takes time to know our family (the whole office even threw me and two other wives a huge baby shower), holds regular family functions and cares about his Captain's. To top it off J gets a shopping day next week. Yes, his SJA is giving each Captain a free day off to go Christmas shopping!

My faith in amazing SJA's has been restored!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Update regarding assignment choice

One of my readers who just got accepted to the JAG Corps had this to say.

"Also, in case you weren't aware of the changes, they now only provide one (instead of two) options for first base assignment. Also, I guess their policy now is to only give you 24 hours to decide. Thought there may be some others reading your blog who are interested to know that."

So be prepared when they call to make a quick decision.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Mrs Claus Affair

Christmas 2011. My girlfriend and I sat with our families around the dining room table gazing at the what remained of a perfectly fabulous holiday feast. Everything about Christmas had been fantastically memorable; from the nativity skit starring our children to the frantic last minute gift wrapping after tuck-ins. The entire holiday was almost perfect. Almost. We had invited one of our girlfriends to join us for Christmas dinner since she was not only newly wed, but her husband was newly deployed and both their families were an ocean away. "So what did your hubby get you this year?" I asked in my best I'm-nosier-than-you-are tone. "Nothing," she replied. Wait, what? "What do you mean nothing?" "Actually I did get a package from him in the mail this week but it was something he'd bought himself and had shipped home..." What could we say to that? This story has been repeated hundreds of times all over the world by wives of service men deployed for the holidays. Deployments are hard enough on a man. Throw in Christmas and shopping (which most men hate) with hundreds or thousands of miles separating them from malls and families and what is the final Christmas result? A nice phone call. Not a purse or a Kitchen Aid, no massage or two months worth of housekeeping. Men who are fighting for our freedom don't always have the time to make sure Santa remembers the sherpa lined boots or the Brighton charm bracelet. That's where we come in. The Mrs. Claus Affair is dedicated to taking care of the wives of deployed service men during the holidays. We're not out to cure breast cancer (although that would be kind of awesome) or build houses for the homeless, and we don't want to save the world. But we do want to make sure that we teach our children the importance of serving others, especially mothers and wives who are hoofing it alone and, in many cases, have been overlooked. Our goal is to raise enough money through donations and fundraisers to make Christmas something special for some of the women in our local community. We don't need to save everyone, but we'd like to make a real difference this Christmas for somebody. We want women to have something to open on Christmas morning. We want them to feel remembered. Through nominations we're hoping to find a list of women to bring together and celebrate with this Christmas. Not through mass bulk gift giving, but something with a more personal touch. We're more devoted to the experience than the numbers. And if you don't live in our area and want to participate, join our movement by locating a wife in your area and get her a gift to open on Christmas morning. Just sign it, "The Mrs. Claus Affair" and send us a letter telling us about your experience. Anyone can be involved. If you would like to donate or participate in one of our local fundraisers, or if have someone to nominate, please contact us at

You can also vist to donate!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Air Force JAG Core still very competitive

This is a quick post to say hello and that I'm still alive! We found out that we are expecting a baby in the spring. Between being super sick and a crashed computer I have neglected the blog but hope to get on track again very soon.

On another note, it looks like the JAG Core is still very competitive. At the last JAG hiring board only 5% of those who applied were accepted. If you were part of that 5% be very grateful!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SOS = 8 weeks of My Man Gone

SOS is an 8 week course held in Montgomery, Alabama. Not everyone gets selected to go so your spouse may never have to complete it in residence (meaning attend the course in Alabama). Everyone has to complete it in correspondence though, which basically means via computer. For the Enlisted side having taken SOS in residence looks really good and will help them promote quicker. For Officer's it looks good but isn't essential. It definitely won't hurt you if you haven't completed SOS in residence. SOS is a course on the Air Force, it's mission, and leadership training. If you ask me, most days it sounds like the t.v. show Survivor! They complete missions, obstacle courses, team building games and the like. J is enjoying the break but he's ready to get home and start work again (or maybe he says that so I don't think he's having such a great time!).

J has been gone for 5 1/2 weeks now. I miss him terribly. Not simply because he's a STUD and I can't get enough of him as is, but because he's thousands of miles away and we can't talk on the phone often due to the time difference. Deployments and TDY's will happen, be prepared. 8 weeks is a long time and no matter how many spouses you meet in the military that say, "Ah, that's nothing," because their spouses may have deployed for 6+ months and laugh at your measly few weeks; it's STILL A LONG TIME. Sometimes all you need is to feel validated. I am grateful it's only 8 weeks (haha, you know you've been in the military long enough if you say only!) It hasn't been bad except for the missing his physical touch and presence in our lives. Always having people around you that have endured longer keeps you from complaining. Luckily I have great friends who are compassionate, always asking if I need anything. Which I don't but the fact that they care makes all the difference.

Keeping busy is such a blessing. The girls and I went on a 7 day cruise with friends and are headed on another week long vacation in 2 weeks. We'll get home the same day J does. Hey, J specifically told me he didn't want me sitting around all summer doing nothing! I know how to listen to My Man!

Monday, May 14, 2012

JAG hiring board

In one of the most recent JAG hiring boards they had over 700 applicants to review. Out of those 700 the board only hired 25. In the last board to meet the hiring number was greater, which is a good sign. Either way, it's an extremely competitive time to get accepted right now. Try to stay optimistic. For those that recently got accepted...welcome to a grand new adventure!!

Do I have to wait for bar results before they can start the Medical Clearance process?

You can reference my post in November of 2009 regarding the timeline of getting started with the JAG core. J couldn't start the Medical Clearance until he had passed the bar. If I remember correctly, pretty much once they accepted him, contingent on him passing the bar, there wasn't a single thing further we could do but wait.

UPDATE: Looks like you can now be medically cleared before receiving your bar results.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Taking 'Leave' aka Vacation time

J is leaving for 8 weeks this summer. Boo hoo for me. It will be a good break for him. It's more of a laid back course that doesn't involve real cases, clients, legal reviews or court martial. Thus he's looking forward to a break from the norm. With that said I have been a vacation planning machine! Since we'll be losing precious summer time with him, I planned a week for May in France, a week in August for Spain, and 10 days in September in Nice, France and Tuscany, Italy. We are spoiled, I know. But something is constantly looming over me...

Our good friends at our last base had 2 different vacations planned. Last minute, she had to cancel them because her husband had to work. He had the leave approved well in advance but as the date got closer, duty called. Granted he was an ADC and when you're put on a court that gets postponed and there's no flexibility, what can you do? Either way, I get nervous every time I book something that has a horrible cancellation policy. Even though we've been lucky and haven't had a problem thus far I still think how bummed I'd be. Although, I'm the selfish type that would likely still take the vacation without him. I mean, we won't be living in Europe forever! I have to make good use of our time. Heck, I'm taking my kids on a Baltic cruise in June when he's gone! After all, he doesn't want me sitting around at home bored all summer...right??

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yes, Sir.

Even though I'm not the military member, I am still required to respect rank. It's the unspoken rule. Our husbands are judged by what we do and say...lame. I know Colonel's have earned their rank and generally speaking I respect that but not one's that use their position of power to belittle.

Last week, I had to visit the Orthodontist to discuss treatment for my daughter. I felt completely demeaned by this Colonel, as if I was a nobody. As a result I got a little testy, called him out a couple times. After being lectured and thrown jabs here and there for a half an hour, he finally "suggested" I call my husband and have him join us. Great. I get to be demeaned all over again. Maybe he felt if my husband were there I would act different. He could demand respect from J, not me.

Oddly when J arrived the Colonel put on a "happy" act. He was completely different!! It was weird. Don't really know what to think about it but it sucked.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Change in Dental Provider

I don't know much about it...yet. Apparantly Tri Care has changed their provider from United Concordia to MetLife, effective May 2012. Here is a link

Are there many JAG spouses who are male?

I don't have a great answer for this because I have only been at two bases. This is what little information I can share to maybe give you some insight.

Out of the two bases I have personally met roughly 35 JAG's. Out of that number, eight were female. Only four of those female JAG's were married. I, however, only met two of their spouses and that was on a single occurence. Five of the eight had husbands that also worked in the Air Force.

UPDATE: I wanted to add what a female JAG commented (for those who don't read the comments!) Thank you so much and if there are any other readers who have knowledge to share, please do! I always welcome more information/opinions to publish for others to read. More prospective, the better.

--I'm currently a female married JAG. All of the female JAGs in my office (there are roughly 4 active duty) are married. Some have active duty husbands, and some don't. I met quite a few married female JAGs at my JASOC. While we are by no means the majority, there are more JAG husbands out there than you might think!--

Monday, January 30, 2012

Do you pay for Insurance in the AF?

Health Insurance is paid for by the military, if you have Tricare Prime. This means you must see base doctors or doctors Tricare has approved. We have Tricare Prime. In Texas I knew one girl who had Standard because she wanted to use a mid wife to deliver her baby and with Tricare Prime in my area of Texas that wasn't an option. (However over here there are a couple mid wives who work on base). If you opt to have Tricare Standard, then you can choose your own providers but you will pay a percentage. You can call Tricare directly to start your paperwork. It will take some time to process. Here is the link on my blog to their contact numbers.

When I say Health Insurance that includes Vision as well. I've seen Dermatologists, Pain Specialists, Neurosurgeons, Physical Therapists, Podiatrist etc. All covered 100%. It's great!

Dental is different. You can join United Concordia which is essentially a Tricare Dental plan through the military but you do pay a monthly fee. For a family of4, not including J, it costs us $30 a month. You do pay a percentage for work done outside your 2 cleanings a year. I don't remember exactly the percentage but when my daughter had a filling it costs us around $20 if I remember correctly. The active duty member is seen on base and their dental is covered 100%.

There are exceptions!! As a dependent some bases will see you in the Dental Clinic. It just can be extremely difficult to get in. But if you need major work done, like a root canal, and don't want to pay the percentage United Concordia will bill you, then you can try to make an appointment on base to get it done...for free. Some bases may have a policy that they don't see dependents simply because they are understaffed and have a difficult time as is filling their active duty members needs. It's always worth a try to call your base dental clinic to see if they have availabilities. I know several people that would go off base to get their cleanings done but whenever they had any work needed they would wait it out until they could be seen on base.

Another exception for dental is when living overseas! If you are stationed overseas your Dental is covered by the military. Again, it can be difficult to be seen on base but if you do have United Concordia while overseas they will cover more than they would if you lived in the states.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Loan Repayment Program from Law Schools


Law Schools aren't going to hide this information. Ask any law school you are contemplating applying to if they offer any kind of loan repayment program if you chose to work for government or public interest groups. They are forthcoming about these programs during recruitment.

Either way, the Air Force now has a Loan Repayment Program for incoming JAG's. Just search my blog and you'll find the info regarding the LRP on my June 30th 2010 post.

Also, to quickly answer your other questions. Yes, as a JAG you are still susceptible to deployments and long separations. On a day to day bases, we see J plenty. But yes, he could and JAG's do, regularly deploy with the Air Force for 6 months. J also has TDY's (long separations as you put it in your question) anywhere from 1 day to his longest one thus far lasting 8 weeks. In his 3 years of service he's only had a handful of TDY's, which have mostly been 1 week long.

Advice for those seeking JAG position

Question from a reader: Do you or J have any advice for an active attorney applying to JAG? What is JAG looking for in a candidate these days? What should you stress in your interview? Does the interview even matter?

This is what little I know about the board. The board members are always changing. A board will meet and review each candidate. They then rank the candidates and how ever many slots they need to fill, the top will get the acceptance.

This is my opinion on the hiring process. Let me first explain why I've concluded such. First, I reflect on the JAG's we know and what kind of work, if any, they did before becoming a JAG. The majority we know have come right from law school but a few of the types of work some have done beforehand were public interest work, criminal defense, and litigation. The one accessing your application is going to bring their own bias into the process. For example, you may think your resume is outstanding but look at your resume from the eyes of a Colonel in the Air Force who has served his country for 15+ years. He has chosen less pay, hard work, sacrifice, and commitment to the AF. What is he looking to see? What will impress him?

I only know thoroughly what one JAG's resume reflected...J's. His resume from the beginning of his first summer internship in law school never reflected that he wanted to work for a big law firm, or head that route, (even though at the time that is what he wanted) The type of work he did was more along the lines of public interest groups and government related. That showed the Air Force that here's a guy more likely committed to staying in the JAG Corps long term and not just temporarily. Now, that doesn't mean if you do work for private law firms the AF doesn't like that, I am NOT saying that at all. I am only saying what J's impression was after he got accepted into the JAG Corps.

Also in my opinion, if you have anyone i.e. father, brother, sister, grandfather who served in the military, bring that up in your interview! Military honors its own. With that said, YES, I do think the interview matters. If you get a bad write up, then the board is going to listen to the opinion of their own with great regard. J's interviewer gave him positive feedback at the end of the interview and told him point blank that he thought he would be very competitive.

Remember the Air Force has always been very competitive when it comes to being accepted in the JAG Corps. It has become even more competitive lately. We all know this. Good luck and I hope this post helps even just a little because I realize I'm not saying much you all don't already know.