Women of the Military

Being Enlisted While Married to an Officer

Episode Summary

What are the dynamics of being married to an officer while serving as an enlisted member? Well, it is complicated. Kayla and her husband met at tech school and have served in the National Guard together, but her husband made the switch to Officer and when they were in Arizona people knew them. But then they moved to Florida and into the Reserves. Because of that they get a lot of strange looks and have dealt with being part of the gossip and rumor mill. Hear Kayla’s story of joining the National Guard because she wanted to serve, but didn’t want to move around the country every couple of years.

Episode Notes

Enter the giveaway this week!

Why not join the National Guard?

Kayla was encouraged by her step-father to join the military, but she didn’t want to serve on active duty because the idea of moving every few years didn’t sound appealing to her. That is when she learned about serving in the Air National Guard. Being in the Guard would allow her to serve in the military, but would also make it so she wouldn’t have to move. She enlisted in February and started drilling waiting for her school slot.

She had hoped to start boot camp in the summer and complete her tech school in the fall so she would only miss one semester of school, but her bootcamp dates ended up being in September and the six month tech school that followed led her having to miss an entire year of school. But she met her husband at tech school. They started dating and both were serving in the Guard and were able to date via long distance and right before their one-year dating anniversary were engaged.

Moving to be with her husband

Because her husband was in another state and was working full time in the Guard unit she decided to move from Nevada to Arizona. She had to go through a number of steps to be released from her Guard unit and it took a few months to get all the paperwork completed and signed. Once she had the release, she worked with her husband’s unit to get assigned there and was able to make the switch fairly seamlessly.

Mental health

One of the struggles she faced in her time in the military was being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She was also in a unit where an officer committed suicide. The suicide changed the unit, but also made it easier to be open and honest with her struggles. She attributed having a supportive environment as one of the ways that she was able to find help during her mental health journey. There are a lot of misconceptions about mental health and she is passionate about sharing her experience and helping to break down the stigmas.

Married to an officer

Her husband also went from enlisted to officer to become a pilot in the Air Force. She finds that sometimes people have questions about how she and her husband can be married since she is enlisted and he is an officer. But people often ask other people what is going on instead of confronting them directly and this can lead to gossip and un-needed drama. She says that it has been a balancing act and she has had to learn and adjust course as different situations arise. But overall, she loves being a military spouse and loves continuing to serve in the Air Force.

She encourages young women to do their research if they want to join the military. She didn’t know their were options outside of active duty and almost missed her chance to serve. She also recommends talking to someone who is not a recruiter to help steer them in the right direction. If you are looking for someone to talk to or have questions please feel free to reach out to me or check out my free “Girls Guide to the Military.”

Connect with Kayla:


Website: kaylarak.com

Mentioned in this episode:

Girls Guide to the Military

Related Episodes:

From Active Duty to National Guard – Episode 10

When Public Affairs Changed – Episode 67

Serving During Desert Storm – Episode 57

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Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman  00:00

Welcome to Episode 101 of the Women of the Military Podcast. This week my guest is Kayla Balserak. She has been in the Air Force for eight years and she first enlisted into the Air National Guard but transferred into the reserves in 2019. She is an all-source analyst. In her civilian life. She is a certified personal trainer with a small business. You can learn more about her in the show notes. And then today's interview, we talked about both her time in the National Guard and the Reserves and why she made the switch, and also about being married to a service member and both been in the National Guard or Reserves. It's a little bit complicated, so you have to come and listen to hear about how it all worked out. And I also wanted to mention that I'm doing a giveaway for the 100th podcast episode. I'm giving over $150 worth of prizes away, so if you want to enter into the giveaway, you haven't till Friday, so go check it out. And let's get started. You're listening to the Women of the Military Podcast where we share the stories of female servicemembers and how the military touch their lives. I'm Amanda Huffman. I'm an Air Force veteran, author of Women of the Military and a collaborative author of Brave Women, Strong Faith. I am also a military spouse and Mom. I created Women of the Military Podcast as a place to share stories of military women past and present with the goal of finding the heart of the story while uncovering the triumphs and challenges women face while serving in the military. If you want to be encouraged by the stories of military women, and be inspired to change the world, keep tuned for this latest episode of Women of the Military. Welcome to the show, Kayla. I'm excited to have you here.


Kayla Balserak  01:52

Thank you so much for having me. I'm super stoked to be here.


Amanda Huffman  01:55

Let's start with why did you decide to join the military?


Kayla Balserak  02:00

So, there's a few different reasons why I decided to join the military. I was 19 years old, working a part time job trying to go to school. And it just wasn't like really working out very well, for obvious reasons. I didn't really have much of a direction with my life. And my stepdad was actually the one who told me, "Well, why don't you look into joining the military." And at that time, I was like, I'm a I'm a homebody, I don't want to be on the road very much like, you know, moving every two years, it just doesn't sound appealing to me. And that's when he introduced me to the Air National Guard. And so I, you know, contacted a recruiter and just kind of went from there took my ASFAB went to MEPS, and literally within two months, I was raising my right hand and listing in their national guard. And then obviously, like education benefits are really good. So that was another reason why I had enlisted. And just to have that career to fall back on to just in case for what something happened with like college or a civilian job. And then the last reason would definitely be bragging rights. I'm actually the first woman in my family to be in the military. And so I guess I just kind of was like, yeah, I'm gonna do this. 


Amanda Huffman  03:22

That's cool. I almost enlisted in the Air National Guard. But then I found out about ROTC. And I was like, Oh, I want to try this instead. But for the Air National Guard, you said you enlisted pretty quickly. But how quickly? Did you go to boot camp? Did they work around your school schedule? Or did you do that really fast, too.


Kayla Balserak  03:41

I waited. I enlisted in February and I was in boot camp September of that same year. So I waited a while. And I'm not super sure of like the reasoning behind that. We were told pretty much like it's called student flight. It's basically where we hang out for the weekends when we haven't been to boot camp or tech school yet. And what they had told us was, well, you know, you only get a certain amount of slots, like the garden reserve only gets like a certain amount of spaces and bootcamp per flight. And then you have to wait for your security clearances to go through. And so that's what all of us are pretty much waiting on. And then usually like they would either call you and be like, hey, you're leaving next week, like a spot emptied kind of thing, or I got a couple months notice. Unfortunately, they did not work around my school schedule, despite me asking them to I ended up finding out while I was on summer break, hey, you're leaving in September, and I was like, Oh my gosh, like, could I maybe either go sooner or go later. I'm trying not to miss two semesters of school because tech school is going to be a very long process for me. So I was trying to like fit it into one semester of school so that we only missed one semester but I'm feeling. Fortunately, it didn't end up that way, even though I asked them, and they were like, Yeah, well, this is the military. So you're going in September. I was like, all right. But uh, right, right.


Amanda Huffman  05:10

It's interesting. I think it depends on like the leadership and the people doing the paperwork. Because some people have been able to like go to boot camp one summer and then go to tech school like the following summer. And then some people they're like, we don't care. You're going in September, you're like, the worst time ever?


Kayla Balserak  05:28

Yeah, pretty much. I think a lot of it has to do with like leadership. And the person I was dealing with, I think it was ended up being like, our train like our Base Training Manager. He didn't I don't think he wanted to do the extra paperwork to you know, get my date changed. So in the end, I just sucked it up and went in September and missed a year of school.


Amanda Huffman  05:53

So you went to Did you go to Lackland, Air Force Base, and then your follow on to tech school? And you said it was a longer tech school? So how long was it?


Kayla Balserak  06:03

Yes, my tech school was six months,


Amanda Huffman  06:06

eight and a half weeks of boot camp. So that's over two months. And then so that's like, yeah, eight, nine months. Wow, that's a lot. Did anything exciting happen while you're at boot camp, or tech school?


Kayla Balserak  06:20

Boot Camp, I mean boot camp was boot camp. I actually thoroughly enjoyed boot camp. I'm one of those weirdos but I got done with it. I was like, that was awesome. I don't know why. I thrive on structure. It was it was nice. I enjoyed it. Tech school. I did not enjoy so much just for a variety of reasons. But I actually ended up meeting my husband in tech school, which is a big no, no, like, You're not supposed to do that. Because they always say like, it's never gonna work out. But it just so happened. I was Guard. My husband was Guard. And we both lived on the west coast. So it wasn't like, we would have very far to travel or anything like that. So yeah, we ended up meeting in tech school. And he graduated a month before I did. And we were just kind of like, Okay, well, are we gonna do this? Like, it's gonna be a long distance, and who knows for how long? And we're both like, pretty committed to each other. Like, it wasn't just like a tech school fling like, we were like, Yeah, let's do this. So yeah, we both left. And he was certain we were serving in different states. But thankfully, in his civilian job, he worked for American Airlines as a customer service agent. So I was able to use his buddy passes to go visit him and he could come up and visit me. And it just worked out. So well.


Amanda Huffman  07:43

That's really cool. And how long did you guys date long distance before you tied the knot?


Kayla Balserak  07:51

So, long distance we were probably about it wasn't that long. Like we ended up Gosh, off the top of my head probably about eight months. And then he actually ended up proposing to me after like, right before we hit you're dating. And at that point, we had already been talking about me moving with him because I was just a drill status guardsman which meant that I only served one, the one weekend, a month, two weeks a year, he was a full timer. So he even though he was in the guard, he was technically like, kind of similar to active duty. So it just made more sense for me to move in with him. And then as we were talking about that, we went on this Christmas vacation to Europe, and he proposed to me. And so after we got home, I was like, Well, I guess we should set a date for me to move in with you. So that's how that worked out. It was It was great.


Amanda Huffman  08:47

Yeah, it's kind of cool that it was long distance still short. And then you guys are able to get all the moving pieces to get to get moved together. How did that all work from Guard and one unit one state to a new state? And like how did that all transfer?


Kayla Balserak  09:06

Definitely, it was a process for sure. A lot of it just has to do like it's a lot of paperwork, obviously, you have to go through, essentially, I think it's called like a conditional release. I should know I've done it a few times. But I'm pretty sure it's called a conditional release where you have to take it throughout like your entire chain of command like starts at literally your supervisor goes up to your do to your commander all the way up to the base commander like it's something it's very interesting and very thorough. Mostly because base commanders like to know like who's coming in who's going out kind of thing, which is totally understandable. So it took a while because given the fact that I was a drill status guardsman it's hard to get all the signatures in one drill weekend. So I think it took me a couple of months to actually get the transfer approved and then once when it's approved, obviously you need to have in the Guard, you need to have like a another, like an existing relationship essentially. And thankfully, my husband was able to like really vouch for me down at his home base. So I ended up being in contact with a what the do at the unit that I was trying to join down in Arizona. So it all just kind of worked out really well, other than the fact that it took like three months to get all the signatures. But once when I got it all, and was able to do my first drill weekend in Arizona, it was a long process, but it worked and everything went great. And I actually ended up really enjoying my unit down in Arizona.


Amanda Huffman  10:46

That's great. And so you guys were living in Arizona doing were you when you transfer, did you get to keep the same job? Or did you have to switch to a new job,


Kayla Balserak  10:57

I got to keep the same job. That's the other really great thing about the guard is that you can keep your afsp. And as long as the Guardian that you're trying to transfer to has the job open, then it's pretty much yours as long as they like you and approve you.


Amanda Huffman  11:18

So you don't have to worry about going back to tech school and like switch careers. craziness. Yeah. So what was your time like in the guard? You were? Or did you switch from guard to reserves or...?


Kayla Balserak  11:30

I ended up so I switched in 2019, just recently from the guard to the reserve, which is a whole other story had to go through the conditional release process again, you know, things like that. But my time in the Guard, like I had a great time, I was able to pursue my civilian career at the same time as serving, which is awesome. And then I also had a few like stents where I would be on active orders for one reason or another. Like when I went down to Arizona, they obviously had to do my mission qualification training until I went on, I think it was six months of active duty orders with them. And it was great. Like, I got to not only learn my new mission, but I also got that nice full timer paycheck on top of that. And so that was a lot of fun. But by the end of the six months, I was like, I'm definitely ready to get back to my civilian job. And then a couple of years later, we ended up in so we were my husband is technically active duty at this time. But we ended up back in in Arizona, and they were like, hey, like called me up? Like do you want to do a temporary AGR Active Guard Reserve tour, and I was like, sure, like, I'm not gonna say no to like a full time, you know, set of orders. So that's what I did up until I transferred over to the reserves.


Amanda Huffman  12:52

It sounds like there's lots of flexibility and different options when you're in the guard. And I think sometimes people don't realize like the different options that are available, just how much flexibility and like it's not hard, but there's a little bit of paperwork to move. But it's like once you get the paperwork done, you can move to a new place and make it all work. So that's I think it's a really good option for people who are looking to serve in the military, but not like serve on active duty. Where you like, totally, did you face any challenges while serving in the military?


Kayla Balserak  13:23

Yes, a few. The first one would definitely be mental health has been a big thing for me, especially during my time in the military. And I have known people that have been in my shop, and we've unfortunately lost like the suicide. And then I mean, as for me, like myself, I was diagnosed back in the very beginning of I think it was 2017 with generalized anxiety disorder, and then depression on top of that, so that has come with its own fair share of challenges. And especially when in my most recent transfer, a big thing that they do is obviously you need to prove that you're medically able to serve. The gaining unit wants to know that and so having to go through that and basically having to disclose like, yeah, you know, I at that time I was on medication, and I've been in therapy and I have this diagnoses. And thankfully, the reserve unit that I went to were like, okay, they didn't really care that much, which is really nice, because I had previously tried before successfully transferring to the Reserves, I had tried to transfer to a different Guard unit. And it got kind of weird because I was dealing with a recruiter who was already not doing a great job getting back to me and all that and then she ended up telling me, hey, by the way, like we need all this medical documentation from you and I need to talk to whatever commander you're going to go to to make sure and she said and I quote that he'd be willing to deal with you. And I was like, Oh, well, I don't want to be like a burden to anybody. Like, I mean, if you look at my entire record, which I know that you have, you'll notice I've never been in trouble. I've passed all my PT tests, like, I am more than capable of doing my job. And I've never let my mental illnesses get in the way of that. So like for you to basically treat me like I'm totally crazy and not able to do my job is kind of offensive, to be honest. So I'm just gonna go elsewhere and look into, you know, some other options that I have open. And thankfully, my husband was transferring to the reserve. And he, like, got a hold of the unit that he was transferring to. I was like, Hey, I know this really awesome Staff Sargeant. And they basically looked at it as like, oh, two people for one PCs, like, Okay, sounds great.


Amanda Huffman  15:58

Yeah, I think that's an unfortunate stigma that sometimes people have about mental health. It's part of the problem with like, people reporting it. Because when you get treated differently, and like, people don't look at your records, and they say, Oh, well, you have mental health challenges, or whatever you want to say, and then they just everything you've done doesn't matter. And you're like, no, like, I'm still the same person, like now just getting help. So I'm actually more effective now than I was struggling and didn't have the diagnosis. So that's, that's really unfortunate. But I'm glad that you were able to find someone who could help you and that you were able to get that transfer and sounds like it kind of worked out better in the end anyway. So...


Kayla Balserak  16:40

Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. It was, it was unfortunate because I hadn't been diagnosed at the time of it was an officer in my shop when he he killed himself. And everyone was trying to be like, you know, if you need help, get help and stuff. But then you would see people like, basically be like, well, I yeah, I need help. And then all of a sudden, it kind of like changes the way that people look at you. And thankfully, like, I had a really great supervisor at that time, who when I disclosed to him, he was like, okay, like, you know, if you're ever struggling, like, I know that you're more than capable of doing your job and like being an outstanding Airman. So you know, if you're ever struggling or you know, you feel like you can't do your job, then that's when you need to come to me and be honest with me, like, no matter, no matter what, and that's really gonna get you far is that honesty and being upfront about it versus like, unfortunately, if things really start going south, and we have to intervene somehow. And so thankfully, like, it didn't change the way that he looked at me. But then there were times when I dealt with, like, you know, have I had to go quarterly to the med group to basically be like, yes, I'm still on medication, doing well, things like that. But there were times where I would get a certain doctor or something. And they ask the standard, like, Are you thinking about killing yourself? Things like that? I'd be like, no, and then they're like, well, I don't see a problem here. Like, I don't understand why you're, you know, struggling or whatever. And it's very interesting, the different views that people have about mental health, like they think that oh, you know, you're on medication, or you're diagnosed with this. So obviously, either you're totally crazy and can't do your job, or you're totally suicidal, and also can't do your job. It's like, no, like, I just have a chemical imbalance in my brain. That's about it. Like, I'm fine.


Amanda Huffman  18:37

Yeah, there's a lot of misinformation and people. And the worst part is like, it's even the doctors that you talk to who don't understand. And I struggled with PTSD when coming home from my deployment, and I got a lot of people are like, but you're fine. And I'm like, but that doesn't change the fact that like, there's something wrong and I need help. The outside is fine. Inside not so much. And so it makes it hard, because everybody deals with different situations in different ways. And like, that's why we have medication is to help us and to make life easier. And it's just kind of Yeah, there's so much misinformation. So I'm really glad that you're so open to share about what your experience was like.


Kayla Balserak  19:18

Yeah, of course, I know. It's a very sensitive topic. And it kind of sometimes it makes people kind of squirm in their seats a little bit, but it's definitely needed, especially as Unfortunately, the suicide statistics in the Air Force continues to grow every year. It's really disappointing. And I know I personally would like I'm very passionate about it, because obviously I have first-hand experience in multiple issues with it. So...


Amanda Huffman  19:47

yeah, I think we should talk about the suicide because you're right in the Air Force. I don't know if the listeners know, but the rate of suicides has gone up dramatically and there's been a lot of talk and a lot of different wingman days and leadership discussions. So what was it like for you being in a unit and having one of the officers commit suicide?


Kayla Balserak  20:09

It was really rough. And the thing that sucked was like the way that I found out about it was a base wide email had gone out about it. It was right after I think our March drill weekend, and I had noticed that this officer wasn't at the drill weekend, and I was like, okay, like, it's kind of weird and stuff, but didn't really think anything of it until I was at my civilian job on I think it was either Monday or Tuesday, and suddenly my husband got ahold of me and was like, Oh my gosh, Kayla like are you okay? and stuff? I was like, What are you talking about? He's like, Well, you didn't hear. I'm like, here what? And that's what he told me. And I like found out sitting in the office of my civilian job and was like, how did you find out? Like, how did you find out before me like, this is my Squadron. My husband and I were in different squadrons. I was like, This is my Squadron. Like, how did you find out before me? And he's like, well, base wide email went out as like a base wide email, are you for real right now. So then we ended up going at least that the drill status guards when we went in an entire month, like knowing that this had happened, but that's pretty much it. And then we showed up at April drill weekend. And like it was really like the atmosphere in the squadron had changed. Like everyone is very serious. There wasn't a lot of like, you know, before drill weekend, like normally at least my unit would do like a pancake breakfast or you know, something like that feeling a little Welcome to drill weekend. and stuff, just trying, I mean, because it sucks to have to work on the weekend. But you know, knowing that you're going in to see basically the people that have become your family, and enjoy a pancake breakfast and then get to work like it made it better. But there was like, nothing like it was pretty bad. And then once we broke off into our separate, like flights, that's when our commander came in. It was like, Look, here's what happened. Like, if you he basically said, like, the way that he took his life to us and stuff, it was pretty brutal. And he is like, if you guys need to talk about it or anything like that, like there's no shame. I've already been to mental health, like trying to deal with this kind of thing. Because I He's like, I kind of take it personally, like, I feel like I failed. And it was really emotional. Like it was pretty brutal. And it definitely changed. That was the unit that I was in when I got my diagnoses. And I think that that had an impact on how people handled it. Because they were like, okay, we would rather her disclose now and be a friend now versus like, God forbid, if it got bad, and she felt like she couldn't come to us. And then we would maybe be dealing with something more serious.


Amanda Huffman  22:50

Yeah. And that's kind of like interesting because there was like no contact from when, like, between the March and April drill weekend. And so then it was kind of like this, like awkward coming back where people knew stuff. But they like I didn't know all the details. And they like didn't know. So it's kind of interesting, I never really thought about like, the time in between. and like how they didn't I guess it didn't contact you. There's normally between weekends, or drill weekend sit in contact you. So it seems like they were like we don't know what to do. So we'll just wait until they come and that. I don't know if that like made it harder, or if that was the right decision and probably a hard place for the leadership to be in.


Kayla Balserak  23:35

Yeah, I definitely agree with that. Like, I think that knowing like, the leadership of that unit, they probably figured like, it's probably hard to convey this sort of thing via text message or email or phone call, it probably would seem a little less personal. So I like I understand why they waited. But at the same time, like I hadn't heard from my supervisor, I didn't hear from anybody like even to be like, Hey, did you hear are you okay kind of thing. And so that was like very interesting, because usually, at that time, I think I was still I think I was a Senior Airman at that time. So I wasn't a supervisor. And so I was kind of like, okay, like, normally supervisors should have contact with their airman outside of drill weekend just to make sure everything okay, how are you doing? Like, you know, especially that week before drill weekend, like is everything good to go with drill weekend or even being in contact with them about, you know, hey, heads up, you have a dental appointment, you know, something like that. But yeah, I haven't heard anything. And then now that I'm an NCO like if, I mean it's hard to be right now I'm a traditional reservist, so I'm not like a supervisor because of the fact that I'm only there one weekend a month, but I know like if I were to transition to a full-time type staff And did have people underneath me I would be in contact with them all the time. And that's how my new unit is right now. I'm always in contact with people from my unit. So, yeah, the fact that they went like almost an entire month without having any sort of contact was kind of lonely. But thankfully, I had my husband. And so that was, that was nice. But yeah, I don't know, I don't really like to, I guess, contemplate or overthink, like, why they did things the way that they did. And I just have faith that they did what they felt was best for the unit.


Amanda Huffman  25:39

Yeah, I think they probably were just trying to figure out their way through it and did what they thought was best. I thought it was interesting that they didn't contact you. The last thing that I wanted to talk about is your husband, you guys met during tech school, but now he is a pilot in the Air Force. And so he's an officer. So I think there's a lot of misunderstandings between like officer enlisted a relationships. But since you guys were married, and you were both enlisted, and then he became an officer. It's not a big deal that you guys are married. But you said and the like, intro thing when I was asking you questions that you guys sometimes gets a weird look. So can you talk a little bit about what it's like to be a dual military and an enlisted officer couple?


Kayla Balserak  26:19

Yes, for sure. I have like so much to say about that. Because it's so weird. So obviously, when we were both in Arizona, we were both enlisted. And then we married when we were both enlisted everyone from Arizona that like we worked with, they were actually at our wedding. So it wasn't like weird when he went off to OTS and then came back as you know, as a second lieutenant. It wasn't strange for people in Arizona, because they knew our background. And they knew like, yeah, they were both enlisted when they met and got married, praise a student relationship. It wasn't anything strange. And like every once in a while you would get like a new person in the office. And then they would be like, Wait a second. Like that's, that's I'm like, No, no, let me explain. or other people would explain it. Because a lot of times people aren't one to confront you about it. They'll go and talk to you talk about you to somebody else. But thankfully, like we were everyone knew like our story. And then when we transferred to the reserve, we went over to Florida. So that's where we're at right now we're here in South Florida. And people are still I've realized we've been in the unit for I think six months, and people are still realizing that I'm enlisted. And like some people just thought that I was like a wife and not in the military until they like saw me randomly in the hallway in uniform. And then they're like, Wait a second, like what in the world and so they get kind of confused about it. So we have gotten a few strange looks, especially during like drill weekends when our schedules actually align, and we're like, hey, let's carpool together. And like we both get out of his truck. And people are like, what the heck. So we've had to explain it quite a few times to people. And it's, it's been very interesting, and especially because he said he is a pilot, but on top of that he's also an F 16 pilot and fighter pilots definitely have their culture, I guess you could say. So a lot of people are kind of hesitant to, like, talk to me and stuff, because not only my wife, but I'm also enlisted, too. They're like, Oh my gosh, like, you know, I it's it gets very interesting, which I don't mind it because like, a lot of the pilots realize, like, you know, I'm, I guess more committed to being in the Air Force than I am to being in with the other wives. So thankfully, like it's kind of settled down, the shock has worn off, I guess you could say. And then the other thing that sometimes it's kind of a struggle is finding that fine line between being the pilot wife, but then also being an NCO in the unit. And that's kind of gotten a little squirrely at times because I try to like, be involved with the pilot wife side of things. But then there's times where, you know, a wife wants to gossip about me to, you know, either her husband or another military member, and it gets the lines get a little blurred and very strange. So I usually try to just set up a boundary, essentially, and be like, Hey, I'm either on spouse mode, or I'm on Air Force mode kind of thing. And then I've learned to really guard my career from other spouses. And thankfully, some of the spouses that are in the our little group are also veterans. So they're the ones that I really kind of, like, I guess gravitate towards because of the fact that they understand what I'm going through, and they're a little less like the stereotypical pilot while I love the entire For sure, like they're all really great. But sometimes it does get really tricky, especially like social media has been like the bane of my existence since being involved in this group. Because there's been times where I've posted something and then all of a sudden my wife is like, hey, look what Kayla posted to her husband. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, like. So it's been interesting.


Amanda Huffman  30:21

Yeah, that's interesting, like an interesting dynamics. I mean, I love the military spouses groups that I've been a part of, but sometimes, like, when I was active duty, I was like, Ah, you know, it's, it's hard. And we were both officers. So it wasn't nearly as complicated. But it it does cause some controversy every once in a while, just people who don't understand or don't know. And then like you said, and then the gossip or people don't come directly to you. And they're like, what's going on? And they asked someone, and then if they don't know, then it can become a bunch of craziness. So I think if you have questions about something, you should always just go to that person and ask them instead of gossipy.


Kayla Balserak  31:03

Yes, exactly. And like the even ever since, like up tea, which is undergraduate pilot training, you just learn that, like the gossip is runs rampant. And it's really unfortunate, because it is very isolating, especially people who are like, in my position, like I had, there are people in up tea, who caught wind that I was enlisted. And then the wives would like stop talking to me, because they were under the impression that they shouldn't be talking to enlisted people as like, No. Well, I mean, like, you're right, but like, you're also wrong. Like, it's kind of it's very strange and very hazy. So yeah, like, that's the biggest thing is like gossip is terrible. And then the fact that like, now, I feel like I need to, like really censor myself sometimes on like social media and stuff, because I don't obviously want my husband to be facing any sort of like weird stuff at work. And then I also don't want to like be walking into a drill weekend and people being like, Oh, yeah, so I saw your Facebook post when I'm not friends with any of the pilots. So yeah, it gets very interesting. And I'm still navigating it for sure. And it's always like, whenever something arises, I'm like, okay, like lesson learned and stuff. So it's definitely like a dynamic situation. But in the end, like, as long as I have that boundary, things tend to work out. So...


Amanda Huffman  32:27

Yeah, people don't realize, like, how complicated and how many misconceptions are about like, what can officer wives do? Like, they could pretty much do whatever they want. But you know, what people? Like? They don't really know. So it's kind of interesting. So my last question is, what advice would you give to young women who are considering joining the military? 


Kayla Balserak  32:50

Oh, man, My advice would be, honestly lay if it's something like do your research first and foremost, and decide like, what it is you specifically want to do. And I say that because of the fact that originally, I had thought that only active duty existed. And it's not just the active duty. So if you're like me, and you're like, I don't want to move around every two years, like, there's still like options out there for you to serve, while you know, not being not having to move around every couple of years. So yeah, like doing your research, maybe connecting with someone who is not a recruiter, but is already in is always a really good idea. Like my husband and I are always talking to people who come to us and they're like, hey, like, I have questions. And it's definitely I recruiters will tell you pretty much anything that you want to hear. So the top is someone who's already in to really, like, get the truth. And I highly recommend doing that. And then just, you know, just going for it really and like really embracing the lifestyle. Like I think that that's why a lot of people hate like boot camp tech school and in the military is because they really resist the suck, as I say they really resist it. And if you come at it from a perspective of embracing the suck, it gets a lot better.


Amanda Huffman  34:15

I like that advice because you're gonna have to go through it. And if you're resisting it, then I guess like that much more challenging, but if you can embrace it, and then like, grow from it, and like see it as like a point of like growth, then it changes your whole outlook and your attitude. And I also want to go back if someone who's listening right now wants to talk to someone in the military, I highly recommend talking to someone who's either in or a veteran because I do also Think not that recruit recruiters misguide you, but they have a job to do and you need someone who doesn't have a job to do, I can just tell you your experience. So I created a guide on my website and I'll link to it in the show notes, a Girl's Guide to the Military and so if you're looking for like, just general answers to your questions you can check that out. And then if you need to talk to someone you can always reach out to me. I'm sure you can reach out to Kayla and her contact info is in the show notes so we can, so you can connect with her there too. Thanks so much for being on the podcast. I'm excited to share this episode with the world when it goes live. And just thank you so much. Yeah,


Kayla Balserak  35:23

Thank you so much for having me.


Amanda Huffman  35:29

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