Women of the Military

Brave Women, Strong Faith - Episode 86

Episode Summary

Brave Women, Strong Faith: Inspiring Stories by Military Women and Wives is a "battle cry of praise." The collaborative authors of this project have successfully shared the military experience from the Christian perspective. In its pages, this book seeks to comfort those feeling alone, encourage those facing struggle, and to connect those in need of community. Get your copy now!

Episode Notes

This episode was made possible by my Patreon supporters!

This week on the podcast I wanted to share stories from 3 of the authors for Brave Women, Strong Faith. Sometimes as a military spouse I feel like an outsider and one of the reasons I am so excited about this book is there is a whole section of the book dedicated to military spouses who are also veterans. I was worried my story wouldn’t fit and I wasn’t sure how it would come together. But it has highlighted the challenge of being both a military spouse and veteran. With five women in total sharing their stories within the book.

I already interview Sherry Eifler on the Women of the Military Podcast for Episode 37. She has two chapters in Brave Women Strong Faith and the second chapter is focused on being a military spouse and veteran. Megan Harless is also a veteran and military spouse contributor. She is an advocate for helping improve moving from base to base

This week I got to chance to talk to Laura Schofield, Richelle Futch, and Danielle Whalen. In this episode, we covered stories from military servicemember to military spouse life. We discussed how we got involved in the Brave Women Strong Faith project and what the military meant to us. 

Brave Women Strong Faith built a community among military spouses where we met new friends and have been able to support and encourage each other along the way. I loved when Laura talked about having “battle buddies again.” It is true, this community has given us that sense of support where we are a team working to share the stories of military women.

I’m proud to be an author for Brave Women, Strong Faith. Order your copy today! Click here.

Connect with the authors:

Danielle Whalen is a self proclaimed “King’s Daughter” who loves the Lord, cherishes her family, and is passionate about uplifting others to know their true value in God! With over 15 years of professional experience in crisis intervention gained by serving as a Masters Level Clinical Social Worker, nine year Coast Guard veteran, spouse of a 21 year Coast Guard retiree, and ministry leader for Celebrate Recovery, Danielle is dedicated to bridging the disparities of mental health and spiritual wellness through writing, speaking, and Christian counseling. Her writing and speaking experience was developed early on through the U.S. Coast Guard as a trained team facilitator, senior mentor, and training coordinator for staff members. She is now dedicated to use these skills for exhortation and discipleship http://www.DanielleWhalen.org


Richelle Futch is a Marine Corps Veteran now Mental Health Counselor and Army spouse. She is a homeschooling mom of three. And the creator of Her Ruck: Unpacking Your Emotional Ruck for Military Spouses.



Laura Schofield served in the Washington Army National Guard for 18 months until she was medically discharged from military service. Currently she is a Marine Corps Military Spouse, homeschooling mama, and writer.


Mentioned in this Episode:

Speak Up Conference

What Does Military Service Mean?


Military Sexual Trauma

Related Episodes:

Transitioning from the Guard isn’t the Same – Episode 59

Military Spouse to Active Duty and Back Again – Episode 24

Helping others after service – Episode 44

Read the full transcript here. 

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Episode Transcription

Amanda Huffman  00:00

Welcome to Episode 86 of the Women of the Military podcast. This week I'm doing a panel discussion with some of my fellow authors of the Brave Women Strong Faith book that was released yesterday, August 3rd. I'm excited to share about these women who, like me, are also military spouses along with being veterans. The last section of Brave Women, Strong Faith is all about women who are both military spouses and veterans and the challenges and struggles we faced...either in the military or in our transition out of the military and into our new role as military spouses. And so I'm excited to get to share some of those women's stories here on the podcast. And if you want to hear more stories about women who are both veterans and spouses and even more stories for more amazing military spouses, check out Brave Women, Strong Faith at Milspoco.com and the link will be in the show notes so that you can order today. So let's get started. You're listening to the Women of the Military Podcast where we share the stories of female service members 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 podcast. I'm so excited to talk to you guys about Brave Women, Strong Faith. Let's do quick introductions starting with Danielle.


Danielle Whalen  02:10

Hi, my name is Danielle Whalen. I was an active duty Coast Guard member for nine years and that's where I met my wonderful husband. And I've been a military spouse for 14 years now. We are a military transplant here in Northern Michigan, and we love it here and plan to call it home.


Amanda Huffman  02:26

I'm so glad to have you and Richelle, let's talk a little bit about you. 


Richelle Futch  02:30

Hi, I'm Richelle Futch. I'm a United States Marine Corps veteran HooRA and have been married to my husband he's Army Special Forces noncommissioned officer. We got married in 2010. So we are on our 10th year anniversary this year and we are currently at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 


Laura Schofield  02:47

Hi guys. I'm Laura. I enlisted in the Washington State Army National Guard when I was in high school, and I'm currently a marine spouse of an active duty marine currently stationed in North Carolina. 


Amanda Huffman  03:01

We're all over. And it's really exciting because I don't usually know that military spouses who are veterans. And so it was really cool how in the brave women's strong faith, there's a whole chapter dedicated to women, I would say like us who are both veterans and military spouses. So, what inspired you to get involved in Brave Women, Strong Faith, whoever wants to go first?


Danielle Whalen  03:30

Yeah, I'll jump in. It was Megan who reached out and contacted me. She and I connected since the conference last year. She knew that I am trying to grow as a writer and she also knows kind of my military background and my passion for bridging the gap between health and spiritual wellness in the military community. And so she asked if I would do this project, and if they know it was such an honor and in collaboration with all these Military women, ranging from that spouses to the whole gamut. So I was asked to join on and she didn't have to twist my arm very hard.


Amanda Huffman  04:11

And Richelle, why did you get involved in the Brave Women, Strong Faith project?


Richelle Futch  04:16

Oh, I Danielle can tell you last year at the Speak Up Conference was so motivating. We would sit around in the evenings after the sessions and just talk about what an amazing sort of worship circle that we had and the connection connections we were making. And Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn were there and they were just feeding light into us. It was so beautiful and we thought we need to do something and so when they offered this, this book to have our voices heard, we were there. We were ready. Our arms were open and we were so grateful for that and you know if it wasn't for Megan bringing us there and and calling us up on the phone and and saying I see this in you and I know this is what you're working on. And I was authoring a book at the time and so she pulled me in, and then just the the energy and the spirit in the room and knowing how can we get our voices. And I know I think I was pulled in more as a military spouse than as a veteran at the time. And I couldn't miss this opportunity, one to network and connect with the other military, spouses and veterans of that group. It was just so engaging and inspiring that the energy is there. And I said, Yeah, I want to speak up. I want to share my story. And so that was such a great fit.Yeah, I was really bummed this year that it had to go virtual Speak Up was a virtual conference. And it was really I think it was a great conference, but I was like, mourning the loss of not getting to be there in person, especially because, Lord, we have known each other forever. And I didn't know until I read the story after mine and the book and it was Laura's story, and she's a veteran and I was like, Huh, how did I not know this? Like we've known each other for like you followed me when I first started bullying and we've been connected since then.  So why did you decide to write that chapter and share that part of that story of your story in the book,


Laura Schofield  06:09

I actually originally wrote a different chapter that doesn't mention that part of my story at all. And the more I read it, and the more I went over it, I wasn't quite ready to share it. And it wasn't it was more than a chapter of the story can tell. It needed to be more. And so Megan said I should write about joining the Army. I was like a that doesn't count. She said, yes it does. You should write about it. I don't think it counts. I don't think it counts compared to what other women but I tried. I wrote it out and ended up okay, this is how do I story that I'm ready to share.


Amanda Huffman  06:45

Yeah, I thought it was so moving. Because like I said, I've known you for like years. It's crazy how long I've known you and I'm reading your story. And I'm like, What? So it was really I thought it was really cool and I really love I like all the time. Doctors I can't say I have like a favorite. But it was just really a special moment for me to realize like, Oh, she's my sister that's connected so well. And I really love that. Why did you decide to join the military?


Danielle Whalen  07:11

Long story short, I face a lot of challenges growing up my mom who had mental health issues, substance abuse issues. I was essentially raised from a single dad and I was at a pivotal point in my life, where I was trying to find more meaning and depth. And my dad was really encouraging me to go and start moving everything and I wasn't ready to go to college. I felt like I didn't know myself well enough to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, actually. And so I started thinking about the military. And then when I was doing my research, the Coast Guard really stood out and the values and the fact that it's a life saving organization and it felt like something that I could stand behind. Didn't that I could feel good about myself and service and the takeaway of being what I would ask to do for my country, because with all the branches of the military, there's sacrifice that were called obedience. And I really, when I looked at the Coast Guard, I, again, the fact that it was a life saving organization really stood out to me, and the fact that I could start right here at home and be a part of something bigger than myself.


Amanda Huffman  08:28

Yeah, being part of something bigger than yourself such a big part of the military. So Richelle, let's hear what you have to say.


Richelle Futch  08:37

I can actually remember the moment I decided to look into the military. I was, I was right out of high school. My parents had gotten divorced when I was a junior year in high school, and they sort of both moved out of that house and kind of left my brother and I live in in a house that my grandma owned at the time and so we're just kind of on our own, and then the house is getting sold and we were kind of homeless. We were you know, doing I mean, he was, he was over 18 at the time. So, you know, he was kind of in the position to take, you know, step it up, do do what you have to do. And I still have a senior year in high school left. And so my mom was really struggling with her new life choices. My dad left. So there was time, there was a break between me and my dad and sort of what he was doing billing his life. I didn't have anybody talking to me about, you know, this is what your grades are looking like, this is what college looks like, this is what you do. And so I sort of I knew it was important to finish school. I was couchsurfing. And I was living with a boyfriend some part time. And that wasn't the best relationship, but it seemed like a, you know, kind of a transactional relationship. So we're both getting something from this. And I remember listening to the journey song, you know, don't stop believin and when they talk about that small town girl getting the train to go anywhere. I was like, that's what I need to do. I just need to get out of here. And then I was like, okay, but don't be stupid about it. Like, where are you going to go? What are you going to do? You don't know anybody. This is before the internet. And so I thought, you know I did have one teacher that stood out to me and he was he was a marine. And he didn't really talk about the Marines as much but he talked about his military experience sometimes suddenly, you know what I'm gonna check that out and I went and actually talked to the Air Force recruiters first because I was like, Okay, this sounds kind of fun. And the marine recruiters kept popping their head in and was really just you know, rather than the Air Force guys and just like you got our company made yet Hey, you doing this yet? Blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, man, what's more my style I'm wearing you know, that kind of give it take it kind of person and so then they started kind of talking to me when I was leaving, and I just went Alright, and then let's What are we what are we going to do and I just needed it. I needed direction I needed purpose. I needed something that would give me independence because I knew I was gonna be okay. And I also wanted to make sure I was okay. Like, let's let's be smart about it.


Amanda Huffman  10:48

Yeah, that's a really cool story. I like that you're on the Air Force recruiters office in the Marine recruiter kept being like, Hey, hey, if you're like, Oh, I'm gonna go over there. Cuz they're all like lined up usually in the same little bro. So that's funny. And Laura, you joined while you were in high school, right?


Laura Schofield  11:04

Yeah. Like, it's odd to look back on it because it made sense when you I was 17. But now it's not quite so logical. I was in a advanced program with our community college. And so I was gonna have my bachelor's degree before I was 20. And I wanted to do all these things, but everything requires experience, and no one wants to hire 17 year old girls with zero experience. And so I distinctly remember being in like our college student union and filling out the postcard, you know, have a recruiter talk to you and get a free t-shirt. And so I did and I still have no idea why what prompted me to do that, because I am not athletically inclined. I'm not outdoors in any way, but it just seemed like a good idea. And so I did, and I was enticed, because I needed tuition assistance. I wanted to I was like, Oh, this I could get a master's degree. I could going and This was in the mid 2000s. So there was also significant signup bonuses. And so that seemed really appealing to me. And so I did. So it wasn't really like something


Amanda Huffman  12:10

You weren't called to it was just like it came in your lap. And then that's what you did. That's kind of like my story, like a bunch of different things happen. And then it was like, Oh, yeah, I should join the military. That's a good idea. Oh, I should do this. Oh, and then I ended up. I always like hearing the stories of like, why people decide to join because they're always so different. And they have like similar themes that touch together, but they're always just interested in stories. Did any of you write more than one chapter for the book? I only wrote the one chapter at the end. But go ahead. Danielle 


Danielle Whalen  12:41

I was going to say it is kind of a funny story, because I mentally only wanted to write one. And the one that I originally wrote, turned out to be the epilogue. And then once Megan, and editors made the decision, that it was going to be the epilogue to call me back. And so you have this this story that you're sharing, and it is outwardly focused, and I'm gonna read it and then they're gonna say, well, who is this Danielle person? And what's her story? And I was like, you know, Megan, I feel like I'm past that point in my writing about sharing that and I don't know if this is the place or space for and she said, Nope, I'm gonna push you as a writer, you're gonna have another story. People need to know who you are behind your writing. And I joked with her and I was like, there's nothing you I experienced that anyone else is going to face. And so in a part of my rebellion against it, that's kind of how I started, you know, they oppositional children for fun time. And were given tasks so I really tried to, to be vulnerable in it. And I tried to to share, I think the most important takeaway for me, and that in service, that's the message behind it.


Amanda Huffman  13:57

I remember when Megan talked to me, and she was I want you to be in this military spouse book. And I was like, but but I focus on like women veterans, and she's like, that's why I want you to be in the book. And I was like, I don't understand what you're asking me. And I love how the chapters like have come together and how like how important she thought it was to share that story. Because I think a lot of times now that we forget, it's like, we are not war veterans and that's like on the back burner, but like military spouse life is like it's our life right now. So it just takes the focus and we forget about several me because I'm still, I'm like, so into the women veterans face. I feel really, I'm like, I don't know how I ended up here. I wanted to talk about the transition from leaving active duty and being a military spouse. Did any of you face challenges or struggles or was it an easy switch or or anything like that, Danielle, you can go first.


Danielle Whalen  14:53

Oh, yeah. So as I actually wrote a piece about this, for the milspo and I joke around, I say I said that being a military spouse is like having to go to work with your lover, or your ex love interest every day. So you see them, you're around them yet who really can't be involved anymore the way that you use it. And so it was really challenging going from. And for me, I think that that was military, my identity was really developed an idea of who I was as active duty service. And so when I got out, you know, besides, after assigning the data, my DD214, my existence in the military was based around his service number. And that was hard for me because I transitioned out already enlisted and so that took on a whole new role for me and the Coast Guard is such a small entity that if he has an officer in charge, you know, he's dad and my mom. And so the friend socialization and the ability to connect with some of the junior members, you know, wasn't there for me. I didn't get connection military spouse that I think would have been helpful making that transition.


Amanda Huffman  16:07

Yeah, I liked how you were talking about how it's like you're hanging out with your boyfriend, your ex boyfriend, I was like, that's a really good way to like think about it because it's like the military still there and you speak the lingo and you like know all the stuff, but you're not really part of it. You're part of it. You know, you're part of it because your military spouse and military spouses are important and the military couldn't live without them, but they don't seem to understand that and so it's hard switch. Richelle, what were you gonna say?


Richelle Futch  16:38

Yeah, I am. So I didn't meet my husband till years after I was out. So my transitioning out was very independent. It was very much Wow, I have this skill set. I'm making really good money. I know exactly what to do. And yet I have zero responsibilities except myself. And so I really struggled with drinking, partying, suicidal thoughts, just from trauma in the military. Harry, just a lot of things and, and so that was, I think the journey that was that was well traveled before I had a family and so I'm grateful for that. And then when I met my husband, and he was in the Army. It's funny because, you know, the Marines are my brothers and my sisters. And so that's like, we get together and it's like we grew up together, we can sit around the campfire and have this great time. And when I'm around the Army, you know, I feel like I'm with my in my in laws, you know, like they very much are, yeah, I'm part of the family, but I'm not the family. And so I can definitely feel the difference between the branches and being an army spouse, you know, and doing events. I, you know, I feel like I need to wear the army t shirts, but I really want to wear the marine t shirts and say, This is who I am. This is me. And so I still struggle with those two different identities for sure.


Amanda Huffman  17:46

Yeah, I felt like I got out when my son was born. And I was like, I really should have found the military like a few years before I had kids because dealing with the change of being a mom and leaving the military and My identity and all those things at the same time was kind of like a train wreck. And so I didn't really realize the emotional aspects. So it's interesting how like you were able to break out the two because that's how your life happened and how much the transition of just switching out of being on duty and then being a civilian was just as hard in the same ways as like my transition from being active duty and being a stay at home mom. So I'd love to hear your experience, Laura, because I'm sure your story is kind of relates to herself


Laura Schofield  18:31

A little bit, but I was given a medical discharge for medical reasons. And so by the time they actually got around to giving it out, I was just ready to be done. You know, I couldn't walk anymore. I couldn't run anymore. I could barely drive because I couldn't really hold my legs over the gas pedal anymore. And so I was like, Okay, alright, I'm done with you. For a long time, and then I'm about six months old. Waiter and he was a reservists and so being a reservist or and being in the National Guard are pretty similar, especially at that time and where we drill very close so I kind of just into that hole very easily. So yeah it took a while for me to actually process the grieve the fact that I lost my career and because of the injuries, I lost future careers that I had wanted outside of the military.


Amanda Huffman  19:27

Yeah, and I think sometimes we compartmentalize our loss I think I don't know if that's like the military training or just maybe human nature but like, like you said, you didn't want to write the chapter because you weren't quite ready to share but it's it's so powerful. And Laura wrote I did a roundup a couple months ago about what military servicemen she said it represents failure and so many people have reached out to me and they're like, Can I talk to that Laura person because she's amazing and she needs to know it because it's not felt We're like guess things didn't go like you plan and you had to grieve. But I just that one line was the crux of like the whole blog post and it was really just really short and represented here and it just it shows like how much like the military has this like hope and dream built up inside and then dreams can change or life can happen and and just how much that affects you. So I want to talk a little bit about your guys's time in the military. And normally, if it was like a normal podcast episode, I get to hear more of your stories. But I just want to talk about like, if you could talk about one story from your time in the military and like how it either changed you or taught you a lesson. Or maybe it's just funny. It can be anything but can you share one story from your time in the military. 


Danielle Whalen  20:47

So the one that resonates the most with me was rhyming words and time with the military and was one of the most contributing reasons why I ended up leaving And I will say I love kicking and screaming. One of my friends had me her daughter had really bad asthma. And I had my daughter is her daughter and member of 10. And then January 2011, her daughter died from an asthma attack in the hospital fire five years old, my son I've results are best friends. And with a military being so small or with the Coast Guard on volunteer was hard being so small, we have a lot of like, duplicate or like overlaying responsibilities and typically when something like this sign like a command to serve as the point that the command and the family and because I was the senior person, or we were working and also because my friend, she and I were close, that command asked me to stop at that position. And so it was the most difficult thing in my life ever gone through Having to wear both hats while trying to be there with my friend and you mentioned and like having to compartmentalize. I think me having to go through that process kind of split me in a way that I still don't know if I'll ever recover from what hatch who look in the face of death. Absolutely love and adore. While trying professional and I don't know it was it did something inside of me broke me. And I don't think I've ever been the same sense. And that's when I knew that was the first time I really considered like, okay, because I couldn't I couldn't look at service the same way after that experience. I felt like I was asked more than I could bear. And sometimes when you know it's time to go, it's time to go. And so I think that was my biggest moment.


Amanda Huffman  22:56

That sounds really hard. And I think sometimes The military asked like so much of people and they don't really think about what they're asking. And then my biggest reason for getting out of the Air Force was because I knew at the time, six months after, I would probably deploy it. And that was like something I didn't want to do. I felt like if I stayed in and I wanted to serve that I had to be able to say at six months old, when my son was six months old, that I would be willing to go to Afghanistan or Iraq or wherever they sent me and I just I saw the writing on the wall was like, I this is something I can do. I know some people do it, admire them, but there's like some stuff the military asked, it's just too hard. 


Danielle Whalen  23:38

I think that I felt broken. from that. It was the irony of it. It wasn't like that they didn't have anything to offer me, but I felt like I had nothing to offer. And


Amanda Huffman  23:49

That's really hard. Richelle do you have a story from your time in the Marines? 


Richelle Futch  23:53

Oh, yeah. Danielle, your story is like I can feel it in my heart. And so that's really hard to kind of tell steppin after that. So one of the stories that really stands out to me right now, from my time in the military and coming, coming during a time right now where, you know, the the hot topic is Vanessa again in the in the media right now and the I mean just tragic, tragic stories surrounding surrounding her her service and her death. I remember I went in, I had my 19th birthday in boot camp, and my first duty station was Okinawa, Japan. And so I was there 19. And I remember I end up getting a car with a co worker so we could share a car just to drive around and do and do some things. And there was a group that was going over to one of the other bases to do a karaoke night and I can't seem to carry I mean, I couldn't say my life. If I had to sing a song guys would be like, let's Michelle's not invited to this party, but I was invited as the sober driver. And so if somebody else's car even so I didn't have to worry about that. And so I drove and I drove this group over to this karaoke night and they all drink saying had a good time. Make sure everybody got back to the fair. We all lived in the same barracks and kind of went about our way. And then I'm getting notified by the investor than they will US Marine Corps was using the Navy's investigative team that the woman, one of the women that was with us was sexually assaulted after that night, and so I had to be interviewed because I was, you know, mentioned in the story as being present for that night. And I remember going into that interview I can, I mean, I remember the outside entrance, I remember walking and sitting down, and I remember them telling me things about her before they even asked me my questions about my story in a way that was just taking away from who she was as a human and making it so in order for me to be that good marine or to be, you know, one of us, we must almost kind of position our thoughts in the same way. And I remember that and I had, I had nothing of value to add to the story. I didn't see anything. I didn't hear anything. I went I just went right to my room. And so I didn't know that. I mean, I really couldn't add value, but I remember them planting those seeds that she was probably lying. She was probably promiscuous, and probably wasn't happening. And so the fact that that was happening and then I'm still seeing that happen today in the military really is kind of a standout lesson for me and watching that play out. It's hard. It's hard to watch that play out.


Amanda Huffman  26:12

Yeah, it's really hard. And I've, I've interviewed a handful of women who've been brave enough to share their sexual assault or rape story on the podcast. And that is like the part that makes me the most mad like the soul and the rape are like one thing, but then the leadership's reaction to like blaming the person not giving them the support they need and like causing more damage than the person's already facing. It really is frustrating, and it's really it really needs to change. And so I hope that with Vanessa's story, there can be justice for her and for all women to see change because it is a really big deal. And like someone might say, Oh, well, you know, they were just saying the truth. It's like, no, they weren't even they didn't even ask you the questions straight out. They were like, let me frame it for you. So that you know how to answer the questions. And that's really, I think that shows the big problem with like, the culture of the military.


Richelle Futch  27:07

Absolutely. And being a being a woman on the island was so we were such a minority. And so if we were friends with somebody who was automatically an outcast, then you're outcasted to and so being so young, and in that position where you're not quite sure, you're either, you know, you want to empower women, I wasn't even thinking about empowering women. What at 19, I was thinking about how am I fitting in? How am I surviving? How am I doing the things that I need to do? And so that was a big struggle.


Amanda Huffman  27:35

Yeah. That shows the importance of like, why it's so important for the culture of the military and the leadership to change because it's, it's rampant and it's a really big problem. And it's something that we need to talk about more. And so thank you for sharing your experience. And Laura, you're the next one,


Laura Schofield  27:54

Those are both hard stories, the thing that the story that has stuck with me the clearest and has affected my ability to be a spouse the most happened when I was in basic training. And we had a co Ed basic training our platoon was coed, we had no female drill sergeants, it was males, we had to wear clothes. I remember sleeping and clothes all the time, because the only place we could ever be undressed was the bathroom. Because any drill sergeant could come into our room at any time, there were no doors. And I remember there was another recruit who was just a weirdo. I mean, just kind of really out there. He wasn't allowed to be next to me, you probably should have been removed from the platoon. And I was just like, how could you be so and I ended up having to leave Bootcamp, like a couple days early to fulfill their requirements for high schoolers, because I had to be held the time to start my senior year of high school, and he stopped me and was like, aren't you gonna miss it here and I was like, You're gonna miss about, sorry, I was talking about. He's like, and you're gonna miss the food. And I was like, No, this is pretty much the worst food I've ever had in my life. And that was such a eye opening experience for me that there were people where this was the first time that they had had three hot meals, as gross as they were, you know, that they this mass produced, who knows if it was chicken patties was the best thing that they'd ever eaten. And I was going home to my comfortable house with loving parents who made sure that I didn't just have food but had vegetables and, you know, healthy proteins. And so that that's something that I've really taken with me into being a Marine Corps spouse, especially the spouse of someone who outranks people and know just to constantly remind people, you really don't go anywhere. Unless you sat down, talk to them, and you really don't know where they're coming from because for me, it was A great career option. It was a great way to pay for your college. But for some people, it was just an escape.


Amanda Huffman  30:04

Yeah. And that's one of the like positive aspects of the military is it really can change someone's life for the better. It can open doors, it can help pay for college, there are a lot of benefits. There are a lot of hardships, there are a lot of benefits. And I think that's one of the things like I had a really good upbringing, but I didn't have a way to get out of the town that I was living in and the military opened doors changed everything about that. So thank you for sharing your stories is they're really open and honest and really deep in such a short interview. So I'm really thankful for that. So for the last question, I always like to ask people what advice they would give to young women who are considering joining the military. It doesn't have to be positive. Some people say don't join some people say do but I always just like to hear what advice you have for women because I know a lot of women who listen to the podcast are looking into joining the military. 


Danielle Whalen  31:02

The biggest thing I think that I would say you've heard the expression if you don't stand for something you'll fall for everything. Know who you are know the reasons why you have a heart of service know that while he helped to shape in your value, your identity, your identity is not uniform that you wear. Your roots are deeper to that, that you have a value and a contribution in serving our country and that it's okay to say no. It's okay to challenge leadership. It's okay to stand up and for the people that love and care about and it'll make for better service. I think the culture that in the military is blindly answering yes by like surfing and it's okay to question ask and to learn from into that healthy curiosity. Healthy questioning helps our leadership and can help develop you.


Amanda Huffman  32:00

I think it's important to ask questions and also make sure your timing of when you ask the questions are Why are good because sometimes you need to follow orders because it's the military and but it's not it's okay to come to the leadership privately and afterwards ask like, why did this happen? Like, what's the reasoning I hated when I was a Second Lieutenant and I had to tell my airman to do something and they were like, but we don't want to do that. And I was like, Yeah, I don't want to do it either. And I have no idea why we're doing it, but like, I don't know, we just have to do it. And so it's okay to go back and ask the leadership in a respectful and never respectful when, like the why, and that's an important lesson learned. I think it's really hard when you first joined realize, like, you can go and ask why and learn you just have to do it the right way.


Danielle Whalen  32:48

Absolutely. And, and I just to throw on to that too. You know, there's a difference between a lawful order and an unreasonable or unethical order and know who your command tubes are I don't know, what you call them in the other branches but know who we are? Because doesn't feel right pressure instincts on that, that I just I always say trust on that. And if it doesn't feel right, yes, do it appropriately do it respectfully, but be okay with ask our question.


Amanda Huffman  33:18

So true. Richelle, your turn.


Richelle Futch  33:21

Yeah, so one of the things I always like to remember is that meaning and truth evolve over time. And so I can look back at my experience. And you know, and even thinking about how to bestow that down on the next generations and I know that they're not going to get the same value because it was learned over time for me. And without that time, they're not going to learn the same things. And so as a mental health counselor, now, my advice would be if you're thinking about joining, you know, take three sessions with a counselor outside of the school outside of the military and just get to know yourself, get to know your why. And make sure that you're on track and then do check it check ins follow ups to make sure that you're continue to do that. So you don't lose sight of that. And that as you grow and as you evolve, your plan can grow and evolve with you. And so take the time to really understand because if you're like I was where you just saw there was no other option and you weren't sure and you didn't have that guidance, you know, that's what that's what counselors can help you help you do. They can ask you those questions or they can say did you know this or have you seen that and they can give you that clarity will also just shining the light on the path that you're getting ready to walk to make sure that you see it clearly before you take those steps and so that's my advice.


Amanda Huffman  34:31

If you're someone listening and like you don't have a lot of money and you feel like the military is like your way out, are there free resources or discounted resources for mental health that you could share with people so that they know where to go?


Richelle Futch  34:43

I don't know but if you if they contact me personally, I will I anytime day or night I will help them find I will help them find someone I know some for already already active duty. I know some for veterans I know for military families as well, but I imagine that there are some things in their community and as a soldier coworker I get so much joy out of helping people find those services so they can reach out to me and they can do a Google search probably the even there, even their counselor in their schools can probably help guide them in that direction. So that would be my first stop is saying, This is what I need. And can you help me find that?


Amanda Huffman  35:16

That's awesome advice. And I'll have links to all of their contact information in the show notes. So if you want to reach out to anyone, but that's one of the struggles I found for women who are looking to join the military is there's like all this stuff for families and for veterans, but there's not like a better idea. It's a great resource, but it's not for people joining it's for veterans and so it's, it's something that I'm working on, like filling the gap, and that's a great reminder that mental health that's a that's a good thing to add. So I'm gonna I'm gonna add that to my list of projects.


Danielle Whalen  35:49

Can I just chime in with Richelle I'm also I'm also a clinical social worker therapist. Most communities have a community mental health ranges on the type of services, but they can always call their community mental health. And they will provide them with the resources in their area. It's one of the things that they're funded to do. So even if they can't accept your insurance or you don't qualify for their services, they're required to maintain that list of local providers 


Amanda Huffman  36:17

Such a great tool. Thank you. Oh, yeah, they their information will be in the show notes if you need to reach out and get more information. So lastly, Laura, what advice would you give to young women who are looking join the military?


Laura Schofield  36:29

My advice would be that don't let the stereotypes keep you or force you into it. I if you know me, personally, you know that I pretty much only wear skirts, and I like to have things pretty and living in the barracks, zero color just hurt myself. And so I wasn't the stereotypical girl at all. And I still did it. And, you know, memories that I have are many like as terrified of throwing a grenade because I'm I don't play sports. can't throw, you know, and I was standing there and there's giant giant guy sitting next to me. And he was the one crying. You know, they're like, this little girl can do it. And so you just don't even know what you're made of and tested. And, you know, I'm a lifelong anxiety sufferer, and I still get it. So just give yourself a little bit more credit and maybe thinking,


Amanda Huffman  37:26

Yeah, the military definitely pushes you to do way more things than you ever thought. And I like how they're like, no, you're gonna do this, you're like, but I don't want to. We didn't ask you because when I deployed, I had to go through so much training and I was like, I don't want to do this or like, we don't care. Get in a truck, go on the mission. Okay, so that's great advice. Thank you so much for taking time out of your guys's day to be on the podcast and Let's end it with one thing that you're excited about for the book and like why people should buy it.


Danielle Whalen  37:57

So I'm super excited for everyone to see the collaborative, the unifying, that goes again beyond the uniform itself, but this heart of service and sacrifice, that all these wonderful, extraordinary women have been brought together to share. And I really hope that it challenges our sense of community, that it's not military or civilian, are sisters keepers, and that we really need to start checking in with each other. Whether we're veterans, whether we're military, active duty military, spouses or family members, there is a unique challenge that these women face, and we need to be vigilant to be looking out for one another.


Amanda Huffman  38:42

Richelle your turn.


Richelle Futch  38:43

Yeah, I'm really excited. One, I'm excited as one of the authors in it, but I'm more excited for the readers to pick it up. And in those stories, to see a piece of themselves in those stories and to realize that they're not the only ones they're not alone and that there is a piece in there that's going to speak to them and they're going to know whatever they're going through, they can get through it, or that they're going to have something, it's going to be like a blanket of comfort that's just going to warm their hearts and get them through maybe a really rough day or a rough time. So I'm really excited for them to just have that connection.


Amanda Huffman  39:12

Hi, Laura, your turn. 


Laura Schofield  39:14

It's an incredible honor to be a part of the book. And I'm really excited. I was telling my husband yesterday, I hadn't been anyone's battle buddy in over 10 years. So this was really fun for me, but I'm most excited for people to kind of get to know our stories and to realize that the mom across the playground maybe has way more going on than you might think and just to kind of see troops and their spouses as more than a number but as individuals with with lives that with hurts and celebrations. And so that's that's really what I'm looking forward to.


Amanda Huffman  39:46

Yeah, I'm really excited. I'm so honored to be a part of the collaboration and the cover just makes me I just want to hold the book. I'm like so excited. Thank you so much. I've had a lot of fun talking to you guys and I can't wait for book it's gonna be launching on August 3, and everyone should go out and get a copy and I'll have the link to order in the show notes. Thank you.


Danielle Whalen  40:10

Thank you. 


Laura Schofield  40:10

Thank you Amanda


Richelle Futch  40:12

Thank you!


Amanda Huffman  40:19

Thank you for listening to this week's episode of women of the military podcast. Do you love all things women on the military podcast? Become a subscriber so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review. It really helps people find the podcast and helps the podcast to grow. Are you still listening? You can be a part of the mission of telling the stories of military women by joining me on patreon! at Patreon.com/womenofthemilitary or you can order my book Women of the Military on Amazon. Every dollar helps to continue the work I am doing. Are you a business owner? Do you want to get your product or service in front of the women of the military podcast audience get in touch with the Women of the Military podcast team to learn more all the links on how you can support women in the military podcasts are located in the show notes. Thanks again for listening and for your support.