Was it a fluke? It very well could have been. I’ll never really know, but I do know this- that very same weekend other spouses in the area complained of the same situation. In my mind it was only logical to think that someone was paying close attention to milspouses.
The first thought to go through my head was “what just happened?” This has never happened in all our years of service and to me there was no coincidence that it happened the very first weekend I was alone. Someone was paying attention and I didn’t notice. Someone put the pieces together that I may have left behind, and no matter what the motive, someone was prepared to enter my home with us in it. It was a devastating blow to my ego, but a much needed reality-check.
By the grace of God, nothing further happened. I truly believe my dogs helped save our lives that day. It may sound dramatic, but I have to assume the worst was a possibility. To spare you the finer details, I of course took the appropriate actions that follow and alerted the authorities, my husband’s chain of command, and of course, my husband. Now that I look back, I cannot imagine the horror of the decision he had to make: do I stay here and risk my family’s safety for the advancement of my career, or do I go home? I felt horrible to have put him in that position. Being the independent milspouse that I am, I asked him to stay and continue his training. I had several friends and unit members who were already coming to my aid; there was no need for him to return at that time. We both immediately decided to scrub our social media accounts and pay more attention to any vulnerability we may have missed.
From that day forward, I re-learned that even though I am not directly in the line of fire alongside my service member, I am always in the fight at home. I too must remain trained, informed, prepared, and vigilant, for those who wish to gain information or do harm. As difficult as it is to share this event with others, I felt it necessary to drive the following point about how to stay safe at home: there are real threats involved in being a service member’s spouse whether the nation is at war or not. Do not take your status for granted and do not dismiss that OPSEC can help save lives.
Every unit has some type of family readiness program. I always encourage spouses of all kinds to dismiss any negativity they may have heard and try it for themselves. This is the place you will meet your spouse’s chain of command, meet other spouses you can lean on for support, and receive training on all things relevant to being a milspouse. If you absolutely cannot get out of the house, then there are valid Department of Defense approved websites like Military One Source that can help you learn more about OPSEC and every area of military life.
Be involved, stay connected, and talk with your service member about these things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And above all… be safe!