He was just a cadet when I met him

“We met in 1969 and I fell madly in love with him right away. He was already at West Point, and I still remember how handsome he looked in his cadet uniform. Neither one of us was from a military family, so I didn’t know what to expect. Reality set in that he really was a soldier when we had to cancel our wedding. We’ve been married 41 years now, and for 33 of those years, I was an Army wife. Now, I’m an Army mom. 

“Both of our sons joined the military. They each seemed to know from an early age, especially our oldest, that they wanted to serve in the Army, like their dad. With their dad flying Apache helicopters and being well known for having fired the first shots of the Gulf War in 1991, that fostered a desire in them to be helicopter pilots. Our oldest son joined the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M and then our younger son decided to do the same thing. Both went on to flight school and eventually served in their dad’s former unit in the 101st Airborne Division. We are so proud of both of them. 

“9/11 changed everything for all of us who had someone in the military. My older son deployed for the first time to Afghanistan, and I had never been so afraid in my life. My husband was the Commander of the 101st Airborne Division at the time, the very division our son deployed with. Within two years, both our sons were in the same unit in Iraq. They would deploy together twice to Iraq and multiple times to Afghanistan. Certainly those were terrifying times for me. Approximately every other year we have at least one son deployed. When my husband was the Vice Chief of Staff for the Army, as Army parents ourselves, we were living what other families were living and that gave us such valuable perspective. Now, we feel the heartache of watching our sons leave their wives and their young children. 

“When the boys were first deploying, I needed a coping mechanism. I started writing. I wrote a booklet called ‘Your Soldier, Your Army… A Parent’s Guide.’ As I was helping others handle deployments, I was helping myself as well. Writing is what got me through. And I realized that we have such a unique story to tell, but it is one that every American can relate to. I combined all of those years that I was able to be an advocate for the military with our life together, and wrote a memoir. My book, Army Wife – A Story of Love and Family in the Heart of the Army, was released yesterday. It’s our love story, set against the backdrop of Army life. It’s love, life, loss, and the lessons that we’ve learned. It’s my journey as a woman, a wife, a mother, and grandmother. When we met, he was just a cadet, and he retired as a four star general. We did a lot of growing together, and I wanted to share those experiences. I want Americans to understand how our military families live – the upheavals, the challenges, the obstacles, and more than anything, the pure joy that comes with it.” 

To order Vicki’s book, visit www.vickicody.com

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