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Welcome to episode 16 of Women of the Military Podcast. In today’s episode, your host Amanda Huffman interviews Elaine Brye.
When you join the United States military, you don’t just sign up for duty; you also commit your loved ones to lives of service all their own.
No one knows this better than Elaine Brye, an “Army brat” turned military wife and the mother of four officers—one each in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. For more than a decade she’s endured countless teary goodbyes, empty chairs at Thanksgiving dinners, and sleepless hours waiting for phone calls in the night. She’s navigated the complicated tangle of emotions—pride, worry, fear, hope, and deep, enduring love—that are part and parcel of life as a military mother.
In Be Safe, Love Mom Elaine braids together her own personal experiences with those of fellow parents she’s met along the way. She offers gentle guidance and hard-earned wisdom on topics ranging from that first anxious goodbye to surrendering all control of your child, from finding comfort in the support of the military community and the healing power of faith to coping with the enormous sacrifices life as a military mother requires. Readers looking for encouragement and hard-to-come-by information as they travel the challenging road of having a child in uniform will find Elaine a wise and trusted friend and Be Safe, Love Mom an essential handbook to membership in a strong and special sisterhood.
Military Life- Military Child…ROTC…Mom
Elaine talks about her journey to military life. It started with her being the reason her mother left the military as women were not allowed to serve when they were pregnant. Her mom left the military, but her dad continued to serve throughout her childhood. And although she drifted away from the military in college ended up being drawn back and attended the Reserve Officer Training Corps program that had just opened up to women and almost commissioned into the Air Force until her final medical physical determined she wasn’t qualified medically for military service.
Her commander left her with this advice, “Don’t ever think these two years of training has been wasted. You will use this over and over again in your future life.” Not knowing she would become a mom of four kids who all joined the military. She didn’t know how true the words he spoke to her that day would be. And she is grateful that background and experience to prepare her to be a military mom.
Her son attended the Naval Academy and his freshman (plebe) year 9/11 happened. It changed the course of the rest of the family. When he graduated he joined the Marines and is an F-18A fighter pilot. Her second son also joined and attend the Naval Academy and is a Flight Officer. Her daughter was accepted to both the Naval and Air Force Academy. And while she attended the Naval Academy, she cross-commissioned into the Air Force. You can hear her story here in Episode 15. Her final son attended ROTC and joined the Army.
But Elaine has also had a chance to be overseas.
She spent a month in Kabul while her husband was working for an Afghan airline. This event inspired her to come back as a teacher. Her inspiration came from the children to come back and teach at as a Science teacher in Kabul for a year.
After some encouragement she decided to write Be Safe, Love Mom a book for military moms and for those outside of the military community to understand what it is like to be connected to the military. I have had a chance to read it and I loved reading the perspective of a mom. I haven’t ever talked to my mom about the emotion behind being a military mom. Hearing the story of Elaine and the perspective she adds from others was moving and helped me understand what it is like to be a parent of a military member.
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