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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Air Force Definitions | ALS. A Whole New Spin on Work-Widowhood

It's been so long since I gave my civilian readers a glimpse into the inner workings of our Air Force adventure. In part because there isn't usually much adventure going on.

But finally, FINALLY. The moment you've been waiting for. Another acronym EXPLAINED!

ALS = Airman Leadership School

Oh wait there's another one that's important to this conversation...

NCO = Non-Commissioned Officer

So, Jesse passed his super tough test for Staff Sergeant (great job Babe!) in which he has to study a whole bunch of boring AF stuff (sorry Air Force, but it's true) (mostly because I unfairly get to study super interesting stuff [to me] like photography, while my poor husband is studying Air Force regulations.) I'm so proud of him for getting Staff! It's the first promotion that you have to test for. Once you promote, you are an NCO at your squadron, with more responsibilities. From what I understand, the main one is that you become a supervisor of troops. I think.

[I sometimes worry that actual Air Force folks are going to read this blog and laugh at me and/or judge me for getting things wrong. But shhhhh don't burst my military spouse bubble. I'm doing the best I can with all of your acronym-happy lingo!]

Now a lot of folks I know have already gone through the first step of becoming an NCO. The general consensus from fellow military wives is that it sucks. 

It kind of feels lame for us as spouses to complain about things like this. I mean, we aren't the ones who actually have to pass the tests, right? But anyone who's ever had a spouse in school (or in any stressful situation for that matter) knows that it doesn't matter what you do, the squeeze of that pressure is felt by the whole family.

So it kind of went like this:

J: "I got Staff!"
me: "WOOHOOO THAT'S AMAZING YOU ROCK I KNEW YOU COULD DO IT!!!!!" (I most certainly talk like this when excited)
J: "So I'll have to go to ALS before I sew on"
me: "Awesome! what's that is again?"
J: "Five weeks of leadership school."
me: "Sweet...when does it happen?"
J: "Depends. Maybe in a few months."
(two days later)
J: "Hey SURPRISE! I start ALS right-now-so-drop-everything-and-panic!"

Just kidding Jesse never panics. That's all me. And he didn't actually start right away... we had like a week's warning. So many AF wife lessons have made me better able to just roll with it. There's the momentary shock, the quick glance at the calendar to see how much flexibility this is going to require, and then you're back to whatever you're doing. Because worry won't make it better.

We're into week two of ALS. And I'm definitely already feeling like an ALS-widow. Kirsten prepared me as best she could but seriously... the best way I can describe it is that it's like tech school on steroids. It feels like he's at work for 14 hours and then when he finally gets home he has three binders work of homework to do.

Thank God it's only five weeks. And thank God I have the New York Institute of Photography course to work on. (Which by the way is a thousand times more interesting than military protocol)

To everyone who's ever gone through ALS ever: I salute you. It does not look like fun and I do not envy you.

To my husband: I love you. And I will make you your very own cheesecake when this is all over ;o)


  1. 2 weeks done! this is no easy gig for the two of you, but, I think you both have what you need to push through the rest--
    thanks for supporting your man and caring for those two beautiful grand girlsies, Jessica.
    love you much xoxoxoxo

    1. Thanks Toni! We're hanging in there. I think I might need my own cheesecake, too ;o)

  2. I think that's a great idea! id make one a day for you if I could ;) love you much

    1. haha well I'm sure my waistline would suffer I'm not sure my taste buds would mind cheesecake for breakfast every day!