What is a Coast Guard Wife?
She's totally feminine, yet at times we see her mowing the lawn, balancing
checkbooks or fixing a leaky faucet. She comes in all shapes and sizes -
tall, small, petite and robust. On occasion, she's a little pregnant but she's
always at our side when we need her.
Her children may be born in many different places in this world. She measures
time in terms of duty stations as other women use years (it was in Cape May
when young Tom was born, or that was when Dad made Lieutenant, when we
were in the Fourteenth).
She was alone, her husband at sea, when her child was born or when the movers
came and she wondered why he had to be so far away when she needed him so
She draws her inner strength from many sources. Some are country girls, some
from cities, some even from foreign lands. She may be a nurse, a teacher or a
secretary but the bond she shares with everyone here today is that she is a Coast
At times she must be an actress. When transfer time rolls around, she must put
on an academy award winning performance. She must tell her children, "California
is going to be fantastic, there's a Disneyland and Marineland, Redwood forests and
new friends; we are going to have such great fun!" At the same time quietly standing
behind her husband as he wonders whether he can handle this new assignment.
All the time she knows that no one really wants to leave and everyone is just a little
apprehensive about this whole thing. In her heart she silently wonders if it is worth
the sacrifice, but she goes.because she is a Coast Guard wife.
It is said of such a woman that she must have the patience of an angel, the
stubbornness of a mule, the stamina of a horse and the wisdom of Solomon.
She carries her memories in an old footlocker.in a shoebox are old photographs
she still intends to mount someday. She knows she is number two to her rival:
The ever demanding, always satisfied mistress called Duty. When she is alone
on those nights she must silently wonder again, is it worth the sacrifice?
She has accepted the permanency of a Gypsy, the state of the gentile
impoverished, the frustrations of conformity and the emptiness of loneliness.
As she sits amid the packing boxes, with little ones crying around her, worrying
about what her next home will be like and how good the schools will be, she
must again wonder if it is worth the sacrifice, and then she remembers just how
much we depend on her. how much we rely upon her so we may indulge ourselves
in our careers and she knows she made the right choice.
Ladies, I have the very great privilege to be here today to speak for the males in
these Coast Guard uniforms. We salute you, our companions, our lovers, and our
best friends. But most of all we thank you.for being a Coast Guard wife.
submitted by John & Bobbie Kennedy