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Searching for coffee talk
Notes from almost-military wife
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Throughout high school, college and beyond, my most treasured memories are of chatting over coffee with “the girls.” We were a close group of women who had known each other for years and who shared everything. But several months ago, I found myself at a loss. I had recently moved to Savannah to join my fiancé at Hunter Army Airfield, and while I was thrilled that we would be together, I quickly realized that I was unprepared for the challenges of my new life as a soon-to-be Army spouse. Suddenly, I had to adjust not only to an unfamiliar city, but also to an unfamiliar lifestyle that included deployments and a veritable dictionary of military abbreviations.  With my old girlfriends no longer within driving distance, who could I turn to for help over a cup of coffee? Where could find other young women who could relate?  
To start my search for “coffee talk,” I asked Carrie (no her real name), a young mother of three living on Fort Stewart, about her experiences. She told me the Army offers a variety of resources for newcomers, including women’s social groups. She said, “There are Family Readiness Groups that meet monthly, as well as playgroups for kids where moms can meet each other, but I don’t think they do as much as they could. I know that they also have some women’s social groups, but with three kids it’s too hard for me to find the time to sit around and socialize.” Carrie also said that although she has lived on Fort Stewart for nearly a year, she found it hard as a newcomer to integrate into some of the Army clubs, which were based around already well-established social groups.  Adding to the difficulty of meeting female friends was the challenge of simply figuring out where to find information. She said, “I don’t think that they (women’s social groups) are very well publicized, but if you contact your unit, they should be able to point you in the right direction.”
With Carrie’s advice in mind, I went to the Web site of the 3rd Infantry Division, which has a page dedicated to newly arrived soldiers and their families, It provides useful information for families planning a move to Fort Stewart/HAAF, but not much about social programs. The Web site of the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) office, at, seemed more promising. A link on their main page took me to a monthly activities calendar packed with sports, trips, fitness classes and children’s activities. However, since I still didn’t see any social groups on the calendar, I began to wonder if my “coffee talk” search had been in vain. Then I noticed a listing for Army Community Service (ACS), which mentioned orientation and support groups. Was this the answer?
I called the ACS office at HAAF (912-315-6816) and spoke with a friendly staff member who offered to send me a welcome packet with details about programs designed to help military spouses (and almost-spouses) get acquainted with each other and with military life. She said that the Hunter Spouses Club is the largest and most active social group at HAAF. They offer a variety of parties, get-togethers and fundraisers. There also are social groups based around more specific interests, such as the Protestant Women of the Chapel, and Foreign Born Spouses, which meets at HAAF on the second Tuesday of each month. In addition to social groups, there also are AFTB classes, which teach family members some common military lingo and abbreviations. The staff member also advised me to visit, the Web site of the Army Integrated Family Support Network, which provides more details about military family and spouse support programs.  
So now, armed with my new knowledge of Army resources, finding “coffee talk” won’t be so hard after all. I plan on attending some ACS programs, and would like to invite other newcomers to join me.  Perhaps we can get some coffee afterwards.
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