After receiving the Army Wife Handbook (2007), and flipping through it’s 432 pages, I was immensely grateful for the wealth of knowledge it provided on protocol and etiquette. It’s not for everyone. And more importantly, it doesn’t cover a lot of the most basic necessities of Army knowledge. It doesn’t give suggestions on how to deal with understanding the dynamics of separation and long distance relationships, or how to face your husband’s reintegration after deployment, or how to feel as calm as the face you put on by grounding yourself in your faith. It doesn’t really cover the one million and one sticky situations that come up in FRGs or how to strike the balance between by-the-book prim and proper and seeming too casual and disrespectful (because you will be judged for going too far in either direction, let’s be honest). Here are the best resources I have found to fill in the knowledge gaps.
This e-book and website are a collaboration between DCoE, PBS, and Blue Star Families, to help everyone who loves a service member understand what is going on, for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors.
Service Etiquette, 5th Ed (recommend buying used)
This is probably the most in-depth guide to military-related etiquette I’ve seen, and this most recent edition covers civilian life as well. If you can wonder it, this can answer it. Especially helpful for military weddings from addressing invitations with rank (who first, Dr. or Lt?) to the saber arch and guest seating.
Basics from the Barracks: Military Etiquette and Protocol (A Quick Guide) (Free download)
The spouses at the Army War College put together a basic guide in 2011, which covers convention as well as general etiquette. I, personally, couldn’t find whether to bring a hostess gift to a Christmas reception in Service Etiqutte and had to phone a friend. I wish I’d had this handy free pdf back then.
Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (by Jocelyn Green, $8.99 on Amazon)
A topical guide to the spiritual issues of military life with brief devotions by wives from all branches of service that include scripture and questions for reflections.
The U.S. Army Reset Handbook (Free download)
This 36 page pdf cover’s the Army’s guidance on physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health for soldiers and their families during the redeployment and post-deployment process.
This link includes free pdf download of the past decade of publications, including 4 great handbooks: the Spouses’ Battle Book, Company Commander’s Spouse Battle Book, A Leader’s Guide to Trauma in the Unit, The U.S. Army Care Team Handbook, and others.