In the military: ‘When they say go, you go’

Emily Schroer

Some people wish nothing more than to travel and see the world. However, those who are committed to not only a spouse but to the military as well, often get little more than a few days notice to pack up their life and move across the country, or the world.

Mckenzie Hubbard, who is engaged to Sgt. Nicolas Alvarado-Lopez in the U.S. Marine Corps Artillery Unit, said that over a six-month time frame, she went from a typical college student to prospective Marine wife.

She was attending college in Springfield, Missouri, when she met Alvarado-Lopez, who was stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

One weekend while her mother was traveling to Missouri from the Ames area, where Hubbard is originally from, Alvarado-Lopez received notice that he had two days to pack up and move to Hawaii.

“In the military, if they say go, you go,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard was not yet married to Alvarado-Lopez, so the military would not pay the fees for Hubbard to move to Hawaii. Hubbard stayed behind to sell her apartment and car, pack all of her belongings and transfer all of her classes online so she could accompany Alvarado-Lopez to Hawaii.

“The hardest part is my family being thousands of miles away, and there is a five-hour time difference, so to talk to them is hard sometimes,” Hubbard said.

Diane McCarthy, who was married to a Navy veteran, is also a Navy veteran herself. She and her ex-husband met in the Navy in the early 1970s. Originally living in London, McCarthy’s husband was transferred to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

After two years at Pearl Harbor, McCarthy’s family was transferred to Japan. McCarthy said that it was fun to live in different countries. They got to learn a little from each language, which included shoe sizes for her children and how to stop a taxi cab.

But it was somewhat of a struggle to learn how to drive on the other side of the road.

“[Being transferred every two years], it wasn’t too bad for me,” McCarthy said. “The kids found friends and adjusted. The military has so many people with different cultures, and all the kids are just mashed together.”

McCarthy said that her favorite place to live was in Japan. They lived across from the school, and she worked part time at a bank. They had friends in the neighborhood and they would attend football games and concerts.

“[Living in the military], you are mother and father,” McCarthy said. “The kids are without their father a lot and you just have to adjust. We just had to deal with whatever is thrown at us.”

Mary Ann Lundy, who is married to retired Maj. Paul Lundy, spent 1967 through 1969 in Germany, where her husband was stationed. When Paul Lundy was drafted into the military because of the Vietnam War, the family was not allowed to live on base because he was not a career officer.

Lundy recalls having her husband gone for six weeks at a time. He was sent to guard the boarder. While her husband was gone she remembers how she and some of the other wives would sometimes go and travel.

“I used to always say it was three wives, two children and a Volkswagen heading Tuscany,” Mary Lundy said.

Paul Lundy spent two years in active duty and then finished the next 18 in the reserves. This meant that when the Lundys moved back to Iowa, Paul Lundy commuted from Ames to Chicago on weekends.

Now having just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, Mary Lundy thinks about how it was a great two years of her life spent in Germany.

“If you would have told me when I was living in Ames, Iowa, that I was going to be living in Hawaii, I would have laughed,” Hubbard said.