Married to the Military
New columnists aim to aid --- and empower --- spouses
By Tara Crooks and Starlett Henderson - Special to the Times
Posted : September 24, 2007

Just who are Crooks and Henderson? Well, people have believed us to be anything from country singers to a consulting firm.

Admittedly, neither of us is the star of karaoke night. We are more comfortable under the consulting or support services section of your local listings. Look us up with an Internet search engine and you’ll find that we are an “unlikely pair,” “famous duo” or the “latest military spouse celebrities.”

Still haven’t heard of us?

In the last Married to the Military column, longtime columnists Kathie Hightower and Holly Scherer said farewell and welcomed us as their successors. So now, let us introduce ourselves.

We’re Tara Crooks and Starlett “Star” Henderson, military spouses on a mission to empower ourselves and those around us, learning from those willing to teach and mentoring those willing to learn. We are interested in connecting with other military spouses as we have connected.

Famous celebrities? Hardly, but we have been able to do some cool stuff in our short time working together. We have spoken to family readiness groups, been interviewed in the media, hosted our own “Field Exercise” workshop for Military Appreciation Month and more.

But how did we get here? We followed our dreams as we followed the military.

Our predecessors, Kathie and Holly, were instrumental in helping us bring about our true selves, empowering us to do more than sit on our dreams. Now, we have “changed command” and are suddenly their next generation.

Why do people say we are an unlikely pair? Well, we’re not sure if that’s what they say we are, or if we’ve stamped ourselves as “unlikely.” Either way, the differences are a long laundry list, from short hair to long hair, from introvert to extrovert and from active military wife to National Guard wife. An unlikely pair? Maybe. But it is what we share that brought us together.

Star here: Tara hosts Army Wife Talk Radio online. During my husband’s last deployment, I was searching the Internet for support. At first glance, the show did not seem to be relevant to the life I lived as a Guard spouse. So, I brought it to Tara’s attention. She embraced my perspective and, after a long interview and get-to-know process, we became business partners.

Tara here: I first met Star when she came to me to volunteer. She noted she was a Guard wife and I immediately started with “the questions.” I said I would love for her to volunteer, but wouldn’t a Guard wife immerse herself in military life only to up and leave when her husband came home? I am not sure I should have said that. Sixteen e-mails later, I knew I had met my match.

We know we are not the only ones who have made this kind of misstep. We admit resources may be different, experiences and locales are different, attitudes are different. But, there are commonalities between active and reserve experiences — important ones. We love a certain kind of person, a patriot. We walk a fine line of loving and cursing the military. We all have tips and tricks for managing the emotions evoked from living a military spouse’s life, which range from impatience, dread and feeling overwhelmed to loving hard and reunion elation.

We think our active and Guard experiences in particular will help us here as we empathize with and empower geographical bachelorettes, recruiting families, active spouses and reserve spouses — new and old alike.

We encourage you to write and share your experiences with us. We would love to hear your suggestions, ideas or thoughts as we embark on this journey of shared experiences with you.

Helping you is our dream, our calling, our mission. And we are glad for it.

Married to the Military is a monthly column from the Field Desk of Tara Crooks and Star Henderson. Crooks and Henderson are military spouses and co-authors of the syndicated column and Web site Crooks hosts the online broadcast Army Wife Talk Radio. Learn more at href="">