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Sgt. Christopher Prior, a 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing noncommissioned officer and Cedar Rapids, Iowa native, speaks to Marines, sailors, spouses and families during an evening colors ceremony honoring military spouses aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 21. During the ceremony Prior spoke about what it means to be a spouse in the military before introducing the guest of honor, who has spent 41 years as a military spouse.

Photo by Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot

3rd MAW sergeant leads evening colors ceremony dedicated to military spouses

15 Jun 2013 | Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., honored military spouses during an evening colors ceremony

As part of a committed and engaged leadership initiative, which empowers small unit leaders to carry out complex command priorities, Sgt. Christopher Prior, a 3rd MAW noncommissioned officer and a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native, acted as the reviewing officer during the ceremony, a job typically held by senior officers.
Prior coordinated all the logistical support, sent invitations and ran the ceremony, doing everything an officer would do for events of this nature.

During the event, he spoke to Marines, sailors, spouses and families about what military spouses do for the Marine Corps and what it means to lead the ceremony.

“It’s truly an honor to have this opportunity, not many NCOs get the chance to represent their peers for an occasion such as this,” said Prior. “My wife has always been by my side no matter what, and everything she does for me is special. She understands that I might not be home at a set time every night, but she supports me regardless.”

Prior explained that anyone who takes on the challenges of becoming a military spouse is a hero. 

Guests listened to his experiences before hearing remarks from Vicky Steele, the guest of honor and wife of Col. Wayne Steele, the logistics officer-in-charge for 3rd MAW, who spoke about her own experiences as a military spouse for 41 years.

“I love being the wife of a Marine and supporting the service that I am so proud of,” said Vicky. “I’m excited to be the guest of honor, and I hope I really am worthy to be called that.”

While doing everything she could to support her own family, Vicky also offered advice to other spouses who might need it.

“[As a spouse,] just be there to support your service member, because they are what hold this country together,” said Vicky. “There will be times when you will be apart from each other due to a deployment, but having that service member know that you are holding things down at home allows them to carry on doing their job to the best of their ability.”

Col. Steele also understands the importance of having a supportive spouse.

“Spouses do a great deal for Marines, other service members and the community - mainly keeping us grounded,” said Steele. “My wife, for example, works with families, at the [Lifestyles Insights Networking Knowledge and Skills] center with other spouses, in the community with the Boy Scouts; she’s just always doing what she can to help those around her.”

Mrs. Steele is as valuable an asset to the community as she is to her family.

“My wife is kind of like my backbone; she keeps me going and fighting,” said Steele. “We’ve raised four sons together, and when I say ‘we,’ I mean she raised four sons. The reason being, I’ve been deployed multiple times, leaving her to take care of our family while I’ve been gone. People call her ‘Momma Vicky’ because it isn’t just our kids she takes care of, it’s other kids with deployed parents as well. She is as much a part of the Marine Corps as I am, in my opinion.”

With the sun setting in the distance, Prior ended the ceremony with closing remarks. having given the crowd of Marines, sailors and families a renewed appreciation for what it means to support the military as a spouse.