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Rona Wiggins, Marine wife with Marine Medium Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, claps following a line dance during a Military Spouse Appreciation Night at the Bob Hope Theater aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9. The celebration highlighted the homefront heroes of the air station and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. The event, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, featured pampering and entertainment provided by local companies, followed by a stand-up comedy performance by the author of “Confessions of a Marine Wife,” Mollie Gross.

Photo by Cpl. Michelle Piehl

Committed to the Corps: Military Spouse Appreciation Night

13 May 2014 | Cpl. Michelle Piehl

In honor of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, a night of pampering, fun and laughter was held at the Bob Hope Theater aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., May 9.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day honors the silent ranks of military husbands and wives nationally on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Marine Corps Community Services, local businesses and volunteer organizations gathered to give back to those whose efforts are both seen and unseen: the committed and engaged spouses throughout the air station and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

“We wanted to do an event to honor and say thank you to all the military spouses for everything they do,” said Clarissa Jose, Family Readiness Program branch head aboard MCAS Miramar.

 Several vendors set up outside the theater offering chair massages, complementary hair and makeup touch-ups, group photos, food and drinks, palm readings, caricature drawings and opportunities to purchase jewelry and fragrances. The event featured Julie Garibay and Nathan Garibay, owners of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios on Clairemont Mesa, who showed off their dance moves, as well as lead spouses in line-dances. Spouses could also enter to win prize packages in a raffle, with a grand prize valued at more than 800 dollars.

“It gives us a time to network together and celebrate the importance we play in the mission,” said Cyndi Stamps, a Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 spouse and recent awardee of the 2014 Irene Ferguson Marine Wife Recognition Award and the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Spouse of the Year Award for MCAS Miramar.

Stamps said she attended the event to see the featured entertainer, Mollie Gross, whose insightful military humor entertained hundreds of spouses during an hour-long performance.

In her stand-up comedy routine, Gross painted a vivid picture of the plights of marrying into the military, explaining about learning the quirks and traditions of life on base, recognizing the cycle of sacrifice and bliss associated with deployments and homecomings, and recalling the interesting people she met along her journey.

Gross’ experiences stem from marrying an infantryman stationed out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and living in Los Angeles. Gross announced that her husband and she are expecting their first child, which she turned into relatable and laughter-filled comedy for the audience. Following her performance, Gross signed autographs, posed for photos and promoted her book, “Confessions of a Military Wife.”

“Truly, we’re just thrilled to be able to give back to our military spouses and say thank you for what they do,” said Tania Monahan, Marine and Family Programs director.

 In a presidential statement issued by the American Forces Press Service, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 9, 2014, as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. An excerpt from his statement reads:

“Our military spouses embody ideals we cherish: strength, loyalty and commitment. They stand beside those who stand behind our flag, giving their all and making tremendous sacrifices. They shoulder the burdens of countless moves and stressful deployments, and they uphold their end of the bargain. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we celebrate the force behind the force and show these homefront heroes the full support of a grateful nation.”

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing