Pam Beagle, wife of Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. 'Beags' Beagle Jr., asks a question during the Military Spouse Appreciation Day event at the NCO Club May 7. The event highlighted, honored spouses' contributions to Fort Jackson. (Josephine Carlson)

By Josie Carlson, Fort Jackson Leader

First observed in 1984, Military Spouse Appreciation Day recognizes the importance of military spouses and their sacrifices. In his Military Spouse Appreciation Day proclamation, May 7, President Joseph Biden said, “Military spouses may not always wear a uniform, but they serve and sacrifice alongside their service members and keep our military strong.”

Fort Jackson Commanding General, Brig. Gen. Milford H. “Beags” Beagle Jr. and a panel of military spouses took this day to discuss resources available to spouses, specifically in terms of education, health care, and employment.

“Today we take time to honor the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices made by you. This year’s theme says it all, ‘So very thankful, incredibly grateful, and unbelievably blessed for military spouses,” said Marilynn Bailey, Army Volunteer Corps Program Manager.

The panel discussion was streamed live, and those participating virtually were able to submit questions in addition to the questions presented by the spouses on the panel.

Beagle spoke of the challenges of being married to a service member and achieving balance when a schedule can be very demanding.

“(Your spouse) is your coach, your counselor, the best critic ever, and also your best friend. Mine is to my left. She’s all of those things for me, she’s been all those things for me for thirty years,” Beagle said of his wife Pam, who was a member of the panel.

Representatives from offices within the Fort Jackson community spoke about the resources their organizations offer and also answered specific questions.

One representative was Fred Henley, School Liaison Officer, who spoke to the group about the help he offers for the different aspects of schooling, including transportation, registering for school or anything that needs to be improved within the school.

Another speaker, Annette McLeod, Family Advocacy Program manager, described the various programs available through Army Community Service including a new parent support program and victim advocacy.

“To the spouses, thank you for all your unconditional support to the Soldiers,” said Post Command Sgt. Maj. Philson Tavernier at the closing of the event. "As a Soldier, we can’t do what we do without your support … you truly keep us grounded, so thank you very much,” he said.

Beagle ended by reiterating the importance of the military spouse and thanked everyone who submitted questions.

“When you know that one person in your house has your back, you feel like Superman or Superwoman every single day when you leave the house, because you know when you come back to that house it is your safe place …” he said. “We appreciate you not just today, but every day.”