How to Find Your Military Community No Matter Where You Are

by | May 18, 2022 | Articles, Blog, Community, PCS / Moving

Military community is an important part of the military life you live. Being part of a military community helps connect you with other military families, get support from families living in similar circumstances, and learn from each other. But what happens if a military spouse doesn’t live on a base, or even near a base? How can a military family have a military community if they do not live on base or are not assigned to a military base? Many military families are geographically isolated and may not have neighbors who are active military or veterans. They may not have access to base resources due to where they are assigned. Yet even within civilian communities, you can find a strong military community.

We are a National Guard family and do not live near a base, however, we are surrounded by incredible civilian and military communities. At times, I have wondered what it would be like to live on a base, or even near a base, and to have military families surrounding us. Yet, within our local community, we have connected with military families. We have connected with our National Guard military community and other in-person military and even online military communities. Our lives have been greatly enriched through the years. I am grateful for the amazing relationships the past sixteen years as a military spouse have given me and my family!


History fascinates me, especially the resiliency of military spouses from the past. Growing up, most of our family vacations were based around visiting historic locations, usually forts and battlegrounds. I grew up watching old war movies, especially about World War II. These stories were incredible, showing both the sacrifice of those serving far from home and those supporting the Home Front. I was impacted by learning about the sacrifice and community of those on the Home Front and they have been my inspiration as a military spouse.

After the attack at Pearl Harbor, sixteen million Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces, with some volunteering and some being drafted. Their sacrifice inspired the country, and everyone was touched by war as it impacted everyone’s lives. Communities came together with a common purpose to support the war effort. People volunteered for War Bond drives, knitted needed items for the troops, collected scrap to reuse, grew Victory Gardens, and helped the USO and other organizations. Neighbors came together to support each other and Blue and Gold Star families.


While our family may not collectively experience the WWII Home Front, we can get involved where we are and create a Home Front around us because having a local community is important. We are so grateful for where we live, with family nearby, amazing neighbors, friends, small businesses, library, schools, and our town. Being connected to a community and getting to know so many incredible people is a blessing. If we are connected to the people in our community, we are connected to our community as a whole. Since we do not PCS every two to three years as a National Guard family it makes these connections easier. However, it doesn’t matter how long a person lives somewhere to make those connections. Volunteering in your local community is a great way to meet and connect with others, as well as signing up for a course or a book club at the local library or attending a function at a local organization. You can also find ways to get involved in issues at a local level, from city cleanups or beautification efforts, food collection drives, or donations of needed items all help connect you more to the community you live in. Getting to know others right where you are can be as easy as a smile and saying “hello” and asking how someone’s day is. Slowly building on interactions, being friendly, and showing gratitude to those in your life can also build connections. You never know when these efforts in your civilian community might reveal a military community.

For me, striking up conversations with people has opened up a local military community. A fellow special needs mom and I connected even more after discovering our military connection while sitting together in a waiting room at the Children’s Rehab during years of our children’s speech, physical, and occupational therapies. At church, friendships formed quickly after meeting military spouses who had recently PCSed to the area, and who also had children with special needs. A trip to the ER led to meeting a military spouse who worked at the hospital after I said we had TRICARE, and later saw each other at a school function right as Covid-19 was shutting everything down. She became an angel for our family, picking up lunches at the school and dropping them off at our house, helping when I had a horrible migraine with time and bags and bags of groceries. While waiting for dance class to let out, a military spouse and I were able to quickly connect during a conversation where we each were saying that our husbands missed the dance recital due to their military service. And there are so many others.


Whether you live on a base or far from the nearest base, you can still be part of the military community. If your unit has a Family Readiness program, you can connect with other military families. Even though families may be spread out across a region or state, and some may even live states away, with technology, phone calls, and in-person events, strong connections can be formed. If time and distance allow, going to events can help connect you, or even just reading the emails and newsletters can help you feel more connected. Knowing that others are there going through the same things can make a big difference, even if we never actually meet. Some of our dearest friends and many other wonderful people are in our lives because of the units my husband has served in, and we are incredibly grateful!

In addition to unit events, our state has amazing resources and programs for service members and their families. There is even a specific program for military kids who live across the state. The local USO has events, programs, free tickets, and opportunities that open connections with military families. There are many incredible military support organizations that are across the country and overseas. All it takes is for you to reach out, which sometimes is hard to do. I used to feel like I was taking away from other families if I used a resource, but then someone told me that if we don’t use these resources, they may not be there tomorrow. And again, incredible friendships and meeting wonderful people have grown out of connecting with these organizations that strengthen our military community!

Another great military connection are Veteran Service Organizations. VSOs are in nearly every community and have meetings, gatherings, celebrations, and camaraderie. We can meet local military and veteran families while supporting the incredible advocacy that Veteran Service Organizations do. Our local VFW, American Legions, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, and many other Veteran Service Organizations are right in our local community. Paying a nominal annual membership fee not only builds our military community, but also those dollars are used to advocate for military and veterans’ issues at the state and national levels!

While I am incredibly inspired by the past, I am grateful for all we have in this present day. One tremendous extra blessing that is available now is the power of connecting through technology. At your fingertips is an incredible opportunity to interact with people around the world. You can join online support groups, military spouse book clubs, take part in Zoom meetings, take classes, and so much more! With a click of a button, you have connections that military spouses of the past could only dream of. You can also find your military community online through the many nonprofit military support organizations that offer peer-to-peer support, mentoring, courses, and training, as well as online groups where you can connect with other spouses.

Whatever your specific interest, you can probably find a community to join and even volunteer with! Here are just a few: The Military Spouse Advocacy Network provides peer-to-peer mentoring; Military Wild connects military families and the great outdoors (they might even have a chapter near you!); Lizann Lightfoot from The Seasoned Spouse has a Facebook Group for deployment support; Inspire Up has a mission to unite the military and civilian communities; and of course, InDependent is a virtual space where you can find wellness resources and community! From the annual InDependent Wellness Summit and the online Wellness Lounge community to the resources and articles on the website, military spouses around the world can connect, grow together, and become a strong military community in this online space! And all you have to do is reach out.


Elizabeth Fought has been married for sixteen years to her husband, who is a soldier in the Ohio Army National Guard. They love being a military family and have four children, from ages fourteen to seven. She loves volunteering, reading, learning, and history, and is especially inspired by the resiliency of those on the WWII Home Front. She is grateful for the many wonderful resources and organizations that support the military and veteran communities!


InDependent makes wellness accessible and creates opportunities for all military spouses to connect for friendship, accountability, and inspiration.

We envision a time when all military spouses thrive through connection to community and resources that results in healthy decision-making for themselves and their families.