Branch: Space Force
Duty Station: Peterson Space Force Base
Number of Deployments: 1
Number of PCS's: 3
Share your military spouse story:
I've been a milspouse for 9 years with a recent transition from Army to Space Force. One thing I've learned is that life is made up of small-but-mighty moments of self-discovery, and I'd describe my military spouse life as exactly that. In one small-but-mighty moment when my husband proposed, I knew saying "yes" to him meant saying "yes" to a lifetime of unknowns, risks, and sacrifice as an army spouse. By saying "I do," I also decided to pursue my own dreams regardless of the challenges I'd encounter as a milspouse. So, I became a teacher and earned my Master's degree at our first duty station. Despite our PCSes, I stayed committed to my teaching career. A few years later, my identity changed further... I became a mom. Having my daughter, surviving our first deployment, discovering I had thyroid cancer, and continuing as a teacher, I struggled to find balance. To add to it all, three years later, I suffered a miscarriage. Anyone familiar with trauma of any kind knows it changes your entire perspective. This small-but-mighty awful moment taught me a hard life lesson. Hanging on by a mere thread, I held onto teaching, and a few months later, I was pregnant again. Finally, with this new scary-but-exciting moment, I quit my teaching job. I needed to be present for my family and myself. Fast forward two years later, and my life looks completely different. I'm a mother of two with a remote position, and I've spent the past couple of years volunteering with a military spouse organization. I also pursued my writing passion. Simultaneously, my husband transitioned to the Space Force! Sure, I'm still a military spouse, a mom, a virtual assistant, and a writer, but most of all, I now identify as empowering, loving, motivating, and kind. I decided that my identity was much more than a job title... it was the build-up of all these small-but-mighty moments. Now, I'm on a mission to help others rediscover who they are when they aren't tied to a certain identity.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
For the past three years, I've served as Director of Empowerment with the nonprofit organization, Mission: Milspouse (formerly known as Army Wife Network). I am a part of the speaking committee and a cohost on the podcast. I also help with recognizing and awarding spouses, service members, and other nonprofit organizations that empower and make a difference in the military community. I also host a book club and plan events for the team as well as help with the onboarding process of new volunteers within the organization. In the past, for a short while, I've been an SFRG leader and Key Caller, but I never really felt like I was making much of an impact until I began working and volunteering with Mission: Milspouse!
Describe your involvement in the military community:
Similar to my leadership experience, my involvement in the military community has been primarily with Mission: Milspouse. I've also taken huge leaps to reach out to other spouses through local military Facebook groups and made some really great, lifelong friends. I've planned painting parties, book clubs, coffee dates, and nights out with fellow military spouses. I've met some other spouses within my neighborhood or when I'm simply out and about. For example, while getting my hair done by a milspouse friend, I overheard another girl say she was a military spouse, so I instantly decided to connect with her. I've discovered making connections and building a supportive community are truly the best ways to be actively involved within the military and military spouse community. Somewhat related, but I'm also a Social Media Assistant for a company that does some work with airmen NCOs, navigating leadership roles and reducing the risk of soldier suicide.
Describe how you support your community:
I've done a lot of the behind-the-scenes work with transitioning "Army Wife Network," a podcast and support group that started in 2005, to a much more inclusive of all branches and all support members, nonprofit, "Mission: Milspouse." Our main focus still resides on military spouses, with intention of our blogs and podcasts to relate to spouses of any race, gender, age, or background. Furthermore, we've extended our mission to reach out to support members of service members, such as extended family members, close friends, parents, children, and more! We wanted to advocate for all voices and for those of or related to any branch of service to feel heard, seen, and valued. Because of my volunteer work with them, I've made some truly great friendships with spouses or relatives in ALL branches of service.
What do you advocate for? Why?
As evident in the work I do, I'm a huge advocate for empowerment and self-care. I want other milspouses, and moms alike, to know that it's okay to change your mind, try a new career, or pursue a passion. Oftentimes, as both a military spouse and a mom, I know how easy it can be to put everyone else's needs and wants above my own. But, a lesson I've learned is that you cannot pour from an empty cup. Self-care is not selfish! We are still our own people who can achieve goals, dream big, and make ourselves a priority. My spouse is about to serve his second deployment, and I'll continue to share that even though I'm having to navigate solo parenting, I can still make time for myself and not have to put my dreams and goals on hold. Even though we are military spouses who must support our spouse's careers first, it doesn't mean ours should not or cannot exist. Despite how isolated we can all feel at times, my main goal is to let others know they are not alone in this military life journey.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I've spread this message mostly through my role as Director of Empowerment in Mission: Milspouse, but also with my own military friends and community on social media. Over the past almost-three years, I've spread this message weekly on the Mission: Milspouse podcast and through networking. I have also done a few Military Empowerment Moments where I've had a chance to speak via Facebook and Instagram Lives about encouraging topics regarding having your own career, living your best milspouse mom life, navigating difficult choices, practicing resiliency (we all needed that one in 2020), and how change can be empowering! In my 9 years of being a military spouse, I've always shared my journeys of highs and lows, the fun and the struggles, with my community as I firmly believe in the power and beauty of transparency.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
If I were to receive the AFI Military Spouse of the Year title, I hope to accomplish awareness and the power of support in the military community. We are all called and brought to this journey for a multitude of reasons, but underneath it all, we all share the same struggles. With further recognition or not, my goal is to provide hope, support, and empowerment to others. It only takes one person in one small-but-mighty moment to make a difference.
Amanda is an encourager if I have ever met one. Her enthusiasm for life empowers everyone she meets; a short conversation with her will make you laugh and brighten your day.
In the years that I've known Amanda, it is evident that she is not afraid to do hard things. She has courageously faced a major career transition, and the epic rebranch of her husband from Army to Space Force! She is an amazing mama, wife, friend, and volunteer.
She is currently serving as Director of Empowerment at Mission: Milspouse, and she is undoubtedly living up to that title on the daily. Adding Military Spouse of the Year would simply be icing on an already beautiful cake for what she does for the military spouse community.
- by Sharita Knobloch