Marybeth Wiener

Branch: Marine Corps

Duty Station: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Number of Deployments: 7

Number of PCS's: 10

Share your military spouse story:
My journey as a military spouse commenced with laughter and love. Once a carefree couple, the revelation of my partner joining the Marine Corps signaled our first separation. Parris Island became the backdrop of our initial military chapter, where graduation meant no hugs—only his mother was allowed such privilege, dictated by Marine Corps rules. The subsequent year led us to Officer Candidate School (OCS), solidifying this life. Our engagement followed six years of courtship, but then he left the Marine Corps, only to return, breaking off our engagement and propelling me into a realm of resilience. Marriage ensued, marking the beginning of a global journey. Our first stop: Okinawa, where I became an integral part of the international officers' wives club. My role as a mammographer and supervisor, managing lab accreditation, and making vital medical decisions showcased the multi-faceted nature of a military spouse's life. The journey continued to Quantico, VA, with a pregnancy amid the assurance of a non-deployable period. Yet, life took him to Iraq, California, and more, each chapter laden with separations, challenges, and parenting two boys alone. Basketball and soccer coaching, managing competitive soccer teams, and orchestrating military baby showers became facets of my life. Volunteering, to me, was paramount, instilled in my children as a core value. He then went to Bahrain, a year marked by separation due to unforeseen events like Covid. I held the fort, managing bills, medical care, and education. The return, delayed by over a year, underlined the enduring strength of a military spouse. Throughout, I ensured our kids felt at home, irrespective of our ever-changing residence. A 25½-year odyssey encapsulating seven deployments and myriad Temporary Assigned Duties, my story echoes the resilience, adaptability, and unwavering commitment that defines the unique journey of a military spouse.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
In the 25 1/2 years as a spouse, I supervised the Radiology department at the USNH, Okinawa, three of those months I was the only qualified person to image, I managed appointments so all of our families had access to mammography. As a member of the Military Spouse Association (MSA), an all hands club I held many positions. As fundraising chair, we gave approx. $80,000 to military families for education and grants for military programs. As 2nd VP, I oversaw a successful Benefit and Auction Gala event with 250 attendees, which raised $100,000 giving $75,000 to our families. Being the President of the MSA, 2018-2019, then 2021-Present, which kept the MSA live, approximately $68,000, 72,000, and $71,000 was awarded supporting our military families. Under my guidance our membership went from 15 members to 96 as of today, and each week it has been growing. I also oversee, the scholarships and grants programs and give all board members support in their positions, which are thriving.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I've been a member of the spouse organizations my entire 25+years. I've volunteered to cook and serve for the Marines at holidays, organize unit baby showers, arrange spa days for spouses, and been part of command teams. I helped with planning of the Marine Corps Ball, by conducting venue checks and attended tastings for meal selections. Going to promotions, change of commands, retirement ceremonies, and funerals became a regular part of my routine to show support for military families. Leveraging my contacts and resources, I assisted in resolving various issues spouse, including guardianship matters, housing, financial challenges, and employment-related concerns. I've presented and fundraised to raise awareness and secure funds for vital military programs, including Bigs Military Child mentorship, therapeutic child development, emergency aid (food and diapers), caregiver retreats, and dogs on deployment, Marine Corps Trials, United Through Reading, and Operation Little Learners.

Describe how you support your community:
As the President of the Military Spouse Association(MSA), an all-hands organization, I attend monthly meetings at the local Chamber and Veterans Associations promoting the MSA, which has given resources and financial support to our families. I traveled hours for a few years to give presentations about our military dependent scholarships program, which we received a $20,000 grant two years in a row. I volunteered for Carlsbad Education Foundation raising funds for educational programs. Beyond education, I was the 1st female baseball coach in our youth league. I coached various sports and managed competitive soccer teams. Fundraising became a passion of mine, especially for those less fortunate athletes, ensuring financial constraints did not hinder their participation. I also obtained scholarships for several military children to go to sports camps. I served 4 years on our community home owners association board. I taught catechist classes to 1st graders at a local church too.

What do you advocate for? Why?
I firmly believe in the unity within the military community. I advocate for the idea that coming together and actively participating in our community, no one is left behind. Many of our spouses have forgotten the rich traditions of the Corps, and there is a lack of understanding about the benefits of being part of a supportive community. The military is evolving from, "a way of life" to simply "just a job" which weaken community bonds and relationships. I believe that creating a safe place where all spouses can freely ask questions is crucial for mutual support. I am a strong advocate for spouse clubs, emphasizing the greater the number, the greater the resources. When asking spouses why their reluctance to join, the most common response is, "I don't need that". My response is to highlight the unpredictable nature of life and the potential for reciprocal support. All families should be taken care of. Strong, interconnected community is vital for the well-being of our families.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I actively promote the Military Spouse Association to the civilian community, shedding light on our mission and the challenges faced by military families. I conduct presentations for esteemed organizations like the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Veterans Association of North County, commander spouse events, and at the annual fundraiser. My efforts extend to media, where I've been interviewed and contributed articles to the Military Appreciation Resource Magazine, as well as utilizing Eventbrite to promote our annual fundraising event. To enhance communication within the military community, I oversee a monthly newsletter circulated through the Deployment and Unit Readiness Coordinator channels on Camp Pendleton, reaching around 30,000 individuals on base. Complementing this, I maintain regular contact with the military spouse community with monthly emails, ensuring timely information and support. My multifaceted approach aims to create widespread awareness and support for the MSA.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
The AFI Military Spouse of the year title would allow me to explore more avenues to assist in the promotion of the military spouse association and our community. I would continue to communicate the hardships that our military families are facing and work on gaining financial support for all the programs needed. I would also keep the awareness of the mental wellbeing of our families a priority. Also, the military dependents education and furthering their knowledge and the difficulties that moving many times cause many of them not to complete their studies. I am honored to have been nominated for this.


Amidst a significant decline in membership during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marybeth Wiener assumed the presidency of the Military Spouse Association Camp Pendleton (MSACP) which has served military families philanthropically for over 60 years. During her 3-year tenure as President, her enthusiasm revitalized the association, increasing membership and fostering camaraderie. Her exemplary leadership and caring demeanor have earned admiration and respect from members. Along with MSACP’s fundraising, Marybeth successfully gained support and substantial grants from local businesses and Veterans Associations through her presentations. In 2023, the MSACP raised $73,100 for the Military Scholarship and Community Enrichment Grant Programs for many military families. Despite a never-ending list of responsibilities this 26-year Marine Corps spouse has given endless hours of providing “Service Above Self” making a significant impact on the MSACP, military families, and the community at large.
- by Vicki K Miller