Bailey Gerrity and her husband, Doug, have been married for about a year and a half. They met when Bailey’s last semester at the University of Nevada, Reno was cut short by COVID. She went home to her family at Travis Air Force Base, California, where Bailey grew up and her father served as an Air Force reservist. Doug, who is in the Air Force, was experiencing his first duty station there, and the two met in January 2021. They got married in September of 2022 on the day Doug had actually planned to propose. Doug, who is from Connecticut, was waiting to propose until his parents could fly out and both families could be together. But the Air Force had different ideas, handing him orders to Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma just ahead of the planned proposal day. Because both families were going to be in town, and with only three months before he needed to PCS, the two decided that they would get married at that time instead. Bailey, a planner by nature, planned their wedding in three weeks to coincide with Doug’s parents’ visit.

That started a whirlwind period for the couple, who got married and immediately started planning for their upcoming PCS, which they handled themselves. They’d had a bit of recent experience between the two of them with a few apartment moves, so they were confident they could do it and “not have to rely on anyone else’s timetable or schedule,” Bailey says. The pair and their two dogs rolled into Oklahoma right around Thanksgiving, which also factored into their decision to handle the move themselves.

While Bailey grew up at an Air Force base and had numerous friends over the years who were part of active-duty Air Force families, the fact that her dad was a reservist meant she doesn’t feel like she had a ton of experience before becoming an active-duty spouse. “My dad was a full-time reservist. I grew up on Travis AFB, and my brother who is eight years older than me joined the Air Force and is a B-1 pilot, but I spent my whole life at Travis, except for college. So, leaving friends and family, especially having been back home for two years and it being right before the holiday season was hard. It’s been hard to adjust to a new place, but recently it’s been feeling more like home,” Bailey says.

That three-month time period—between getting married, planning and executing a move, and trying to figure out whether she could keep the job she loved in the advertising field—is the most surprising thing she’s encountered so far as a military spouse. “Definitely the biggest surprise has been getting the orders to Altus. We had three months to move and figure out how we were going to fit in a wedding and deal with everything else. It was chaos, but we survived, and we learned a lot in that time,” she says.

For Bailey, who is career-focused, the uncertainty about the job she loved created significant challenges. “Initially when I told them I was moving, the company was unsure if I would be able to keep my position due to moving to a different state. That was disheartening because I love what I do,” says Bailey who works as an associate account executive working with regional automotive clients. “But I have an incredible boss who fought for me and people at the company who helped find a solution so that I could stay in a fully remote position,” Bailey says. Knowing she could stay with her company made the imminent move a little less stressful. “The transition was tricky, but now that everything has been worked out, I’m still able to work a job I love. I know I’ll face career challenges like leaving jobs I love and having to look for new work throughout Doug’s career, but I’m glad that for now I can keep working for an organization I love and further develop my professional skills,” she adds.

While military life can be challenging, Bailey says the best thing about it is the people you meet. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many different people,” she says.

“You can really build your community no matter what, and the support of other spouses has been amazing. I’m blessed to experience that kind of atmosphere.”

She’s passionate about that experience, wanting to ensure that military spouses know about all the resources available to them. So much so that she recently became a Key Spouse.

Bailey had been helping another Key Spouse at Altus, and one day she told Bailey that she really thought she should be one herself. Bailey went for it. “There are so many resources out there for military spouses,” Bailey says. “It’s crazy how many there are and how few know about them.” For herself, Bailey has taken advantage of MyCAA, which lets military spouses take courses and earn certifications for free. “Already having a bachelor’s degree makes it a little tricky to find courses, but I’m working on my project management certification through MyCAA right now,” she says. “I also love Military OneSource and there’s so many websites out there.” For Bailey, a lot of the resources she personally loves are career growth oriented. “I have a mentor through American Corporate Partnership’s mentoring program. And I love the Military Spouse Advocacy Group,” she says.

In the short time Bailey has been a military spouse, she’s had a lot thrown at her very quickly, but she’s handled it all well. So, we asked her what advice she’d give new military spouses just getting started. “Have something, a hobby or something that has nothing to do with the military. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with everything that military life entails, but it’s so important to have something for yourself. For me here at Altus, it’s a little workout studio; for others I know, it’s volunteer work. Just find something to do that gets you out there,” she says. It’s good advice and it’s served Bailey well. If she had a military spouse motto, it might be “Everything works out.” She says, “I had a friend tell me that before we PCSed when I was stressed out that in six months Doug and I would be sitting in our house with our dogs and thinking about how that was a crazy time, but we got through it and we’re better for it. She was right.” Just remember that everything works out, and you’ll be fine.

Did you enjoy this article? Read the full e-magazine, here.