MIRAMAR, Calif. - Adjusting to the stresses and challenges of the
Marine Corps lifestyle may seem overwhelming, but for one spouse,
finding peace amidst the struggles comes through creative
Jessica Mastorakos, an active volunteer with
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323 “Death Rattlers”, remained
inspired by the people around her who share experiences unique to
military couples. Through the strength of the community around her,
Mastorakos wrote and published her own novel.
that I've faced as a Marine wife are probably pretty standard to
many military spouses,” said Mastorakos. “We've been separated on
birthdays and most holidays, cancelled planned trips and even our
own wedding; but the single biggest obstacle was having a
complication-riddled pregnancy and the birth of our first son while
my husband was deployed. You never know just how much you can handle
or just how strong you are until you have no other option.”
She published her book and is working toward others, hoping to
inspire military couples, and teach civilians about the hardships
associated with the military lifestyle.
Image left - Jessica Mastorakos stands holding a sign and her son
while waiting for her husband to return from deployment. Jessica
regularly volunteers in order to help others overcome challenges
unique to military families. Image right - Cpl. Nicholas Mastorakos,
an aviation ordnanceman with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA)
323, and his wife, Jessica Mastorakos with their newborn son upon
his return from deployment in April 2014. During Cpl. Mastorakos'
deployment, Jessica gave birth to their first-born son. (These
courtesy photos by the Mastorakos' were combined by USA Patriotism!)
“I wrote it for military spouses who, like me, were
looking for a love story that was similar to their own,” she
said. “Being in love with someone in the military offers
unique struggles that civilian couples simply do not
experience, and I feel that it is important to highlight
Mastorakos explained that the
family readiness officer helped to support her during the
difficult times. Mastorakos hopes to ‘pay it forward'
through her volunteer efforts and by making sure those who
need help receive assistance.
“My favorite part of
volunteering with the Marines is the feeling of paying it
forward or everything coming full circle,” said
Mastorakos. “We all need support at one time or another, and
when I provide support to my fellow ‘Snake' families; I do
it with a grateful heart knowing that I have been supported
in the past as well. I like that I can repay those who
helped me by also helping where ever I can.”
hopes to encourage other spouses to volunteer or help out in
any way possible.
“You don't have to start with a
marathon, just go for a short jog,” she said,
metaphorically. “There are many squadron hosted events that
would be fun to participate in. However, even just
supporting fellow military families by being a good friend
or neighbor can go a long way toward a productive unit.
Start a girls' night or join an established one, go to a
L.I.N.K.S. class, or even bake cookies and send them to work
with your Marine. All of these things can lift your spirits
and connect you with others just like you.”
Mastorakos plans to continuing writing books and
volunteering, with no foreseeable end in sight.
hope that as new Marines and their families join the Snake
family, the sense of community will welcome them as it did
for us,” said Mastorakos. “All I want is for that spirit to
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner
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