by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marcus Butler
May 15, 2018
The role of the military spouse is one of selflessness and courage. It’s a job that does not pay or come with any awards. It often means early mornings, late nights, and frequently going weeks and months without a partner nearby. It regularly includes playing both mother and father roles, both good cop and bad, being a counselor, provider, and director or a combination of all three. Coupled with a seamless transition of being firm to the gentle voice of love, being a military spouse is no easy task.
However, this is a role that countless men and women have taken on without complaint or hesitation. One story, in particular, shows the embodiment of these characteristics culminating in a journey that has led to being named the 2018 Army Spouse of the Year as well as the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Military Spouse of the Year.
Krista Simpson Anderson, Gold Star Spouse and wife of an active duty Green Beret with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), received this honor.
“As Army Spouse of the Year, I am honored to have the opportunity to not only represent Special Forces spouses but all Army spouses,” said Krista. “It’s very humbling being considered for overall ‘Military Spouse of the Year’.” “This journey has been humbling. As I read many of the profiles, I felt so honored to be a part of such selfless servants.”
Krista serves her community through The Unquiet Professional, an organization she co-founded, of volunteers serving Gold Star families and veterans in times of need.
Military Spouse of the Year award was founded by Military Spouse magazine in 2008 to honor military spouses from all branches of service. It was created to highlight the military spouses who support and maintain the home front while their service members train and deploy for combat operations.
Even in this moment of recognition, Krista hopes that she can redirect the spotlight to shed light on and better the lives of Special Forces spouses around the world. The award and attention gives her a platform to demonstrate the love and compassion that The Unquiet Professionals and military spouses show on a day to day basis.
Krista’s journey as a military spouse has not been easy.
“One day I was a military spouse. The next I was a military widow,” Krista said. “Having remarried, I am once again a proud military spouse, and I want other military spouses to see through my journey that we all have the strength to get through anything.”
Krista added, “I want to bring awareness to who we are as military spouses and what we do for our nation through our families and within our communities. I want to be a light for those who may be sitting in the darkness. I want to show others that military spouses are fierce and graceful. I want to empower not only the military spouse but all women, to be who they are meant to be. I want to prove that following your husband around the world doesn’t mean you're weak and highlight the selfless service we provide daily.”
Knowing that marriage is a team effort, Master Sgt. Gus Anderson, Krista’s husband, is comfortable in switching his role to supporting Krista’s passion to give back.
“I think this opportunity for Krista is amazing,” Master Sgt. Anderson said. “By far she is one of the most motivated, dedicated, and caring individuals that I have ever met in my life. She has always been supportive of me and my career path, so it’s an honor now to be able to step back and support her.”
Leaders from 1st SFG (A) are also impressed by and grateful to Krista for her desire and commitment to serving the families within the regiment.
“Krista's recognition as the Army Spouse of the Year is well deserved, and a reflection of her dedication to the families of our Nation's heroes,” said Maj. James Self, commander, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st SFG (A). “I could not be more proud to call Krista a member of our team.”
Self also acknowledged the unique characteristics of Special Forces spouses and how Krista embodies those characteristics.
“Special Forces spouses are unique, and consistently demonstrate unparalleled loyalty and resilience,” said Self. “Krista has never sought recognition for herself. Her main interest is consistently using her own experiences and resources to support our families.”
Two of her smallest supporters are also among her biggest fans, Michael, 8 and Gabriel, 6, are proud of their mother and the example she sets.
“I am so happy for my mom, and I want to congratulate her,” Michael said. “She works hard for us at home and other military families.”
For Krista, this story has not been an easy one. In 2013, her life dramatically changed in a blink of an eye when her then husband Staff Sgt. Michael Simpson was killed following an improvised explosive attack in Afghanistan.
“When I was sitting on the tarmac, I remember waiting for them to bring his flag-draped casket off the plane. I looked over to see all of our family and friends crying, and I decided that I will show them that I would be okay,” said Krista. “I didn’t know how strong I could be until that moment.”
From that strength, Krista relied on her faith and the support of others to gather up the pieces and continue to seek out the peace that she felt her family deserved.
My focus is on love, said Krista.
She has applied herself to providing friendship and support to developing strength among the spouses with whom she meets and instilling faith and resilience in her children.
“My priority is teaching them that no matter what situations you go through in life, lead with your faith, and grace will follow. Michael's legacy plays a major role in our lives every day,” Krista said.
“Gus and I teach our boys to treat and care for others the way our faith teaches us. Strength, resilience and kindness got us through the most difficult of times,” Krista said.