The Sergeant Major's Wife by Billie-Fae Gerard Gill

Review by N.K. Wagner

  •      Sit down with Billie-Fae Gill over a cup of coffee and the stories flow. Told with intelligence and humor, The Sergeant Major’s Wife: A Reflection is an organized compilation of those stories stemming from the twenty years she joined her husband Bill in serving their country in the United States Army. At the end of that time, Bill held the rank of Command Sergeant Major; Billie-Fae was simply designated as dependent/spouse.
         But don’t let the lack of exalted recognition fool you. Mrs. Gill is a member of a select society which reaches back to the very foundation of our country—the military spouse. While the details are unique, any military wife will find herself nodding in recognition of the challenges and rewards this lifestyle presents. Military members will be allowed to see the other side of the coin—the life of those who “also serve” while their mates fulfill their duties. Civilians will learn what makes the lives of those who choose this lifestyle something to be honored. And everyone will learn a bit of history that is no longer taught in schools but is essential for understanding today’s world.
         Written in an easy, conversational style, The Sergeant Major’s Wife: A Reflection tells the tale of a Cold War American Army wife from a whirlwind courtship, two tours of duty in post war Germany (one with the Army of Occupation) through the Korean Conflict, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. Along the way, she gives concise history lessons, notes the idiosyncrasies of the places she lived and the people she met, translates acronym-laden military jargon into “civilian,” and chronicles the melding of the brash Yankee girl and the smooth Southern sergeant into a lifelong romance in an active family of seven children.
         I feel lucky to have participated in the critique of an earlier draft of The Sergeant Major’s Wife. Since then, the stories have been expanded and all the details fact checked. I’m a retired army wife, and I believe my favorite part of the experience was watching the wonderful reactions of our civilian colleagues to the world service members and their families consider “normal.” Or, maybe, my favorite part (being an army wife from 1972 through 1993) was the confirmation that the experience of being a military wife hasn’t changed in a significant way from one generation to the next.
         What I am certain of is, whether you enjoy reading memoir, romance, adventure, or history, you will enjoy reading The Sergeant Major’s Wife: A Reflection by Billie-Fae Gerard Gill.

    Paperback: 270 pages
    Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 8, 2017)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 1548500585
    ISBN-13: 978-1548500580