Scene, Sunday, June 14, 200

What are the experiences of black and Hispanic spouses in today’s military?

Army wife Pamela Mc Bride wants to know and intends to use that knowledge to encourage and inform fellow spouses in an upcoming book.

Already the author of one book, Pamela is working on her second. She has begun surveying and interviewing military spouses, as well as active-duty women in all branches of service. Her new book is slated to be the third in a series titled "Mocha Manuals," for black and Latina women, published by Amistad/HarperCollins.

"I have been a part of the military life for 19 years," Pamela said. "My husband and I have always seen ourselves as a team supporting military families, both personally and professionally."

Currently, the team is on what Pamela calls "split ops." Her Army husband, stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga., is deployed to Iraq. Pamela and their two children live near Atlanta, but she stays close to military life.

Pamela is the program manager for the Army Reserve’s child and youth services, and this is not the first time her career has intersected the military community. For 14 years, she was a career counselor in an Army program to help active- duty personnel transition to civilian life.

She drew from those professional experiences to write her first book, released in September. "Work It Girl! The Black Woman’s Guide to Professional Success" was a joint effort with co-writer and fellow military spouse Lorraine Morris Cole.

"The people who were interviewed are all black women, so the book is anchored by women who we considered to be ‘working it’ on a national level and more locally," she said.

"We’re just telling the stories of women who are black but in a universal theme. That’s in a lot of ways, the way this (next book) will shape up as well."

Just before "Work it Girl!" appeared on bookstore shelves, HarperCollins contacted Pamela about her current project.

"Of course I jumped at it, because being a military spouse you can help other spouses," she said.

Even over the phone and across the ocean, Pamela’s enthusiasm is contagious.

"Doing things we are passionate about is really important," she said. "What I want with this whole military spouse thing is to give people a feeling that ‘This is something I really want to do and this is how it’s going to happen.’

"When we talk to people who’ve been around the military life for a while … We all have our stories to tell about moving, about trying to maintain a career while we move all over the place, about parenting, about deployment," she said. "We share our experiences and how we’ve gotten through them, the good, the bad the ugly, the ones that made you cry. I saw this opportunity, as a way to do this on a much larger scale."

A "positive, fun type of helpful book" is her intent, Pamela said. "Advice that transcends gender, age, ethnicity, that kind of thing."

The survey for black and Hispanic military spouses is available at The online survey provides initial contact for personal interviews, and contact information is requested from those surveyed.

"We will be doing some in person, some via telephone," Pamela said. Some conversations will be one-on-one, while others may involve a group discussion.

Questions included in the survey cover subjects such as budgeting and making friends, as well as moves, career and deployment.

For more about Pamela and her work, see and the Spouse Calls blog at

Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany. Contact her at and see the Spouse Calls blog at .

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