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Marine spouse Samantha Quailes teaches a class at Camp Courtney.

Marine spouse Samantha Quailes teaches a class at Camp Courtney. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Marine spouse Samantha Quailes teaches a class at Camp Courtney.

Marine spouse Samantha Quailes teaches a class at Camp Courtney. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

Mary Moretti tells new spouses about the numerous publications that provide information on happenings around Okinawa.

Mary Moretti tells new spouses about the numerous publications that provide information on happenings around Okinawa. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa — TAD, LES, PCSing, EAS, III MEF, HQMC, C-130, chow, head, leave, deployments, floats, chaplains, monitors, Ulchi Focus Lens, Talon Saber, OIF, OEF.

Those are just a few of the acronyms and some of the terminology a new spouse is bombarded with upon marrying their Marine.

This new language and the new lifestyle can be overwhelming and bewildering.

Lifestyles, Insight, Networking, Knowledge and Skills — better known as LINKS — is an orientation designed to combat that confusion and ease the transition into the military family, said Maj. Melinda Sumner, chief of Marine Corps Family Team Building, which sponsors the program.

LINKS also helps troops by helping their spouses understand what is happening, said Sgt. Maj. Robert Hollings, 3rd Marine Division’s top enlisted leader.

“This is probably the most important program we could have for our spouses,” he said.

One of the keys to the success of LINKS is that it is run by spouses for spouses, Sumner said, explaining that experienced spouses use their knowledge and experiences to teach new spouses.

After attending a LINKS session herself a few years ago, Danielle Harper, a Marine spouse of nine years, began volunteering in the program.

She credits LINKS with better preparing her for her husband’s deployments.

“It has done a lot for me to be confident when my husband leaves,” she said at a recent Camp Courtney-based orientation. “I have the resources and tools to keep the family sane while he’s over there.”

Surviving deployment, learning Marine Corps traditions and language, moving frequently and understanding the military pay system are just a few of the topics discussed during the two-day orientations, which are held every other month at camps Kinser, Foster or Courtney.

And on Okinawa, LINKS provides information about Okinawa and the opportunities to explore its culture, Sumner said.

“This is also a chance to develop relationships with other wives and build a network,” Sumner added.

Candice Figaro, who has been married to a Marine for two years, attended her first LINKS class earlier this month at Camp Courtney.

She said she wishes she would have attended when she was a newlywed.

“This definitely helps new spouses.”

To learn more about LINKS, visit http://www.usmc-mccs.org/links/.

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