Danielle Aillet

Spouse of Aviation’s Mate 1st Class Richard Aillet

Quality Assurance Control for VFA-87

Naval Air Station Oceana

When Danielle Aillet’s phone number gets passed around on a Navy ship, she can thank her husband for phone calls from strangers. That’s because Aviation’s Mate 1st Class Richard Aillet knows if one of his shipmates needs help, Danielle will be there to help.

“She is the strongest woman I know, and is always available to help others,” he wrote in his nomination form for Military Spouse of the Year. “I can not tell you the number of times I have given out my phone number to one of our guys/girls on the ship and had them call her. She will drop everything to help out a stranger.”

“I do get phone calls,” Danielle said. “My husband knows I will get the answer. I even had a retired wife call to get help in setting up an allotment, and I told her how to do it.”

Danielle was not unfamiliar with the Navy when she married Aillet nearly 17 years ago. Her first husband, a high school sweetheart, was in the Navy.

“I knew how to get on base and shop at the exchange. I had no clue about anything else,” she said.

That all changed when she met Aillet in February 1990. Fresh out of boot camp, he was transferred to NAS Oceana. They were married in August, and within a few months, Aillet deployed for Desert Storm. As soon as he got back, the family went through their first home-port change from Oceana to Miramar.

Aillet is now out on his fifth deployment.

“I have no concerns related to my family and home. Danielle is the bond that holds us together during deployments and workups,” he wrote. “She stays strong and is always there with advice for the wives/husbands of junior personnel in my squadron.”

Danielle has been there for friends while their husbands have been gone. When a woman who was pregnant got some bad news about some tests, within a half-hour her deployed husband was able to talk to his distressed wife, thanks to Danielle.

When Danielle isn’t caring for her 13-year-old son, Andrew, and 8-year-old daughter Allison, as well as a Great Dane and two cats at their Virginia Beach residence, she volunteers at the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, served as an ombudsman and Family Support Group president, volunteers at Birdneck Elementary School, volunteers with the USO in packing and shipping care packages to deployed service members, and is a volunteer instructor with Compass, a class designed to help new – and experienced – wives understand and adjust to the lingo, language and policies of the military.

“Having that class would have made life a whole lot easier for me,” Danielle said. “It’s helped me out a lot.”

Her advice for new military spouses? Talk with your spouse and be receptive to getting the help that is available to military spouses.

“People are so unaware of what resources are there,” she said. “Success is attainable if you can open yourself up to what is available.”