Spouse of Electronic Technician 2nd Class Charly Williams
USS Carl Vinson
Stephen J. Williams is a proud, card-carrying member of the Navy Wives Club. As a military spouse to Electronic Technician 2nd Class Charly Williams stationed aboard USS Carl Vinson, Williams has experienced every trial and tribulation of a military wife, from leaving a good job for an unknown future, to moving across the country by himself, to being both mom and dad to their children.
Yet men like Williams, an ex-Marine who served in Desert Storm, are often looked upon suspiciously by female military spouses.
“Sometimes you get looked down on by the other wives who think the spouse in the service has it easier, “Williams said. “We (men) don’t fit in the cliques. The wives tend to stay away from male friends so rumors don’t start. So in my opinion, we are a breed of our own. If you can find one other male military spouse, you’re doing good. You can hook up with other military people and be friends with them, but then they’ll transfer and it starts all over again. That’s the hardest part.”
Although Williams might not be completely accepted as a member of the military spouse club, he’s ready to help anyone who needs it. When a wife was hospitalized for 10 days, Williams took her two boys in, an act of selflessness he shrugs off.
“If I need something, I know she would take my girls. It’s not a big deal. I see it as helping friends out. It’s what everybody should be doing,” he said. “My mom raised four of us by herself, and no one gave her an award.”
He’s also become a whiz at packing and moving. As USS Carl Vinson moved from it’s homeport in Washington State to the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard, Williams moved across country with daughters Corey, 9, and Jordan, 6, and their 11-year-old black lab, Jake.
“He travels like the bomb,” Williams laughed. “He’s the best dog I’ve ever had. He’s our best friend.”
Jake was actually born on a memorable night for Williams and his wife. It was the night their house burned down. Homeless and with a child, the decision was made then for Charly to act on her desire to join the Navy.
“I was too old,” Williams said. “She was young and had grown up as a military brat. He father was a Marine Corps pilot in Vietnam, and her mother a road master in the Air Force. It was perfect timing.”
Williams admits it’s a little easier for him to find a job than for most military spouses. His grandfather made sure he knew how to work with his hands, so he can always fall back on his general contracting skills until another civil service position opens up in his new locale.
While Williams might not be completely accepted by all members of the Navy Spouse Clubs, he’s more than happy to help out with “honey do” lists for the wives while their husbands are deployed.
“I’m the on-call handy man,” Williams joked. “I don’t mind and it helps them out and keeps them from getting gouged.”
One friend who was scammed had paid up front for a room addition. The contractor skipped out without completing the 20x30 room. Williams spent several weekends – without payment – to finish the project.
“I’m not going to charge someone for that, I’m just helping someone out,” Williams said. “That’s the way the world is supposed to be.