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#IMSCFamily: Jennifer Cashwell

Graphic of the Cashwell family

Meet #IMSCFamily Jennifer Cashwell, spouse of Capt. James Cashwell at headquarters Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Jim Martinez)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Meet #IMSCFamily Jennifer Cashwell, spouse of Capt. James Cashwell at headquarters Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Jennifer has been around the military for more than 16 years as an Air Force member, civilian employee and spouse. 

We asked Jennifer to tell us a little more about her life with the military. 

What’s your first memory as the spouse of an Airman?
My experience might be a little unique as my first experience as a spouse in the military was after my own 4-year enlistment.  James and I were recently engaged when I was tasked with a short-notice deployment to northern Iraq. We were in the early stages of planning our wedding at the time. We had many long talks about whether we would seek a “courthouse” wedding or wait until I re-deployed. Needless to say, my first experience as a military spouse was walking down the aisle to my Airman at a wedding planned entirely during my deployment to Iraq! 

What’s your best experience as the spouse of an Airman?
Aside from witnessing all his amazing accomplishments, it would be rendering his first salute upon commissioning. 

What’s a challenge you and your spouse overcame as a team?
Co-parenting during a deployment!  James deployed in January 2020, just as COVID was kicking off.  We felt like we had prepared for everything, but boy were we wrong.  I suddenly found myself parenting our two children alone through a global pandemic and having to make a lot of decisions for them unilaterally while trying to keep James informed.  However, there came a point where our son required surgery. His doctors advised that it was time as they feared surgeries would soon be put on pause if we waited for James to return. This was certainly not a decision I could make alone. We had to shift our conversations and open up lines of communications despite geographical separation which helped so much even after he returned.  Instead of making tough parenting decisions in isolation, I would open it to him for discussion and joint decision making which helped us overcome significant obstacles throughout the course of the deployment. 
What your best advice for other AFIMSC spouses?
Get involved wherever you go and seek out those friendships because it truly takes a village!

Do you have a mantra that you live by and how does it help? 
It’s actually a bible verse “For I know the plans I have for you,” declare the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 As a military spouse, let’s face it PCS’ing is really hard!  You have to re-establish yourself at each location.  Whether it’s finding a job, friends, (or the nearest Target/Costco) it’s difficult and often times, lonely.  However, at every location I have forced myself out of my comfort zone and found my village.   
What’s something you cherish from your time as a spouse and why?
That every milestone James has achieved, it hasn’t been just “his” accomplishment but ours.