James Jones column: Dating military women was life learning experience

Published 4:41 am Friday, November 10, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

For someone who didn’t serve any time in the U.S. military, I have a unique experience with the six major branches.

As we celebrate Veterans Day on Saturday, I will share my involvement with military personnel, and how I learned to appreciate their service.

During my lifetime, I dated women who served in the Army, Air Force, and Naval Academy.  The Marine Corps, Space Force, and Coast Guard are the only ones missing from my military datebook. 

Email newsletter signup

I won’t reveal the women’s names to protect their privacy and save myself from possible bodily harm.

All of the experiences came at different times in my life, whether I was starting out in the real world or maintaining my position. 

My first dating experience with the military came during my last two years at Stillman College in 1990. I was two years away from my first professional job with The Biloxi (Miss.) Sun Herald. She began in the Army Reserves and later served in the Army after graduation, going our separate ways. We met during our junior year and enjoyed each other’s company through studying, movies and dinner.

The most intriguing experience was with the Air Force woman in 1998. I was six years into my career as a sportswriter with The Sun Herald. She was an Engineer at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi coming off a divorce.  Our relationship had no future, but we provided comfort to each other after long grueling, intense workdays. Once she got stationed to another base, that was it for us. I eventually got married and began a family.

The other two women served in the Navy. By the time I dated them, they were both out of the Navy and I was coming off a divorce. The relationships were good short-term, but not long-term. We all had children going through various stages of their lives.

During the time I dated them, I developed an appreciation of the military. I respected and appreciated them for serving our country and protecting us. In my opinion, I feel that some of us take people who serve for granted.