Molly Pitcher is…Molly Pitcher!

Added: July 1, 2010

I want to clarify a few things…when I wrote this post, I had about 70 readers, which I naively thought was pretty neat. Now I have thousands, which is still small in comparison with a lot of blogs out there, including another blog I own that gets tens of thousands of visitors.  I say this as a point of reference so that you understand that something I wrote in 2007 was designed for a very different audience.  I kept it mainly as a dairy and as a way of sharing my story with humor.

One point of factual clarification: my old blog was An Army Wife’s Life at mollypitcher.blogspot.com.  Sometimes I also commented as “Army Artillery Wife”.  This whole blogging thing was fairly new when I started it in 2004 and pseudonyms were more common.  So when I say I began “calling myself Molly Pitcher”, I mean that I took it as the blog’s address…not that I was walking around town asking people to call me Molly.

People who followed my blog understood that I logged hundreds of volunteer hours every year, without any thought of reward.  I volunteered then for the same reasons I do now–because I care deeply about people, especially children, soldiers, and military families.  Often I volunteered because no one else was willing.  I have never asked for or applied for any of the awards I received as a military spouse volunteer.  I have not only given of my time, talents, and heart for free, I have also attended training sessions and seminars to be of better service.

When I wrote this post I thought it was funny that: (A) I was double awarded an award no one had ever told me I had received; and (B) That within a week I was told I had to go to event, then told I could not go to the event, then told I had to attend it.  Most commenters agreed this was amusing.  Two did not and chose to attack my character despite knowing nothing about me.

This blog is about sharing stories and supporting other military spouses, not tearing each other down because we thought the tone of an old post is “off”.

Frankly, I don’t need it.

—Begin Original Post–

When I found out DH was Field Artillery, I began calling myself, “Molly Pitcher,” after the Revolutionary War heroine:

That day at Monmouth was as hot as Valley Forge was cold. Someone had to cool the hot guns and bathe parched throats with water.

Across that bullet-swept ground, a striped skirt fluttered. Mary Hays McCauly was earning her nickname “Molly Pitcher” by bringing pitcher after pitcher of cool spring water to the exhausted and thirsty men.

While she watched, [her husband] fell wounded. The piece, its crew too depleted to serve it, was about to be withdrawn. Without hesitation, Molly stepped forward and took the rammer staff from her fallen husband’s hands.

At the time, I did not realize there was an actual Molly Pitcher medal given out to spouses who support the King of Battle.
When we arrived at Ft. Hood, we attended our first St. Barbara’s Ball and I watched on, I must confess, with envy as several spouses received the Molly Pitcher award. It seemed so very romantic…in the 19th century sense. Having declared myself “Molly Pitcher” in the blogosphere, I felt a hunger to become “Molly Pitcher” in the eyes of the Field Artillery Association.
During my years in da Hood, I received a few awards from the Battalion, Brigade, and even one from the Division, but Molly Pitcher remained elusive. St. Barbara’s was not scheduled right before deployment. During deployment, we were told the officers held some sort of St. Barbara’s, but details were sketchy. We would have another one when they returned.
Then, one day, my husband called. The Battalion was apparently recommending spouses for civilian medals and for the Molly Pitcher award. He said that he hoped that I would prefer the Molly Pitcher, because I could only be nominated for one of the two and that my name was already submitted for Molly Pitcher. That’s when I revealed that I had hoped to be officially named a “Molly Pitcher” awardee since I became aware of that honor at our first (and only) St. Barbara’s. Although a civilian medal sounds cool, the unit has already recognized my efforts and my hero (DH) has as well. So, if I had the choice, I wanted to be Molly Pitcher.
Although it is too late to make a long story short, the nomination was kicked back…
…because I had already been “presented” with the Molly Pitcher award over a year ago while they were in Iraq, unbeknownst to me or to DH.
So, all this time, I already had the privilege of being Molly Pitcher and I did not even know it.
The fact that they awarded it to me while they were deployed makes it even more valuable in my eyes–I just wish I had known!
Of course, I may never get to wear my Molly Pitcher medal to St. Barbara’s Ball. Although DH already was required to purchase tickets to the Ball weeks ago, we were just told that most likely only the Fires Brigade and company-level commanders and higher will be able to attend. Maybe we’ll be invited to use those tickets we were already required to buy and maybe we won’t.
By the way, the ball is in three days.
That’s just so Army.
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28 comments

  1. Click on the “Share Your Story” link on my website. I’d love for you to write something for our upcoming book of stories by military spouses.

  2. Household6 says:

    Congrats on the medal and I’d wear it around the grocery store just because you can. :-)

  3. kbug says:

    Congratulation, Molly!!! You’ve definitely earned everyone of the awards you’ve received during your time as an Army wife. I agree, though, it would have been nice to know that you had received it last year when it was awarded to you. Did DH know about it….. :)

  4. Val says:

    That is SO cool! Congratulations!!!

  5. mp2 says:

    Funny…I guess there is no honor left in the Molly Pitcher award. It is an award resevered for Commander’s Wives and Senior NCO’s wives who go above and beyond the call to take care of families within the battery. To know that they just gave it to you, and you have zero understanding of why it is awarded is just incredible. There should be no “hunger” to have the award. Your service to the Army should be selfless with no expectation of receiving something in return. Shame on you for such a conceited, self-centered blog. Officers wives like yourself set up a stereotype for the rest of us that create walls of distrust from the people who may need the help the most. And boo-hiss on bringing an infant to the St. Barbara’s Ball. Those of us who cannot get a babysitter have the common decency to realize that this is not an appropriate place to bring a child out of respect for everyone else. Sorry that your child is stuck to your breast…stay home. You should really read “The Army Wife Handbook” and “Today’s Military Wife” and realize that tradition is a wonderful aspect of being an officer’s wife when it comes to attending formal functions. And when you parade your award around and are not invited to a ball because it is company level commanders and higher, maybe you should consider that perhaps your husband put your name into the ballot box for the award. Maybe someone within the unit had the wisdom to realize that you were not important enough to attend a ball intended for senior Captains and above.

  6. Flabbergasted says:

    Wow. Just stumbled on this blog today and enjoyed reading the posts and comments, but I have to admit, that last comment really surprised me.

    I guess there are some really sad, angry people out there.

    MP2–you probably would have a happier life if you spent some time working for the things you want, rather than complaining about other people’s successes. Ever heard of the power of positive thinking?

  7. Army Wife says:

    Perhaps you did not read any other posts on the blog. I was the FRG co-leader as well as a volunteer at the Battalion and Brigade levels and spent hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours taking care of the families. I have been volunteering–without pay and without expectation of any recognition–for years now.

    I could address your other comments, but I will not stoop to your level.

  8. IMO says:

    This is an interesting conversation here in comment land. I can see both sides. I know that we all appreciate recognition of our efforts no matter what type of recognition it is.

    I think what needs to be considered overall is the fact just like amongst the ranks, there are traditions amongst the wives and this issue is one for that category.

    Although those of us that are inclined to volunteer and give of ourselves normally do so well before command or 1SG time (even when our spouses are working at BTL and BDE levels) after command or 1SG time, we have an entirely new outlook on the amount of time and energy volunteering takes. It is tradition in most branches to give these higher types of awards after command or 1SG time, or at some time beyond those marker points.

    There are many, many ways to recognize volunteer efforts amongst wives before those maker points.

    Those that have received such high recognition after command or 1SGs time, know what they, their soldier and their family have given in order to receive it. I think this, on occasion, makes others bitter when spouses prior to that time marker receive such awards, no matter who submitted them for it or what volunteer lengths they have gone to. And I understand why.

    Just as at BTL or BDE level commands, as with being a CSM and above, those levels of volunteering take much more out of you and much more giving than do levels below. These levels deserve, by effort and time given, higher award recognition, just as lower level commands and 1SG time deserve a higher award level than other volunteers.

    This could be open to constant debate as I well know, but as with all things military, tradition is steadfast and in my opinion, rightly so.

  9. IMO says:

    I got so caught up in what I was typing I forgot to say congrats, sorry. Those of us that have read you for awhile know what you have done.

    I just hope that it helps some to understand why “issues” can crop up with topics such as this.

  10. Army Wife says:

    IMO–The other poster clearly did not actually read and understand the post–she conflates multiple posts and circumstances together and viciously attacks someone she does not know based on a single post.

    While you make a point about how awards should have meaning, she does nothing except assault my character.

    To add some context…I do not know how things are done elsewhere, but here there is no restriction on the rank of your servicemember for receiving this award. While it will tend to be the wives of more senior soldiers and officers who deserve the award, that does not have to be the case.

    I think it is ironic that the other commenter accused me of perpetuating officer wife stereotypes while assigning such importance to a spouse’s husband’s rank.

    Also, just to point out, Molly Pitcher’s husband was enlisted. Just for the record.

    I believe the other commenter took issue with my remarks about perhaps not going. If you actually read the post, you will see what I was jokingly observing is that we were initially told about the event with about two weeks noticed, forced to buy tickets (as were all others of my husband’s rank), then told we couldn’t go about 5 days before the event (because there weren’t enough tickets they changed the cut-offs), then told we may be required to go three days before the event (which in the end we were).

    I have no problem with events being limited by servicemember’s rank…I just like to have a little concrete notice when I need to find a formal gown.

    It is a BLOG, people…one that I might mention has a real person behind it AND one that many people have found helpful over the years.

    Edited By Siteowner

  11. Debbie says:

    Mp2’s comment is so inappropriate. I’m a military wife myself, and I’ve enjoyed reading this blog. If MP2 read this blog before, she’d know about the numerous hours Molly spent volunteering with the FRG and other groups on base in addition to the time she spends helping children in the community through her non-military volunteer activities. And frankly this blog has done a lot to help other military wives across the country feel less alone– to feel like there’s someone they can relate to. Just read some of the comments over the past year on this blog if you don’t believe me.

    I can’t imagine what would motivate someone to write such a mean-spirited comment on someone else’s blog. Mp2 should focus on achieving her own goals rather than tearing someone else down out of pettiness.

  12. Just me says:

    I’m trying to write an essay about the sterotypes placed on officer’s wives and why it is many times unfair and unwarranted, whereas, on many other occassions it is right on the money, so to speak. I have the Molly Pitcer award. I worked hard and at the end of a year deployment and almost two years of being “the commander’s wife” it was sweet, but not bitter sweet. I remembering thinking that the Molly Pitcher award was a glamorous prize, but when you do the work that is supposed to be done before receiving the award–it becomes just another reminder of the forever year I barley survived and how worn-out-tired-of-it-all I am, for a while at least. I’m not quite sure I understand how you received the award, but didn’t even know it. Strange. . .the process is very romantic, yes, but strictly ceremonial and done with dated trations in mind. It is too bad that you didn’t get to be apart of the tradition. . .I’m still trying to figure out how you got it and didn’t know.

    As far as the wishy-washy ball requirements. I do not care who you are or what your husband’s rank is. . .no one should be required to go to an “after work function”, especially if it is so disorganized that no one knows who is invited. No thank you. I wouldn’t have gone just because!

    I learned way back in my 2nd Lieutenant’s wife days that you do not bring your children to adult functions, even if the Colonel’s kids are running through the house. . .

    It is what it is ladies! Our lives. Welcome to the drama!

  13. Mama Luxe says:

    How I got it and didn’t know it:

    I had been the co-leader of the FRG and done a lot of volunteering on post. The guys deployed right before when St. Barbara’s Day would have been, so, they held it in Iraq. Where, apparently, they awarded me this honor…which is even more special to me! However, I did not know that it was awarded to me because no one told me or presented me with the award.

    The same thing may have happened to 1st Sergeant’s wife, actually, though I never got the resolution to that. Last I heard, she hadn’t been put up for the award and the former commander’s wife was trying to figure out if the same thing had happened–because she certainly had worked hard for the unit!

    Now, come the following year. The commander is identifying civilian volunteers and handing out awards. They ask my husband if I had it yet and he said “no.” He (the Captain) and the First Sergeant were surprised, since I had done so much work for the unit–and sent paperwork in to give me the award.

    The staff kicked back the paperwork with the note that I had already been given the award for my work previously.

    Not really surprising if you are used to the military bureaucracy.

    At work, they gave my husband the award to bring home to me.

    So, then, after forcing DH to buy tickets, then later telling him he couldn’t go (without saying if they would refund the money), they then decided we both HAD to go…and made him bring the award back to them so they could present it to me at the ball…Normally I LOVE balls but this was a bit stressful and last minute.

    True, I could have said “no.” However, my husband could not have and they were making him go because they were presenting me with the award they had awarded me a year earlier.

  14. John says:

    I realize you may never see this comment, but I wanted to congratulate you on this award. I was recently enducted into the ‘Honorable Order of St Barbara’ (at our most recent St Barabra’s Dining-in) and I was just looking around the internet on the very subject.

    I refound your blog after losing the link many moons ago. I will be book marking it once again.

    Again, congratulations on your ‘offical’ Moly Pitcher ‘tag’ now.

  15. victoria bloniarz says:

    i really want a laptop but my familly dose not have a lot of money….

  16. wifey says:

    I just have a question… are wives allowed to go to St. Barbara’s ball?

  17. Wifey–Depends on the post, the command, etc. In my husband’s current guard unit, it is more of an “alumni” dining in–the current officers get together with retired officers and no spouses. In my husband’s old active duty unit, it sometimes depended on space available. Senior officers and their wives were expected to attend, award recipients, Junior officers, senior NCOs, and their wives might be invited, strongly encouraged, or not invited at all depending on the year.

  18. SHARON says:

    I was honored w/ the Molly Pitcher Award about 6 mos. prior to my ex-husbands retirement. I must admit, I was surprised. I had done 20+ years of service as the spouse and had rec’d. multiple awards for service in things like the Army Family Team Building (facilitator/trainer), Community of Life (housing mayer), JAG, Family Support, Cub Scouts and American Red Cross. I was honored with all of the awards, as always. But, the Molly Pitcher Award was such an honor. The military should be sure that the receipents of this award are more informed of the honor it holds. Without looking, it is not very available within the unit.
    Thank you to those that honored me with such an unexpected valued and cherrished memory.
    With ending up divorced, it is my most cherrished memory of this difficult time in my life.
    Congrats to all fellow honorees.

  19. SHARON says:

    If you do FACEBOOK…. There is a “Molly Pitcher” site, for attachment. If you rec’d the award, add your info to the list of the few, the proud, the spouse/service member. It is worth it.
    See you there.

  20. 2 centavos says:

    Within reading the first paragraph, the first thing that ran through my mind was that this must be some self-centered, egotistical wife.
    If your purpose behind volunteering is to be put on a pedestal, if all you want in the end is recognition, I suggest you find something else to do with your precious time.
    Most of us volunteer for the satisfaction of serving others. And I wholeheartedly agree with mp2.

  21. Candace says:

    Honestly your two cents isn’t worth even that. I’ve logged thousands of volunteer hours without a single thought of award. The point was merely that I took a pseudonym unawares of the award and thought it would be neat to actual have the award I had named myself after unawares. If you have nothing better to do than to anonymously criticize a person who spends more time volunteering than many do working, maybe you have enough time to go volunteer some more yourself.

  22. Angelica Logan says:

    Congrats on your Medal I my self was awarded the molly pitcher medal. I was at Ft. Lewis and was the FRG leader. Wonder if they will ever make a move about Molly

  23. Candace says:

    @Angelica

    Hey, now, that’s an idea! A Molly Pitcher movie!

  24. Karen Butler says:

    Congratulations, I Myself recieved the Molly Pitcher Award at Ft Sill Ok.in 1991. During Desert Sheild/ Storm. It was one of my greatest Awards I have received.
    First of all at the time my husband was a E-2 so there goes the meth that you have to be a Officers Wife to received this. Everything I did for my husband and the troops and thier amazing Families was not done thinking I would get something from doing it. The things I did to some may seam simple but for others it was alot. One thing I know is that Military wives find strength within and when two or more join together its like having a Home Front Bergade. I hope you will always be Proud of your Award as I am. and always remember the time in witch you unknowingly earned it.

  25. Deana SImpson says:

    Hello,

    I would like to say how fortunate you are to be nominated for an award that people like me are not privy to. I logged in over 900 volunteer hours and I barely received a glass award from the 6th commander who had no idea where my husband worked, never mind who I was.

    That said colonel also managed to give a volunteer the Order of the Dragon award (the local prestigious award) to someone who logged in a mere 60 volunteer hours.

    I do not volunteer for an award but when I do have the time to volunteer it is nice to be noticed.

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  27. Bulldog says:

    Can you email me a good example of a Molly Pitcher Award letter, from a service member to his wife?