An Award-Winning Author, Wife of a Decorated Military Hero, and Mom of Two Apache Helicopter Pilots, Advocates for America’s Military Families!
When Vicki Cody got married 46 years ago, she also became wedded to the Army. In fact, her marriage has been inseparable from the military. She has spent her adult life supporting her family of soldiers and penned two award-winning books – Army Wife and Fly Safe – that help tell the story of what she and millions of army spouses and parents face when their loved ones go off to serve their country thousands of miles away. An author, speaker, and relentless military family advocate, Vicki is on a mission to help those who support our selfless service members.
Her husband, Richard Cody, is a retired four-star general and served as the 31st Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. She was with him – oceans apart -- as he served in the evacuation of Vietnam and later when he was in the Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. They would move 18 times in 33 years, and as she raised their family of two sons she would see them turn into Apache helicopter pilots for the famed 101st Airborne Division.
Her popular manual, Your Soldier, Your Army: A Family Guide, for the Association of the United States Army, has been distributed to well over 500,000 Army parents.
An interview with Vicki is below:
1. Your husband was no ordinary soldier. He was Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. How did you embrace the uniqueness of your circumstance, to find joy, self-fulfillment, and pride in your role? I was with my husband as he rose in rank from lieutenant to four-star general so I grew right alongside him. Each step of the way, I embraced whatever role I was in, whether company commander’s wife or general’s wife and whatever my responsibilities were. In doing so, I was always learning something new, meeting new people and having new experiences that prepared me for when he became a general and my responsibilities were significant. I loved being a part of the “team” my husband was building. I felt like I was making a difference in the lives of his soldiers and their families and found self-fulfillment in that. I learned to cherish the many joys of Army life.
2. What inspired you to write your first book, Army Wife? -While writing my first book, Your Soldier, Your Army; a Parents’ Guide, I realized I had so much to say about my life as an Army wife. That book was so successful that I realized people were hungry for information about Army life and that there were very few books written from the perspective of an Army spouse. I decided to write a memoir that would encompass my life as an Army wife and by sharing my experiences of over 3 decades, I hoped to give readers, both military and nonmilitary, a very personal glimpse into a unique way of life.
3. You also wrote a manual, Your Soldier, Your Army, for the Association of the United States Army that has been distributed to well over 500,000 army parents. What advice do you have for parents with a child in the armed forces? -Once your son or daughter decides to join the military, I tell parents to respect and honor that decision. They should feel proud that they raised a kid who has the courage and moral turpitude to step up and raise their right hand to take the oath to defend our nation. Not every kid does that. I also tell parents to enjoy the ride and take part in their son or daughter’s military career. It is an exciting, at times dangerous, career choice but the more involved you are the more you will understand and eventually enjoy what your kid has chosen to do.
4. How do spouses of soldiers bond with each other? What is that club like? Spouses bond much the same way soldiers do by living the same life and in close proximity, enduring challenges, and sharing the joys of military life. All of that creates a common ground and bonds are formed, especially when the soldiers are gone or deployed. The spouses rely on each other for support as most of us are far from our own families. We, spouses, refer to our camaraderie as a “sisterhood” and I could not have gotten through the tough times without my “sisters.”
5. Vicki, you were not only an army wife but you became an army mom. Is it different when your sons are overseas and not your husband? It is very different having your sons deployed. When my husband was deployed it was a different kind of worry and stress. I missed him dearly but I saw him as a grown man who, in my eyes, was indestructible. I always felt that he would be ok. When our sons deployed, they were right out of flight school, each in his early 20’s and heading to a combat zone. It was very scary to let them go; I still saw them as my young boys. I worried more about our sons than I did their father.
6. Your latest book, Fly Safe, sheds light on Operation Desert Storm. As you reflect back now, through old letters and memories, what feelings or thoughts stick with you? When I reread all 94 letters that my husband had written to me during the Gulf War, I was struck by how brave he and his men were and the sacrifices they made for our country. His letters also revealed how much he loved me and how proud he was of me for “holding down the fort” while he was gone. I think over the years and with all the moves and separations, I lost sight of what was in those letters; I forgot how much he appreciated me and what I did to support him. So, after all those years, it was wonderful to read those sentiments again.
7. In Fly Safe you share journal entries that reflect the roller coaster of stress, loneliness, sleepless nights, humor and joy. As you look back now at what you wrote then, what comes to mind? Rereading my journal after so many years, it took me right back to those days. It was like I was reliving that deployment all over again. I felt the stress and loneliness but was amazed at how well I dealt with all of that. It brought back good memories too; things I did with our sons and the times we shared that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It was such a unique situation to be in but I am thankful for it. I am stronger for it and I am aware of my capabilities. I see now that I was tested in many ways and I feel like I did well. That is a good feeling to have.
8. How did you learn to be resilient? I’m not sure resilience can be learned; I think it is more about being able to adjust to what is happening around you and thriving in that environment. When I married my husband, I already possessed self-awareness and an ability to be flexible. Then with all of the moves and upheavals and unpredictability of Army life, each time I had to figure out how to best take care of myself and our sons, I became more resilient. Being tested and challenged is what helps us become resilient and Army life gives you plenty of those opportunities!
9. You wrote that over time you would learn to embrace Army life. What is that life like? I knew nothing about the Army when I married my husband so it took some time for me to adjust to such a unique and different way of life. Army life is unpredictable and full of the unexpected, it can be scary and dangerous. It was the source of some of our biggest stresses but at the same time some of our greatest joys. For all of the challenges we faced, we experienced great satisfaction; for every downside there was an upside; for every separation there was a homecoming. As I learned to embrace Army life, I learned to embrace my inner self. I became such a strong wife, mother, and woman and that is a very empowering feeling.
10. For many who serve in the Army, they come out with life lessons. As the wife and mother of soldiers, what life lessons did you come away with? Life doesn’t always follow a carefully planned script. We don’t get to write the screenplay of our lives, even though at times we think we are doing just that. We come to a fork in the road and we make a choice which gives us a feeling that we’re in charge. When you start to believe that you get to script your life you set yourself up for disappointment. Life is not perfect, it is not all joys; but it is the challenges, the fears, the “not so perfect” moments that make everything else so sweet, creating a rich and meaningful life.
For more information, please consult www.vickicody.com.
Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at email@example.com He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.