A Team Effort: My Three Decades as An Army Spouse

Susan Rothmann


Susie Rothmann met her future husband, Harry, on a blind date. The first time she saw him, he was finishing Sprint Football practice at Shea Stadium, by the river. Following a short courtship, she and Harry were married at the Catholic Chapel at West Point and she began her life as a military spouse. Having never left her family in Montclair, New Jersey, Fort Benning, Georgia and Germany were new experiences. Her first son, Scott, was born in Germany. When the family returned from Europe, Susie and Scott returned to Montclair, New Jersey to be close to family, because of an Army policy that did not allow military spouses to live on post while their husbands were deployed to Vietnam. Several years after Harry returned from Vietnam, he was selected to teach in the Department of History at West Point and attended grad school at UNC. Both Susie and Harry really enjoyed their time at West Point, because it always felt like home to them. When Harry took command of a battalion at Fort Campbell, Susie led the Family Readiness Group. Through all of their experiences, Susie and Harry represent a great Army Family, raising three sons, and gaining rich experiences across the country and the globe. In this interview, Susie talks about her experiences as an Army spouse. She discusses attending formal functions in Germany and the expected dress code for Army wives in the late 60s. She talks about meeting Harry in Hawaii during his R&R from Vietnam. She explores the issues of dealing with anti-war sentiment while living in her home town from 1969 to 1970. Her story about driving to Washington D.C. to be with her good friend Eileen Kelly after her husband was killed in Vietnam is very touching. Finally, she talks about taking care of families following the Gander tragedy on December 12, 1985 when Harry assumed immediate command of 3/502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.


conflicts Vietnam War Persian Gulf War
topics West Point History Military Families Military Family
interviewer David Siry
date 24 February 2016


name Susan Rothmann
specialty Spouse USMA 67