Home National Military Family Appreciation Day 2022: Saluting RCAF spouse Timothy Baxter

Military Family Appreciation Day 2022: Saluting RCAF spouse Timothy Baxter

Timothy Baxter et sa conjointe, la sergente Tanya Bradley.

Military Family Appreciation Day is the first and only day in Canada dedicated to celebrating military families.

It was founded by the Canadian non-profit foundation, Together We Stand, and passed unanimously by Parliament in 2019. Usually held annually on the third Friday in September, this year’s Military Family Appreciation Day is being recognized on Friday, September 23.

This year, in honour of RCAF families, we highlight one such family member, Timothy Baxter, an American citizen who met his wife, Sergeant Tanya Bradley, while she was posted to Tinker, Oklahoma, home of the United States Air Force 552nd Air Control Wing. She was serving as a Financial Services Administrator as part of the Canadian Detachment, comprised of more than 40 RCAF members working with their American partners as part of their NORAD mission of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defence of North America.

The couple now lives in Halifax, where Sgt Bradley is serving with the Royal Canadian Navy, another welcome posting for Timothy who loves his role as military spouse and stepfather to Sgt Bradley’s children. He managed to find employment in his field as a counsellor.

Posting challenges

Now in his second year as an RCAF spouse, Timothy admits one of the biggest challenges he faced at the beginning was having to be patient while waiting for their first posting outside of Tinker.

“We were hoping to get our posting notice so much sooner [but we realized that] the military has to deal with a lot of postings and a lot of people.”

Oklahoma support

While they waited, Timothy, a self-proclaimed “proud RCAF spouse”, decided to reach out to Military Family Services (MFS) to make use of the services available to prepare for the move.

“I was really impressed with the support we received,” says Timothy. “I took advantage of MFS in Oklahoma, including learning French because I want to be able to speak both official languages of Canada. They helped me a lot with that, which was fantastic.”

Settling into family life

Following their marriage, Timothy focused on the important task of parenting his stepchildren, especially with regard to adapting to the military family lifestyle.

“[It has] been interesting because it comes with the realization that there might be a time where my spouse is deployed and I will be responsible [for my stepchildren].

Deployment anxiety

“[I am] trying to build a bond with my stepchildren, so that they trust me enough to allow me to be that parental figure,” he continued. “There is always a lot of anxiety [surrounding deployments], but it’s also one of the most rewarding things [knowing] that your spouse is serving their country and doing something to make Canada a better place.”

Reflecting on his experiences with the RCAF and Canadian Armed Forces so far, Timothy stressed the immense feeling of camaraderie among the troops and their families.

“The Canadian Forces are super supportive of each other and to me [as an American]; that is very impressive,” he explained. “With our posting being at a naval base, my wife working alongside the Canadian Navy. I think that that’s pretty amazing.”

Such is the life of one RCAF spouse. Today, we salute Timothy and all military spouses for their selfless service and sacrifice. Happy Military Family Appreciation Day!

To find your local MFRC and learn about the services they can offer you, visit the CAF Connection website here.

To find out how you can access second language training as a military spouse: Second Language Training (SLT) (cafconnection.ca)