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Operation SWAP gives spouses the chance to live a day in each other’s boots

An ingenious way to allow for greater understanding between spouses, the Canadian Armed Forces recently launched a new pilot program: OPERATION SWAP (Switch With Awesome Partner).

OPERATION SWAP ran as a one-day only pilot program at several bases across the country.

As part of the operation, spouses took the place of their military loved ones.

The day started off with a crash course that combined basic training then trade training, all in one hour. Then the spouses stepped into their partner’s career: whether it is running a wing, being a naval communicator, or serving as an infantry soldier, depending on whether their service-member is Army, Navy, or Air Force.

One of OPERATION SWAP’s participants, Suzie L, hung up her corporate heels for the day and found her pair of combat boots to be much more comfortable.


“Sure I had to shine by boots for hours and my hands got covered in polish, but then the mess delivered us hayboxes for lunch. It was such a great feeling getting served lunch for a change,” said Suzie.

And of course, no dishes and no cleaning was a big plus for many of the spouses.

While many of the moms participating were great at dishing out discipline, many, however, struggled with taking it. Insiders confirm many push ups were handed out during the course of the day.

Meanwhile, the military members part of OPERATION SWAP spent the day filling in for their spouses’ civilian jobs and attending to their household tasks.

The task proved to be much more challenging than some had anticipated.

“Why can I not go to the bathroom by myself?” asked Phil, father of 2 year old Lily, and 4 year old Jack. “And where do they come up with all these questions? It’s non stop! By the time afternoon nap time came around, I ended up going to bed with them too!”

The hope is that OPERATION SWAP provides spouses with a better understanding of what the other tackles during a day.

Some reported that the participating military spouses had a better grasp of military lingo and acronyms, making work related conversations easier, while the military members learned that being a military spouse, working or stay-at-home, is no walk in the park.

Pending on its success, OPERATION SWAP is planned to go nationwide next year, perhaps even with an expansion: OPERATION SWAP week.


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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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Canadian Military Family Magazine