by 2nd Lt. Gregory Maull, 4th Sqdn., 10th Cav., 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – The hardest part of being deployed is not the extreme weather or long hours—it’s being away from home, friends, and family. Leaving behind a spouse for a year-long deployment can be one of the most challenging aspects for married couples.
Time apart from a civilian or military spouse can be emotionally challenging for both parties. In today’s military, there are a growing number of dual military couples where both spouses serve, leading to some unique challenges and hardships during deployments.
With the Married Army Couples Program, which helps place married servicemembers in proximal units, some couples have the advantage of being deployed together.
Within 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment and the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, there are several examples of this unique status. In fact, three dual military couples within Dragoon Troop either have spouses on the installation deployed elsewhere.
Pfc. Donald and Pfc. Kristina Schmit, from Minocqua, Wis., serve as a cavalry scout in Headquarters Troop and a signal support systems specialist in Troop D respectively and are currently deployed on COB Adder. Prior to their deployment, the two had spent a year apart conducting training, and they view this deployment as a chance to spend time together.
“Being deployed together has strengthened our relationship, and I’m glad to see my husband on a daily basis,” said Kristina.
Like many dual military couples, the Waltrips got married during their military career. They met while stationed together at Fort Bragg, N.C. during their time in the 82nd Airborne Division.
Sgt. Brian Waltrip of Ogden, Utah, and Spc. Kaylynn Waltrip of Phelon, Calif., serve in different battalions within 3rd BCT but are both stationed together on COB Adder.
Brian works as a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear non-commissioned officer, Troop D, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment. His wife, Kaylynn, works as a health care specialist in Company C, 64th Brigade Support Battalion.
“It’s a blessing and it’s hard at the same time. Whenever my wife is on the road, it’s like I’m out there with her,” said Brian.
For the Padillas, of Scottville, Mich., serving in different theaters makes for some challenges. Sgt. 1st Class James Padilla, a Troop D, 4th Sqdn., 10th Cav., maintenance platoon sergeant, is deployed to Iraq. While his wife, Staff Sgt. Monica Padilla, a transportation management coordinator, 43rd Sustainment Brigade currently serves in Afghanistan. Though the two are deployed to different countries, they share the same deployment rotation, bringing them home and together at the same time.
“Even though we’re not [physically] together, we understand each other’s stresses of being deployed and help each other,” said James. ”Fortunately, with instant messenger, webcams, and phones, we are able to keep in touch even if we are thousands of miles apart.”
Each couple believes having a spouse in the military makes serving easier, as there is someone who understands the stress and challenges of a deployment. Even within these distinctive military families, one fact still holds true. It’s the support of loved ones that gives soldiers the courage to complete their missions.