News: From middle school friendship to lifelong bond; Quantico sweethearts remain united
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. - A journey that began in the hallways of Quantico Middle/High School many years ago, bloomed into a relationship that has passed the test of a 20-year Marine Corps career, three children, college, and everything else that life can throw a couples way.
The journey still continues aboard Quantico for Stephen Chace and his wife Karen, the place where they first met, he was commissioned as an officer and also where they married.
“Quantico is home to us, we met here, started out as friends, ended up dating, went to college and then came back here to get married,” Stephen said.
The couple met in 1971 when both their fathers were stationed aboard the base. They were friends throughout high school, seeing each other constantly since Karen was best friends with Stephen’s sister Kim, but they didn’t date until after high school.
“Our first date was June 24, 1976 and we just never broke up,” said Stephen, now the director of the base’s Legal Assistance department.
The couple was married at the base chapel on May 24, 1980.
In the ensuing 36 years, they were separated early in their relationship by college, he went to the Virginia Military Institute and she went to Virginia Commonwealth University. Then, after they were married, the Marine Corps did its fair share with deployments and unaccompanied tours to duty stations.
“Thirty six years is a long time, and not every day is great, but to make a marriage work you have to commit to it,” Stephen said. “You have to take time to be with each other and we’ve done that.”
In 20 years of active duty service to the Corps, the Chase family was never stationed at Quantico. They resided at duty stations like Okinawa, Japan; Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Calif., and Marine Corps Base Hawaii, but Quantico was still always where they considered home.
“We were always trying to get back, but could never get orders here,” Stephen said.
In 2007, Stephen was working as a private practice lawyer when he finally received the call to come back to Quantico. It was an opportunity he almost passed up, but Karen persuaded him to go for the interview.
“She knew and I knew that if I came down for an interview, I was going to take the job,” Stephen added. “Well, actually she knew better than I did.
“She told me, I know you miss the Marine Corps and I know you liked doing that job (legal assistance), because it was my first job as a lawyer in the Corps,” he continued.
Happily back where they started, the Chaces are still deeply committed to each other, the Corps and Quantico, something they don’t see changing.
This work, From middle school friendship to lifelong bond; Quantico sweethearts remain united, by Sgt Christopher Zahn, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.