News: Arrowhead couple recommits to the Army together
Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Choosing to serve your nation is an honor and a privilege for many, although it is not without its hardships, such as long hours, deployments to faraway places, and time away from loved ones.
For one married couple, Staff Sgt. James Owens and Sgt. Brook Owens, both with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, their desire to continue serving the Army was on display July 10 as they chose to re-enlist together.
Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, the commanding general of 7th ID, said the opportunity to reenlist the couple was an honor and a privilege.
"As a husband and wife team serving our nation, it is very humbling," Ferrell said. "The ability to re-enlist together and continue to serve and make that commitment…you're part of the less than one percent of the American population that do what we do. [That's why] it's even more important to know that we have Soldiers like you that are willing to carry on the tradition.”
Ferrell had some words of wisdom for the couple gained from his 30-year military career.
“Set your goals wherever you want to go,” he told them. “That's the thing about the reenlistment. It opens doors. Open those doors and be willing to walk through and accept what you want to accept."
James, a Sparks, Nev., native, a training room noncommissioned officer, has served the Army for eight years. This is his third re-enlistment. When the time comes around again, he will re-enlist for "indefinite" status, which means he will not need to re-enlist again before he retires.
For Brook, a Grand Junction, Colo., native, who serves as a welder, this was only her second reenlistment, which will bring her out to mid-career point. Both plan to go the distance and retire after twenty years, they said.
"We want to try and go until we retire, and at the same time we do want to start a family," James said.
Both Soldiers met five years ago at the Warrior Leader Course at Fort Carson, Colo. They were in the same class together. Since then, they have been inseparable, even deploying to Afghanistan together in 2009 when they were both with 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, at Fort Carson.
James and Brook both currently reside in Nisqually Valley and reenlisted for four years and the option to stay at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“We bought a house last year right after a Yakima Training Center [rotation], and we want to stick around the house for a few years before we leave," James said.
James plans to continue his military education and is striving to attend Master Gunner School in the hopes of one day becoming the brigade master gunner.
Brook is currently working on online courses and hopes to attend Advanced Leaders Course in a few months, which will help further her career.
For James and Brook, this re-enlistment offered the opportunity to not only reaffirm their dedication to the Army and to the nation as a whole, but to do so as a couple that has weathered many hardships together.