By Amanda Tucker
3rd Sustainment Command
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – Is there a Soldier in Iraq who wouldn't love to have a loved one here?
In some cases, service members do get to have their loved ones near. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and even twins are spread throughout Iraq, fighting the war on terrorism.
For two specific non-commissioned officers, they get to share their experiences together.
Sgt. Cruz Munoz, a Chicago native, and Staff Sgt. Iris Munoz, a Springfield, Mo., native, are married patrol leaders for the 164th Military Police Company, based out of Fort Richardson, Alaska. They met while serving together at Fort Riley, Kan. Cruz had been in the unit ten months when his future wife, Iris, arrived at the unit. Now, they have two children, a 2-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, and just recently celebrated their six-year anniversary in July.
(Cruz) deployed as part of the original company over here, while Iris was in a separate unit, at the same installation, said Capt. Norris, Company Commander for the 164th MP Company and Phoenix native. "[She] fought tooth and nail to join this company on this deployment." She came over 90 days after we had already been here.
Even though Iris fought to be in Iraq, being deployed together with her husband isn't always as nice as it seems.
Within her first month as a patrol leader, Iris Munoz went outside the wire on a night mission and her vehicle was hit three times by improvised explosive devices within two hours. Her husband was back at Joint Base Balad waiting for a report.
"He wasn't worried or anything because [he] knew she knew how to do her job. They both know how to be a Soldier real well and a leader. So he wasn't worried at all," said Spc. Nicholas Smith, a gunner for the 164th MP Company and a Frederick, Md. native.
"[We've] run, combined between me and my wife, about 600 combat patrols since we've been here in country," Cruz said.
But being a married MP is not always so stressful. The two are still able to joke around.
"We had a competition one time," said Cruz, mentioning a game the two play to see whose Soldiers will knock on their door more.
Iris did not know that Cruz had made a rule with his Soldiers not to disturb him after he had gone home to work.
"The first day she was so mad because we started counting, 1..2..3..4..5.. It ended up being like 23 to 1. [Then] she cheated," said Cruz
In the morning she went around and told me and the squad to come knock on her door, said Smith. When I asked why, she said, "Just do it."
While being in a combat environment is difficult, the Cruzs are living proof that somehow a Soldier can make good with the bad.
This work, Married Squad Leaders Work in MP Company, by SSG Amanda Tucker, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.