News: Love at first sight; an Army story
Story by Spc. Thomas Duval
ZABUL PROVINCE, Afghanistan - When most soldiers deploy from their home station, they leave behind more than their daily routines. Many of them leave behind friends, wives, sons, daughters and husbands, and in many cases, communication back home to their loved ones can become a rare luxury and somewhat of a reward.
But that’s not the case for Army 1st Lt. Aaron Frazier and his wife 1st Lt. Heather Frazier, both personnel officers assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, stationed out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska, who are currently enjoying the opportunity to see each other every day during their deployment to Afghanistan.
“I consider myself blessed to have my husband here with me,” said Heather. “I know we are the exception. As a military spouse, the hardest thing for me about deployments is saying goodbye. This time, I haven’t had to say goodbye!”
The two California natives deployed to Afghanistan in April. After arriving in country, they were assigned to the same forward operating base and were granted joint living space.
“I am deployed with my best friend and we are fortunate enough to see each other … we are very grateful and couldn’t ask for more,” said Heather.
She continued, “I know that we probably won’t be able to stay together for this whole year, and that’s ok … just knowing that our deployment will end at the same time next year is a blessing.”
Aaron said. “It truly is a blessing to have her here with me.”
The Fraziers agree that deploying together has been a blessing but say it still has its challenges.
“One of the challenges of being deployed together is that sometimes we work on some of the same projects, but we both have a different way of getting things done,” Heather said smiling. “I have to remind myself that just because it is not done my way, doesn’t mean it is being done the wrong way. And another hardship is finding the time to nurture our marriage … focusing on work 24/7 it can be hard to find the time to give emotionally,” she said. “We just take it a day at a time and take advantage of the times we have together.”
Although the two are enjoying the joint deployment, their marriage hasn’t always been easy.
In fact, the two have spent more than five of their 12 years of marriage separated, including their first wedding anniversary, when Aaron was called to serve in Kuwait.
“We have learned, through our years of marriage and being in the Army that it is important to take advantage and appreciate what you have when you have it and to live in the now,” Aaron said.
And while many dual-military couples would have a rough time adjusting to the demanding lifestyle, it’s what the Fraziers have grown to know.
“The Army is all our relationship knows,” said Heather, a Palmdale, Calif., native. “We have always been in the Army, and we both decided from the beginning that if one was going to stay in, that the other would too!”
“We didn’t and don’t want to go through the Army ‘experience’ without each other,” added Aaron, a San Diego native.
Despite the couple having to spend multiple anniversaries, birthdays and other important holidays separated, the two agree that without the Army they probably would have no ‘fairy tale love story.’ In fact, they probably would have never met at all…
HOW THEY MET...
It was Oct. 19, 1999, and Heather’s birthday had begun like no previous one had. A 5:30 a.m. wake up, followed by hours of rigorous physical fitness. Typically, physical training would put a damper on a birthday, but not for Heather.
Instead, it was a day when she would get the biggest present of her life.
“I met Aaron on the first day of chaplain assistant advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, S.C.,” Heather said. “I liked him from the moment that I saw him, but it was dark, so I knew I needed to wait and see what he looked like in the light.”
Much like Heather, it was love at first sight for Aaron.
“When I first saw her, I thought she was cute, but I thought it was better to make a decision later that day,” he said. “My initial thought of her was correct. She was even more attractive in the daylight.”
In love, the two soldiers began pursuing a relationship, or at least the possibility of one.
“Our first conversation was about God and our faith,” Heather said. “From that moment, I knew that there was something very special about him and that I felt love for him.”
Luckily for Heather, Aaron felt the same way.
“After a short while I felt myself thinking that she could be ‘The One’ for me,” he said.
Aaron wasn’t the only one who saw the connection.
“One day after training, I was speaking with one of our classmates about Heather, and he said, ‘What you have to decide is do you try and marry her now or later,’’ remembered Aaron. “This statement was kind of random and caused my heart to skip because I knew that she was meant to be my wife.”
He was right, and over the past 12 years the spark that began in the early morning hours on Heather’s 18th birthday has ignited into a love that has endured unimaginable obstacles. But despite the many challenges, the Fraziers are doing what they like to call ‘living in the now,’ which happens to be in a country much different than anyone will find in an romantic movie.
“We are both super proud to be serving our nation and are completely dedicated to our service. We were born to live the life we do … and we love every minute of it,” Heather said.