CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — During a deployment, most Marines are separated from their families, but for one married couple a deployment provides the opportunity to connect in a way most would not be able to experience.
Staff Sgt. Luke Billingsley along with his wife Sgt. Nancy Billingsley, from San Diego, are both currently deployed with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16 (Forward), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Although the couple was forced to leave their four children at home with family, they said being able to see each other throughout the deployment makes their time away easier.
"It's like a piece of home you get to bring with you," Nancy said. "But ultimately it's not all easy because even though we come out here we still have to exert ourselves at work, but then also find time to make the marriage work. It makes it a lot easier to be deployed because I get to see him every day. He's more like my support, so when I'm having an off day I know that he's there so I don't feel alone as much."
Being deployed with his wife gives him a family member to lean on during the deployment, which makes things easier, said Luke.
"The main benefit of being deployed with my wife is the peace of mind I have," he said. "I don't have worry about my wife needing anything because I can see her here. I see her every day. I know that she doesn't really need anything. Everything that she needs is out here, and if she does need something, I'll be right here for her to help her with anything."
While being away from their children is hard, Nancy said having her husband deployed with her makes the hardship easier. During their seven-month deployment, the couple will also celebrate their fourth anniversary during October.
"Having my husband out here makes it really easy for me to do my job," Nancy said. "That home sickness part of the deployment doesn't really exist. I mean we miss our kids, but ultimately that home sickness doesn't set in like everybody else's."
Even while they're deployed they still find time for each other.
"We see each other during lunch and during work whenever we get a chance. Our schedules overlap each other, but it definitely makes the deployment easier," Nancy said. "It's more on his part because he comes for my laundry. He does all the little things because as soon as I get off at (6 a.m.) I usually just want to go straight to bed. But he's constantly catering to what I need."
"I do laundry, walk her to work, walk her home, walk her to chow and bring her chow," Luke said. "I even packed her gear to come out here. The only thing she had to do was drag her bags to the aircraft. Overall I'm happy and content with the way things are."
Having his spouse on the deployment with him allows him to focus on his job instead of worrying about home.
"Overall, I'm happy with the situation cause it's just one less worry that I have to worry about back home," Luke said. "It's not as bad as a deployment should be. It's not a normal deployment because I do have my wife here vice a wife and kids being back home. I have a family out here, so it makes the deployment a little easier."