COB ADDER, Iraq - For some Soldiers, the hardest part of being deployed is not the extreme weather or long hours-it's being away from home, friends and family. Leaving behind a spouse for a year-long deployment can be one of the most challenging aspects for married couples.
Time apart from a civilian or military spouse can be emotionally challenging for both parties. In today's military, there are a growing number of dual military couples where both spouses serve, leading to some unique challenges and hardships during deployments.
With the Married Army Couples Program, which helps place married service members in proximal units, some couples have the advantage of being deployed together.
Within 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, there are several examples of this unique status, three dual military couples within 'Dragoon' Troop either have spouses on the installation or deployed elsewhere.
Pfc. Donald and Pfc. Kristina Schmit from Minocqua, Wis., serve as a cavalry scout in Headquarters and Headquarters Troop and a signal support systems specialist in Troop D respectively and are currently deployed to Contingency Operating Base Adder. Prior to their deployment, the two had spent a year apart conducting training, and they view this deployment as a chance to spend time together.
"Being deployed together has strengthened our relationship, and I'm glad to see my husband on a daily basis," said Kristina.
Like many dual military couples, Sgt. Brian and Spc. Kaylynn Waltrip of Ogden, Utah, and Phelon, Calif., respectively got married during their military career. They met while stationed together at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Waltrip's serve in different battalions within 3rd BCT but are stationed together on COB Adder.
Brian works as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear noncommissioned officer, Troop D, 4th Sqdn., 10th Cav. Regt. Kaylynn works as a health care specialist in Company C, 64th Bde. Support Battalion.
"It's a blessing and it's hard at the same time. Whenever my wife is on the road, it's like I'm out there with her," Brian said.
For Sgt. 1st Class James and Staff Sgt. Monica Padilla of Scottville, Mich., serving in different theaters makes for some challenges. James is a Troop D, 4th Sqdn., 10th Cav. maintenance platoon sergeant while Monica is a transportation management coordinator with 43rd Sustainment Bde. in Afghanistan. Though the two are deployed to different countries, they share the same deployment rotation, bringing them home at the same time.
"Even though we're not [physically] together, we understand each other's stresses of being deployed and help each other," James said. "Fortunately, with instant messenger, webcams and phones, we are able to keep in touch even if we are thousands of miles apart."