Deployments often mean being away from family for long periods of time. For most soldiers the time spent away from loved ones can be difficult, but for two married soldiers from the Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, this deployment bears a striking resemblance to life at home in Fort Knox, Ky.
Upon arriving at Forward Operating Base Goode, U.S. Army sergeants Stephanie, a medic with the STB and a resident of Fort Knox, Ky., and Dustin Drewry, a combat engineer with the personal security detail in STB and a native of Sacramento, Calif., were surprised and uneasy when told they’d be living on the other side of the FOB and sharing a room.
Married for almost two years, they were unsure whether sharing a room would affect their marriage and the way they interacted with others, said Dustin.
“We weren’t sure whether we wanted to live together,” Dustin said. “It kind of cuts me out of team cohesion, because when I go home for the day I tend to stay there.”
Dustin and Stephanie met while she was a medic for the STB in Fort Hood, Texas. This wasn’t the first time the two had been deployed together. They both deployed with the STB in 2008-2009 but spent the year on different FOBs, only seeing each other twice the entire deployment, Stephanie said.
Like many things in life, being deployed together has its ups and downs, she said.
For the current deployment to Afghanistan, they rely on extended family to take care of affairs back home, she said. Their house was recently broken into, requiring them to file an insurance claim from Afghanistan, which wasn’t easy.
“I miss the peace of mind of having someone at our house watching it,” Dustin said.
While deployed, many soldiers debate how much information to share with folks back home. For Dustin and Stephanie, there is no protecting the other from knowing how dangerous things are, Stephanie said.
“It’s kind of scary because I know what he does as PSD,” she said. “I’ve been in a line unit before so I know the kinds of things that happen.”
Knowing what could happen can at times be worrisome, and Dustin likes to call her a “worrywart,” Stephanie joked.
Living together isn’t all hardship, Dustin admits. Having someone to vent to and talk with after a hard day’s work makes things easier.
“It’s nice to be able to talk to somebody and not have to be Sgt. Drewry,” she said. “I can just be Stephanie.”
Despite working on the same FOB and living in the same room, the two spend only a handful of hours together each day, because they work different hours, Dustin said. He often travels with the command sergeant major or battalion commander for a week or two at a time. When he comes home it feels like he’s back in Fort Knox, returning from a field exercise, he said.
On the occasions where they spend time together, they keep things low-key and spend the time talking or watching TV.
While being a joint military couple has its challenges, it also has its rewards too, Stephanie said.
“I don’t have to explain everything,” she said, laughing. “He just understands because he’s been there and done that.”
“Getting to see each other on a daily basis has its benefits,” Stephanie said. “We get to share the challenges and accomplishments of the day, which is a blessing a lot of couples don’t have while deployed.”
Story by Spc. Tobey White