Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Our Time in the Military

With today being Veterans day I figured it'd be the perfect time to write about our time {mostly my husband's, but it was mine too darnit!} in the military, more specifically the Army. As of now Thomas has been a Veteran for two years, but let's back track to the beginning.

For those of you who don't know, we started dating while we were in high school- T was a Junior and I was a Sophomore. Talk of joining the military didn't happen until the spring after I had graduated, 2009. One day we were hanging out and he said he thought about joining, because college wasn't working out for him and he wasn't happy spending his days at Panera. Ten minutes later we were on a different subject and I didn't think about it again... until a few days later saying that he met up with a Recruiter and was moving forward with joining. At the time our relationship was a little rocky and I went into the whole thing thinking "if we're meant to be it'll work out and if not it'll be easier to get over him". That line of thinking really saved me. It took the pressure off and it made the time leading up to his ship out date a lot more enjoyable.

Here we are at the going away party.

He left for Basic Training on July 7, 2009. I only remember the date because it was exactly one month before my 19th birthday!  His parents, sister, best friends, and I were all there to see him be sworn in and loaded onto the bus taking him away to Ft. Benning, Georgia. We had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into ;)

Over the next two months I wrote a letter every single day and not-so patiently awaited the Sunday night phone calls. And then I finally got to see him again! I flew down to GA for his 36-hour weekend pass September 11-13. That weekend was one of the best weekends we've ever spent together, but it also was a hard one. Thomas revealed that he wasn't happy and regretted joining, but when you sign on that dotted line there is no turning back... and all you can do is make the most out of it, which is exactly what we did :)

 Good ole self-timer!

Skyping with his parents

Fast forward another month and a half and it was time for his Turning Blue {becoming an Infantryman} Ceremony and Graduation! His family, best friends (8 of them!!!) all drove down to Georgia to be a part of it. We got a tour of the post, his barracks, and a real glimpse at what his life was like while he was there.

 Turning Blue Ceremony


Once graduation was over we had two glorious weeks at home together. We spent a lot of time with family and friends, but we also got time just the two of us. We even got engaged during this time :) Unfortunately, he couldn't stay home forever and had to report to his duty station- Ft. Polk, Louisiana. That transition was hard. Simply put Ft. Polk BLOWS. It is in the middle of bum-freaking-nowhere, the only thing to do is go to strip clubs/bars, and the "mall" aka Walmart is the closest store at 25 minutes away. It's just a really crappy place, but he was there for 3 years so we had to just suck it up. Every chance we got we traveled back and forth to see one another and now looking back I miss that. I miss traveling all the time, I miss the feeling of seeing him waiting for me just outside of security, but I do not miss the tearful see you laters. 

After a year at Ft. Polk it was time to deploy to Afghanistan for a year. It amazes me that we made it through this year. It amazes me that NONE of Thomas' close friends/unit was KIA. It amazes me that we went nine freaking months without seeing each other, had two amazing weeks together during R&R, and then had to send him back. It still blows my mind. I still learn new things about his deployment all the time and we talk about it a lot. Now that it's over and he's home safe we are grateful for that year. Grateful for the things we learned, grateful for the growth we experienced, and grateful for the financial advancement it provided us. I wouldn't ever want to experience it again, but Thomas would love to... at least the good parts ;)

 Skyping with him for the first time. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures, you can just see how damn excited I was to finally see that handsome face.

 Thomas' platoon with a few ANA's (Afghan National Army)
 Just a little patrol...

 Nothing like a Afghan meal....
 Thomas with a few locals
T with his best Army buddy- Ford. They're still great friends, Ford was just here for a week visiting in August.
How insane is this picture?! Can you find them?
Right after I picked him up from the airport for R&R.

Words can't describe the relief everyone felt once the deployment was over and he had made it home safely. We are so thankful! The day he walked off that plane was the best day of my life so far, beating even our wedding day.

And after that it was time to just ride out the rest of his contract, which at this point was a year. During that year we got married, spent the summer together in Louisiana, and then began the outproccessing process. Now we are back in Michigan and he is taking advantage of the GI Bill, studying Exercise Science. 

In conclusion to this novel {thank you to those who've made it this far!}, after all is said and done the Army was a huge blessing to us. It'll always be a huge part of our story and not very many people can say that... in fact only 1% of The United States population has served in the Armed Forces. I'm proud of Thomas today and everyday. I feel so blessed to be able to call my husband a Veteran. 

If you see a Veteran today, please thank them for their service! :)


  1. I thought about you and Thomas when I woke up today for Veteran's day. I can't believe I have known you since before he enlisted! It still amazes me how couples deal with deployment. Happy for you that he is home safe and sounds. Happy Veterans Day, T!

  2. Thank you so much for your husbands service and to you for sticking by his side!!
    Happy Veterans Day