Couple Shares Experience Of Being Married Soldiers Deployed Together
(November 3, 2010)
BAGHDAD — “Go big or go home” is what Sgt. Ashleigh Berg
told her husband, Sgt. Matthew Berg, when they decided to
re-enlist for four more years Oct. 21 in front of the
“Crossed Sabers” in Baghdad's Green Zone.|
Sgt. Matthew Berg (left), a vehicle maintenance
noncommissioned officer with the headquarters motor pool with 1st Armored
Division, United States Division – Center, and a Mobile, Ala., native, and Sgt.
Ashleigh Berg, his wife and the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the
secretary of general staff for 1st Armd. Div., and a Malibu, Calif., native,
reenlist Oct. 21, 2010 in front of the “Crossed Sabers” in Baghdad's Green Zone.
Ashleigh, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of
the secretary of general staff for 1st Armored
Division, United States Division – Center, and a
Malibu, Calif., native, and Matthew, a vehicle
maintenance noncommissioned officer with the
headquarters motor pool with 1st Armd. Div., and
a Mobile, Ala., native, have been married to
each other for more than five years and have
many experiences most civilian couples do not
“We met at Camp Red Cloud [South Korea] while
doing gate guard duty,” Matthew said. “During
our duty, we had a good chat and after that I
started showing her around Korea.”
“In a way, he almost became my sponsor, as he
showed me around the different parts of Seoul,”
Ashleigh said while looking over
at her husband with a smile.
After spending time with each other and traveling together, the Bergs'
relationship developed and they eventually became engaged to be married. The
couple took advantage of the unique opportunity to get married in the South
Korean capital, Seoul.|
“When we got married, we paid our 30,000 won [the equivalent of $30] and were
issued a Korean wedding certificate that actually had all the writing in Hangul
[the alphabet native to the Korean language],” Ashleigh said. “We then, of
course, went over to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul where our marriage became
official. I think it's pretty cool; I mean there are not many people I know who
have a wedding certificate in Hangul.”
As both soldiers' enlistments neared the ends of their terms of service, they
decided to reenlist, for the first time, and were stationed in Germany.
“Germany was great,” Matthew said. “We kept traveling and got to see most of the
country and even some other countries like Austria. We even took advantage of
the [Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, in Garmisch, Germany], which was a lot of fun.”
In their third year of marriage, Ashleigh found herself packing her bags and
kissing her husband goodbye for a deployment to Iraq, but the two set up
solutions to keep communication flowing between them while she was away.
“Before I left Iraq, we made sure we had both purchased Web cams and had Skype
downloaded onto our computers,” Ashleigh said. “We also kept open lines of
communication between each other leading up to the deployment so, in a way, we
had both mentally prepared ourselves for this.”
However, the couple was apart for only months before Matthew was informed he
would be joining his wife in Iraq with 1st Armored Division.
“The transition of having him come in was actually an easy one,” Ashleigh said
with a small laugh. “About two days before he came to join me, my roommate at
the time had moved out, so he was able to literally just move right in.”
Ashleigh and Matthew said not much has changed between their first deployment to
Iraq together and their current one, but it is not always easy—and at the end of
the day, it's the little things that count.
“From the last deployment to this one, we never really worked too far from each
other,” Ashleigh said.
Matthew said Ashleigh can sometimes work very late, and while she is nearby, he
may go the whole day without seeing her. However, he is glad to see her at the
end of the day as opposed to being separated by thousands of miles.
“Coming out here today was awesome,” Ashleigh said about the opportunity to
re-enlist in front of the Crossed Sabers, which mark then ends of what used to
be Saddam Hussein's military parade grounds. “I had the chance today to get out
and see a real part of Iraq.”
Matthew said the day was exciting—his second time in a helicopter—and that he
felt fortunate see a little bit of what Baghdad actually looks like, while some
people go a whole deployment seeing nothing but dirt and concrete blast walls.
Deployments are not easy, and the added stressors of a relationship can be an
extra challenge to manage, but Ashleigh and Matthew agree that whether pulling
guard duty, travelling or reenlisting, they a truly in step with each other—and
on a deployment, that can make all the difference in the world.
Article and photo by Army SSgt. Brandon Moreno
1st Armored Division Public Affairs Office
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