Like Two Ships
(May 19, 2011)
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq (5/15/2011) – The Army brought
Amy Hanson and Kris Acu�a together. Then the Army took them apart. Last
month, it reunited them. Next month, it will divide them again.
Marriage, as it turns out, can be strong – or, it can be Army strong.|
Spc. Amy Acu�a, a paralegal with the 275th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and a native of Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Sgt. Kris Acu�a, a multichannel systems transmission operator with the 40th Signal Battalion, take care of everyday duties together, such as taking clothes to the laundry facility as pictured here, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq
on May 3, 2011.
Sgt. Kris Acu�a, a multichannel systems transmission operator with
the 40th Signal Battalion, met Spc. Amy Hanson, a paralegal with the
275th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 77th Sustainment
Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and a native of
Sierra Vista, Ariz., when his unit stationed him at Fort Huachuca,
Falling in love was the easy part. The hard part was
“I knew he was going when I married him,” Spc.
“I've been in long enough that I was prepared
for disappointment,” Sgt. Acu�a said.
Sgt. Acu�a left for
Iraq last June. Earlier this year, he ended up in Tikrit at
Contingency Operating Base Speicher, where he was told he would
finish his deployment. He still had six months left, but it already
felt like the home stretch. That's about the time his wife called.
Spc. Acu�a had been cross-leveled, or picked up by another Reserve unit
for deployment. She would be in Afghanistan by spring.|
soldiers, two deployments. All said, the Acu�as were looking at nearly
two years of separation.
“The time apart was going to be longer
than the time we've been together,” Spc. Acu�a said. “I just didn't
know, realistically, when I would see him again. It was frustrating, but
Over the next few weeks, duty called two more times.
First the good news: Spc. Acu�a's new unit wasn't going anywhere. The
deployment was off. Shortly after, the bad news came.
been cross-leveled again. This time, it would be Iraq. That call came
from Capt. Dassie Jones, commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters
Company for the 275th CSSB at Fort Lee, Va.
was short, but it was long enough for Jones to learn a little about the
Acu�as and their struggle. It was also long enough for him to hang a
silver lining on their cloud: the 275th CSSB was going to COB Speicher,
and they would be there three months before the 40th Signal Battalion
was scheduled to leave.
“I thought it was an unbelievable
coincidence,” Jones said.
There was no hesitation. Jones began
meeting with the members of the battalion leadership. He sought out Sgt.
Acu�a's company commander. Their request to allow the Acu�as to live
together on COB Speicher was approved.
“I didn't have any
concerns,” said Jones, “because I knew that we were doing right by the
The 275th CSSB chaplain couldn't agree more.
a shame this isn't more common,” said Capt. Stephen Thurnau, a chaplain
with the 275th CSSB who left his congregation in North Carolina to join
the unit at COB Speicher.
“How much easier would it be to get
people to reenlist if everyone knew they could leave home without
completely leaving their spouse?” Thurnau said.
He said a
deployment, however, can put a strain on any relationship.
years ago, the Acu�as probably never thought their second home would be
a metal box in the middle of the desert.
“It's awesome, being
able to come home from work and know I'll be able to see her,” said Sgt.
Acu�a. “It's something you never expect going into a deployment. It's a
reality check every morning.”
For the Acu�as, it's a reality
check that only lasts about 90 days. Reality itself sets in sometime
this summer. But it's a deal Spc. Acu�a says she'd take every time.
Article and photo by Army 1st Lt. Joshua Farmer
310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command
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