Sailor Serves With Marine Husband
(January 28, 2011)
|CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — Most spouses of active duty
military members have to endure the hardship of separation
while their loved one is deployed, but one dual active-duty
married couple here has the unique opportunity of serving
together in the same unit. |
Petty Officer 1st Class Chat Rice (center), leading petty officer of patient tracker, Health Services Support Element, G-3, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), poses with her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeff Rice (left), radio chief and spectrum manager, G-6, 1st MLG (FWD), and Brig. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general of 1st MLG (FWD), after her reenlistment ceremony at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Jan. 21,
2011. The dual-military couple is currently deployed together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
1st Class Chat Rice and Marine Staff Sgt. Jeff Rice,
San Diego natives, are currently deployed together
with 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) in support
of Operation Enduring Freedom.
deployments have separated the sailor and Marine for
much of their 7-year marriage, but this is the first
time the couple has ever been deployed together.
“Having him here is very good for me,” said
Chat, 29, of her husband. “I can always go to him if
I need someone to talk to, or just hang out and talk
about our families and our son.”
met in August 2001 while stationed together in
Okinawa, Japan. Then in 2002, Chat received orders
to Camp Pendleton, so they maintained a
long-distance relationship, she said. While they
were still dating, Jeff deployed twice with the 31st
Marine Expeditionary Unit. They got married Feb. 8,
Since they've been married, Jeff has deployed five
times – this is his eighth deployment altogether –
and this is Chat's second deployment. In 2008, the
only year Jeff wasn't deployed during their
marriage, the couple's first son, Seth, was born.
“As you can see, it took us a while to have
a child because he's always deployed,” joked Chat of
Jeff's multiple deployments.
current deployment, Jeff and Chat are fortunate
enough to work in the same compound, but have very
different jobs within 1st MLG (FWD).
works as a patient tracker for the Health Services
Support Element. Her responsibilities include
globally tracking all 1st MLG (FWD) patients from
their point of injury to their final destination and
providing patient statuses to command leaders.
Jeff serves as the radio chief and spectrum
manager for the 1st MLG (FWD) G-6. As the radio
chief, he plans and supervises the installation,
operation and maintenance of all single-channel
radios. As the spectrum manager, he answers
frequency requests and provides call signs to all
units in 1st MLG (FWD).
Although they work
long hours, the couple tries to spend as much time
together as they can while deployed.
to eat chow together as much as possible,” said
Jeff, 29, originally from Warsaw, Ohio. “So I would
say we get to hang out a lot due to the fact that
not too many people get to deploy with their
“We also turn in our laundry
together,” added Chat. “I know it's kind of funny,
but that's another way to spend time with him.”
The military lifestyle can be difficult for any
marriage, especially when both are on active duty,
but Jeff is thankful to have his wife around for
moral support, especially since they are both
separated from their young son.
“It is a
blessing being deployed together, but also very hard
because our son is back home with his grandparents,”
Although the parents are
thousands of miles away from their son, they try to
video chat with little Seth as often as they can.
“Once a week we Skype with our son,” said
Chat. “That's our way of having quality time with
Along with supporting each other
during challenging moments of the deployment, the
Rices support each other's accomplishments, the most
recent being Chat's reenlistment ceremony, Jan. 21,
in which she signed on for another six years in the
“It was nice to witness the ceremony
and be a part of it; I haven't had a chance to be at
a lot of her ceremonies since we have jobs and
commitments,” said Jeff of his wife's reenlistment.
“I was proud of her because she loves the Navy; she
really tries to strive to be the best sailor.”
Jeff said he was also extremely proud of his
wife for winning the Regional Command (Southwest)
Sailor of the Quarter board this month.
goes above and beyond what is expected of her; she
sets the bar high,” said Jeff.
eighth wedding anniversary approaches, the Rices
look forward to celebrating the occasion together,
albeit a bit differently than previous years.
“Oh, it will definitely be different than
spending it back home,” said Chat. “We usually like
to have a fancy dinner somewhere in Coronado or La
Jolla, but here, we'll be enjoying some good chow
hall meal. But seriously, we are both happy to spend
our special day together.”
Article and photo by USMC Cpl. Shannon McMillan|
1st Marine Logistics Group (FWD)
Marine Corps News
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