CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – Most people marry the person they can’t live without. Soldiers training at Camp Atterbury are taking it one step further and deploying with them. The Army Reserve’s 443rd Transportation Company, headquartered in Lincoln, Neb., is home to five couples who are suiting up together to deploy to Kuwait for a year-long deployment.
The unit will be responsible for transporting equipment and supplies to troops in Iraq. Sgt. Jason Klipfel, a mechanic on his third deployment, is one of the husband-and-wife teams deploying with the 443rd. For Jason, the experience is especially unique since he’s been deployed while single, dating and now married.
“It’s better knowing she’s there with me because it’s easier having somebody there to talk to face-to-face instead of over the phone when you really need to talk,” Jason said.
It was during his second deployment that he fell in love with his wife Ashley, a mechanic with the unit. They married upon returning from their deployment and now, after more than a year of marriage, they are going back to where it all started.
“It’s easier going with him because there won’t be as much separation there, but it is harder too… You can’t just hang out whenever you want to or hold hands or do goofy things like that. You have to be professional at all times,” said Ashley.
As civilians, Ashley said she and Jason have breezed through their first year of marriage, which many say is the hardest. Now comes the challenge of what it really means to have someone’s back. “[The deployment] will definitely make us stronger because there are not only the normal obstacles of married life, but then putting Army life into the mix…it will add more stressors and responsibilities on top of your normal everyday married life,” said Ashley. And with more stress and responsibilities there’s fear.
“There’s always that fear over there, whether you’re married or single, it’s there,” said Ashley. “I try not to think about it because I know my husband is very smart and he knows what he is doing and I know that he can take care of himself, but there is still the fear because you can’t always control everything around you.” While Ashley has more than just herself to fear for, she said her parents are relieved that she is deploying with her husband. “Last time I deployed my parents were really scared.
I think they’re more comfortable knowing that I have my husband there, who they love and respect and they know takes care of me.” When it comes to parents supporting their deployed children, there is one couple who couldn’t deploy without the help of family. Staff Sgt. Amanda Betts and her husband Sgt. Terry Betts are leaving their six-month old son and Terry’s other son with his mother while they are both in Kuwait.
If it wasn’t for my mother right now, both of us would not be deploying together, it just wouldn’t happen,” Terry said. “It’s difficult but my family is very strong, very supportive of the military and I’ve got every faith in my family to take care of my sons,” he said.
Amanda said she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I don’t know if I would feel any more comfortable leaving my son behind with [anyone else],” she said. Amanda said her family is every bit as supportive but they live further away. And her mom’s kind of busy since she’s deployed to Afghanistan.
Prior to being called to active duty, Amanda said she and Terry discussed the possibility of deploying together when she joined the unit. In September, after the birth of their son Lance, the possibility became a reality.
Amanda describes deploying together as both a blessing and a bother; on one hand the couple can be there for each other, but on the other hand are the complications of both spouses being away from home.
While deploying with the one person they can’t live without has its benefits, sacrifices will still have to be made for the married couples of the 443rd. Above all else, however, remains a cooperative satisfaction that while some may serve, at least some can serve together.
By Spc. Tegan Kucera