FORWARD OPERATING BASE MASUM GHAR, Afghanistan Specialist Brendon Brown stepped off his Stryker at Combat Outpost Talukan Dec. 26, looking for a familiar face.
After talking to a few Soldiers on the COP, he made his way to a group of parked Strykers.
Out of one of the top hatches of a Mobile Gun System Stryker popped a petite redhead. She diligently climbed off the Stryker and into the arms of Brown, her husband.
If it werent for him being on the Combined Task Force 4-2 (4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division) commanders personal security detachment, Brown might never have seen his wife, Spc. Stacia Brown, a preventive medicine specialist, during the deployment, he said.
The couple, who married in September 2010, met in an airport in Korea when they were on their way to their first duty stations after graduating from Advanced Individual Training, where Soldiers learn their specific military jobs.
Since being married, this is their first deployment together.
Being able to see each other during deployment is a welcomed experience for both Soldiers.
It definitely gives me something to look forward to, said Brendon, explaining that the little chances he gets to talk to his wife remind him hes still a husband, not just a Soldier.
Stacia said her reaction when she gets to see her husband is always the same.
I see him and I always jump on him almost every single time, she said. Its kind of overwhelming.
Two months into the deployment, the couple has been able to see each other at least once a month, but there is never a guarantee that pattern will continue throughout the next seven months.
Having each other in the same time zone is comforting for the couple, however, that means they are both in a combat zone as well.
I think it makes it a little bit worse than him being home, because hes in immediate danger too and knowing that kind of makes it a little more stressful, Stacia said.
Brendon feels a similar worry about his spouse.
Its stressful knowing shes in a danger zone, and Im not there to make sure shes OK and protect her like a husbands supposed to, he said.
In preparation for the deployment, the Browns had to leave behind their only son, Gauge, with Stacias family. Gauge was born prematurely nearly a year after Brendon and Stacia married. Now, a year later, they both missed their sons first birthday, Dec. 21. In an effort to cope, they lean on each other for support and do whatever they can to stay close.
The Browns said they try to talk every night, whether it is through video chat or email.
Communicating daily is one of the pieces of advice Stacia gives to other couples who are deployed, but not in the same area.
Stay focused, but definitely take advantage of your amenities, she said. If you do have the Internet, you know, whenever you do have your time to yourself, do check it because you are on the same time and everything.
Even if hes not on, I always leave him a message letting him know that Im OK and he does the same thing too, she said.
Communication is one of Brendons top three things he said are needed for dual military couples deployed together. The other two things are trust and understanding.
The Browns have a good understanding, Brendon said.
Its the understanding that we have something that takes priority over our marriage right now and thats our job, he said.
That advice resonates for at least four couples in Brendons company alone who are toughing out a deployment whether theyre on the same base as their spouse or in different provinces.