Marriage Under Fire: Military Couples
Stephanie and Carlos
Army First Sergeant Stephanie Williams, 36
Army Staff Sergeant Carlos Williams, 35
Married 2 Years
Being deployed to different locations in Iraq was tough enough for Stephanie, who's in supply and support logistics, and Carlos, a human resources supervisor, but even worse was the separation from their four children. "We miss watching movies together, going to church," says Carlos. "We miss being a family."
Stephanie worries about the effect of their deployments on the kids; both she and Carlos have been overseas twice. She had never been in a conflict zone during the 10 years she'd served before the United States invaded Iraq. "Then suddenly, in 2003, I was being sent to war, and my son Jah-Kari was only 2. Boy, that was hard! This deployment was rough because our children are old enough to understand that war is where people can get hurt. When I'm home they ask if someone will shoot me when I go to the store." She reassures them that God will protect her -- and hopes they believe her.
Having a wife still in a war zone has been particularly tough on Carlos, especially when he can't reach her. He was terrified one day last year when rockets hit her base. "I'm the husband, and I'm supposed to protect my wife," he says. "But I can't do that from here, and it hurts."
Stephanie and Carlos pray that they'll soon both be home at the same time. And despite the hardships, Carlos credits the Army with saving his life. "I was immature and getting into trouble when I saw a recruitment ad on TV," he recalls. "The Army made me grow up. And then I found Stephanie."