Marriage Under Fire: Military Couples

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Keegan and Anthony

Army Captain Keegan Keller, 27
Army Captain Anthony Keller, 31
Married 5 Years

Tony Keller has one of the most dangerous jobs in Iraq: He is the commander of a cavalry troop conducting counterinsurgency operations, raids, and intelligence gathering. His unit comes under fire several times a week. Tony, who's on his fourth deployment, would prefer to keep the goriest details from his wife. But until Keegan's recent retirement from the Army, her job was tracking all battlefield personnel from Army headquarters in Tikrit. So she was the first to know about casualties. "When I learned about a sniper attack on Tony's unit, my heart stopped," she recalls. "At first I knew only that an officer had been shot but didn't know who." At such times, she says, her solace is prayer.

The Kellers were separated in Iraq by a risky 45-minute helicopter ride, which one of them made every couple of months, just so they could be together for a single day. When Keegan flew in from Tikrit to see Tony in Balad, it was his turn to pray. Once they were in Tony's quarters, a tiny trailer, the couple cuddled up "to do a whole bunch of nothing," recalls Keegan. "But we did it together, and it was wonderful."

Now that Keegan is no longer in the Army the Kellers are focused on starting a family. "When I was deployed it was hard enough for me to leave our two yellow Labs, Hank and Lilly, in my parents' care," Keegan says. "I cried for an hour straight on the drive to the base. I can't imagine leaving a baby."

 

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2009.

 

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