Face of Defense: Married Couple Serves Deployment Together
By Marine Corps Cpl. Mark Garcia
Regional Command Southwest
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Aug. 30, 2012 During a deployment, most Marines are separated from their families. But for one married Marine Corps couple, a deployment is providing the opportunity to connect in a way most would not be able to experience.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Luke Billingsley and his wife, Marine Corps Sgt. Nancy Billingsley, are serving a seven-month deployment together in Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mark Garcia
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Staff Sgt. Luke Billingsley and his wife, Sgt. Nancy Billingsley, both from San Diego, are deployed with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The couple had to leave their four children at home with family, but they said being able to see each other throughout the deployment makes their time away easier.
“It’s like a piece of home you get to bring with you,” Nancy said. “But ultimately, it’s not all easy, because … we still have to exert ourselves at work but then also [have to] find time to make the marriage work. It makes it a lot easier to be deployed, because I get to see him every day. He’s more like my support, so when I’m having an off day, I know that he’s there, so I don’t feel alone as much.”
Being deployed with his wife gives him a family member to lean on during the deployment, which makes things easier, Luke said.
“The main benefit of being deployed with my wife is the peace of mind I have,” he said. “I don’t have worry about my wife needing anything, because I can see her here. I see her every day. I know that she doesn’t really need anything. Everything that she needs is out here, and if she does need something, I’ll be right here for her to help her with anything.”
While being away from their children is hard, Nancy said, having her husband deployed with her makes the hardship easier. During their seven-month deployment, the couple will celebrate their fourth anniversary during October.
“Having my husband out here makes it really easy for me to do my job,” Nancy said. “That homesickness part of the deployment doesn’t really exist. I mean, we miss our kids, but ultimately, that home sickness doesn’t set in like everybody else’s.”
Even while they’re deployed, they still find time for each other.
“We see each other during lunch and during work whenever we get a chance,” Nancy said. “Our schedules overlap each other, but it definitely makes the deployment easier. It’s more on his part, because he comes for my laundry. He does all the little things, because as soon as I get off at [6 a.m.], I usually just want to go straight to bed. But he’s constantly catering to what I need.”
Luke said he does his wife’s laundry, walks her to work, walks her home, walks her to chow when she can go and brings her chow when she can’t. “I even packed her gear to come out here,” he added. “The only thing she had to do was drag her bags to the aircraft. Overall, I’m happy and content with the way things are.”
Having his wife on the deployment with him allows him to focus on his job, instead of worrying about home, Luke said.
“It’s just one less worry that I have to worry about back home,” Luke said. “It’s not as bad as a deployment should be. It’s not a normal deployment, because I do have my wife here [rather than] a wife and kids being back home. I have a family out here, so it makes the deployment a little easier.”