Newlyweds Promoted Together While Serving In Iraq

Story by Pfc. Fabian Ortega
64th CSG PAO

AL ASAD AIRBASE, Iraq — Often, deploying to Iraq meant tearful good byes and being several thousand miles away from loved ones. Not so in the Estes household, where both newly promoted Staff Sgt.'s Trysen J. and Heather E. Estes, did what many 20,000 dual military couples in the Army have not, serve a year tour of duty in Iraq and promote together.

Trysen and Heather Estes, currently serving with the 68th Transportation Company, currently under the command and control of the 64th Corps Support Group in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, were recently promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant at the 68th TC motor park here.

"We were really lucky to have been promoted on the same day," said Heather, a motor transport operator. "It was sheer luck; it is something very special and something many couples don't get to share."

Tryesen, also a motor transport operator, shared his wife's sentiment, "It's definitely unique position to be in, and we certainly did not expect it"

"When you are promoted, you're certainly happy about the promotion, but when you've got your wife there promoting with you, in Iraq no less, it's very special," Trysen said.

Both believed the promotion was long over due.

"(Trysen) has 13 years in, going on 14 years in July, and March is my twelfth year.right now we're both on promotion points, 700 points exactly," said Heather. "I kept telling him over and over, I was just thrilled we had the opportunity to (promote) together. Not just me, or not just him, I would have felt bad if one of us would have gotten promoted and the other didn't."

"When our cut off scores dropped to 700, we were picked up," said Trysen, bearing a large crooked smile on his face. "We also had her re-evaluation packet put in, so even if she hadn't been picked up this time, she would have definitely promoted the next time," Trysen said.

The Estes' met when their careers crossed paths almost 6 years ago, at the time both were serving a tour in Germany.

"We met in the 701st (Main Support Battalion), Kitzingen, Germany in 2000, we were stationed there together," said Trysen.

Two years later, the couple married in Germany. Deployments and training exercises would keep the couple apart for the next three years.

"In our three years of marriage, we only spent six months together," said Heather. "Between Korea, Kosovo and Iraq, we never had much of a chance," she said.

"We've been deployed to one place or another ever since," said an optimistic Trysen. "It's not bad. We know we've made it through this, and so we can make it through anything.

"In a 'normal marriage' when you get married that's it, the true test is always the first year. Well, we get to act like honeymooners even though we've been together for 3 years," Trysen said.

"Newlyweds every time," said Heather, speaking of the time spent with her husband after lengthy stints away from each other.

They last parted ways when Trysen deployed to Iraq in 2004 and Heather to South Korea. In 2005, the couple was informed Heather would not be returning to their former unit, rather transferring to a new unit. They learned of Heather's impending deployment to Iraq shortly after arriving to her new unit. They decided they would deploy together.

"Trysen returned from Iraq in March, and I came back from Korea in April; we then went through the process of bringing him to our unit even though he knew we were deploying in August," said Heather.

"I went through the process of getting released from 1st Infantry Division and volunteered to get moved up to the 68th TC," said Trysen. "I got my letter of release and then a letter of acceptance from the 28th trans battalion.," explained Trysen.

"It took me four months to get my orders cut so that I could transfer to the 68th (TC)," Trysen said.

Trysen arrived to the unit and signed in the same day the 68th TC was scheduled to fly to Kuwait, said Heather.

After settling in country, as much as truck drivers can settle, they have enjoyed each day spent together.

"It's about time we are able to see each other on almost a daily basis. It's a treat," said Heather."

Trysen said his wife has definitely made his tour in Iraq a much more pleasant experience this time around.

"I spent 14 months on my last tour in Iraq and it was just dealing from day to day," he said. "Having to look forward to seeing my wife everyday is special."

Trysen concedes his wife, hands down, runs the household, he said.

"There is no conflict about it there, my wife runs it, because she cooks better," said a half kidding Trysen.

All the humor aside, Trysen said when he and his wife are out on the road, an opportunity they've had only once, he maintains focused.

"It was fun, but when you're out there with your wife, you have a tendency to have your mind more on her safety," he said." When you're out there doing it yourself, you're really not too worried about it, the mission takes precedence."

"So it becomes very personal when you're on a mission with your spouse," said Trysen.

The Estes' are halfway through their deployment and when asked what they will do upon redeployment, Trysen responded, "We are going to take a vacation together, maybe go on a cruise." "(Heather) and I want to have a little time to ourselves."

"After that, we will work on career progression and taking care of our soldiers," he said.


Staff Sgts Trysen and Heather Estes
Staff Sgts Trysen and Heather Estes