Army wife shares in officer’s promotion through technology

Story by Staff Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) gathered at the command headquarters here June 1 to promote one of their own to lieutenant colonel and to promote Family involvement in Army activities as well.

At the ceremony promoting John G. Dean, chemical officer with the 13th SC(E) and an Issaquah, Wash., native, from major to lieutenant colonel, expected guests were in present, including Brig. Gen. Paul L. Wentz, commanding general of the 13th SC(E), but also in attendance, via video teleconference, was Dean’s wife, Mary.

“I really wanted my wife to actually be the one to pin me for lieutenant colonel and share the entire experience with her,” Dean said. “Since that was not possible, we had been talking about all sorts of options like photos and video.”

After discussing various options with the 13th SC(E) communications section, Dean explored the possibility of using the VTC in the command conference room to link up with the conference room at the 13th SC(E) Rear Detachment headquarters in Fort Hood, Texas.

“The rear headquarters bent over backwards for me, even rescheduling regular meetings at Fort Hood to make the VTC conference room free for the time of the promotion,” Dean said.

Dean said he credits Mary with helping him to achieve his most recent promotion and stresses the importance of the military Family in a service member’s career.

“They are the unsung heroes,” he said. “You hear Army senior leaders talk about the importance of the Family, and they are exactly right.” 

“A married couple shares the load of day to day life, but when you deploy, the spouse suddenly takes it all, while supporting the deployed Soldier at the same time,” Dean said.

For Mary, a Bar Harbor, Maine, native, being able to share the milestone with her husband meant a great deal to her, she said.

“Words cannot express how wonderful it was to see my husband being promoted,” Mary said. “I was so proud that it brought tears to my eyes to watch it.”

Mary said having a deployed spouse brings on a mixture of feelings ranging from pride for her husband’s service, to the difficulty of having her best friend gone for a year.

“Having to wear the mom hat and the dad hat, and all the other hats in between, by myself, is stressful,” Mary said.

Mary said her advice for other military spouses is to “Keep in touch with your spouse on a daily basis. Be strong for your spouse, no matter what you are going through, they need all the love and support you can give them.”

Dean acknowledged the importance of spousal support.

“I attribute my professional and personal success to her wisdom, support, encouragement and advice,” he said. “She has been there to support me every day we have been together.”

“We could not have the Army we have today without the spouses that support us,” Dean said.


news photo
Newly promoted Lt. Col. John G. Dean, chemical officer with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and an Issaquah, Wash., native, talks to his wife Mary, via a video teleconference June 1 at the 13th SC(E) command headquarters here, after his promotion ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Rich Barkemeyer)