WASHINGTON - Sgt. 1st Class Pernell Mabry's wife Wanda gave birth to twins the day before he deployed to Iraq. Like many other Soldiers, he missed their first Christmas and their first steps, and he didn't know if they would bond with him when he came home. The separation and reunion, he and his wife said, came with many challenges and unexpected adjustments.
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The couple joined other Army Reserve couples - officer and noncommissioned officer, newlywed and those married 30 years - at a Strong Bonds weekend in Arlington, Va., Nov. 9-11, for a mini-vacation to strengthen their marriages. As the weekend progressed, most began to sit a little closer, share glances and hold hands.
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It seems fitting that the military would create programs like this. These guys are pioneers in the field of long-distance relationships. These problems are just as helpful for the guys over there as they are for the spouses here. They need to know that everything is being taken care of at home. Sure, email and satellite phones may help (or be a hindrance, who knows), but a live warm person is key. But not too warm. The military wives have a reputation (fair or unfair) of straying when their guy is overseas. The loneliness of living on a base away from friends and family has to be unbearable. And on top of that, some of those towns are teeming with opportunistic pickup artists. And that is a recipe for disaster. The Marines call those guys Jodies (thank you Jarhead). Just a random side-note, when are The Unit and Army Wives going to do a crossover? Yeah, they’re on different networks but they’re opposite sides of the same coin.