By Sgt. Justin A. Moeller
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan —
A deployment to Afghanistan is no vacation, and for newly-married couples it is especially hard.
“Obviously deployments are stressful,” said Cpl. Douglas Dalton, a native of Greenville. “Having Skype or receiving mail is great but nothing beats being able to hug your wife at the end of the day.”
Being a dual-military couple is one of the few instances where a soldier can deploy with their spouse.
“Having my wife with me has its benefits,” Douglas said. “During my first deployment I was single; with this deployment it’s nice to be able to see my wife when I come home in the evenings.”
U.S. Army Cpl. Douglas Dalton, medic, and his wife, Spc. Megan Dalton, radiology specialist, both with Company C, 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team “Currahee”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), are fortunate enough to share a deployment together.
Not only does the couple share this deployment, they both work at the Combat Support Hospital on Forward Operatin Base Salerno, Afghanistan.
“The Daltons have a very professional working relationship,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Freeman, evacuation platoon sergeant for Company C, 801st BSB, 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. He explained that they both bring a lot of experience to the table and are exceptional co-workers to have.
As a radiology specialist, Megan is tasked with taking any X-rays the provider needs, whether during sick call or during trauma, all in a timely manner.
With that adding to the stress of a deployment, it is understandable for a soldier to become homesick.
“For me, this is my first deployment and it’s hard being away (from home),” Megan, a native of Lebanon, Ind., said. “It’s nice having him to come home to and talk to at night.”
Knowing that companionship is there at the end of a stressful day is a definite perk but in times where solitude is desired, it can be difficult to come by.
“It does present some challenges, I mean, you two are together 24/7,” said Douglas. “Any time when you need time apart it is kind of hard to get, but you take the good and the bad, and for the most part, it is pretty good.”
One of the challenges the couple seems to have mastered is how to keep their working and personal relationship separate.
“I would never expect their relationship to conflict with their work,” Freeman said. “If anything, the relationship they have enhances the environment and workplace.”
According to Douglas, it has been hard at times for his wife, dealing with medical traumas and extreme work environments. Sometimes it is necessary for him to act as an emotional sidekick, not only for his wife, but for any one of his soldiers who need it.
“It really does make a difference having the one you love with you during a deployment,” Megan said. “I feel especially lucky to have him here — just grateful. He is my best friend and I’m very, very glad that we are here together.”
Douglas’ family still resides in Greenville.