Military Matters: Dual-Military Couple Balances Army, Family Life

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By Scott Atkinson

Sergeant First Class Everett Armstrong and Warrant Officer Julia Armstrong say most people are surprised to find out they are married.

"I think are still people that work up here today that do not know," Julia said.

"They just think that we have similar last names," explained Everett.

For one thing, she's 6' 2" and he's 5'4".

For another, most people just don't realize that there are many dual-military couples, let alone dual-military couples that work in the same building.

SFC Everett Armstrong is the 2nd Brigade's Food Service Sergeant. WO1 Julia Armstrong is the 2nd Brigade's Human Resources Tech.

They say the fact that they are both in the military is really a blessing.

"It just works because when you're with someone that understands everything that you're going through and can relate to you, it just makes it that much easier," Julia said.

"It's to our benefit that we're both military because I already understand the situation," Everett agreed.

"Now when we first got married she really didn't get it," he added.

Julia enlisted in the Army nine months after their wedding.

She had been a full time student, working two jobs, and raising a baby when her friend introduced her to Everett at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1996.

"I walk up to her and I'm like, 'Wow, you're tall,' and she said, 'Wow, you're short,' and we just kind of hit it off from there," Everett said.

Six months later, they tied the knot.

Being a dual-military couple is not without its challenges. Balancing work and family is never easy.

"Between four kids and both of us being in the military, our life is very busy, very hectic. And it's a logistical nightmare," Julia said.

But, because of their military experience, the Armstrongs say they are very well suited to figure out those logistics.

And they have had the support from the Army to make it work.

"With our family situation and with our careers, we've been blessed to have really great commands as far as allowing us to have those schedules to where if one of us is working late, the other one can make the arrangements to go pick up the kids," Julia said.

"We've always said that we'll do whatever the military asks us to do as long as our family is taken care of," she said.

The couple has only been separated once, when Everett deployed to Iraq.

Julia says the identity-shift from soldier to military spouse was a difficult adjustment for her.

"

"I did feel like I was the only one going through it by myself at that point in time," she said. "But I had a great job and I had a really good support team at my job."

I definitely had to interact with different spouses, and it was a little bit difficult for them because I would have to go in uniform, and they were like, 'Okay, well, who are you? And why are you over here?'" she explained.

Being a military spouse in the military does have its bonuses.

"I don't have to wait til I go home to see her," Everett said.

And, the dual-military couple can face the challenges of army life - and family life - together.

"It's been a journey," Everett said. "And it still is."

"Definitely," agreed Julia.

 

 

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If you have a story you think we should be covering for Military Matters, please email Katie Alexander at kalexander@wwnytv.net.

Friday, August 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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