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Face of Defense: Dual-Military Couple Experience First Deployment Apart

By Army Sgt. Ryan Tatum, 50th Public Affairs Detachment

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For six years, from high school sweethearts to Army soldiers, Sgt. Karrington Austin and Spc. Dominique Austin, both assigned to 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment here, have been dedicated to each other with no end in sight. Although married life is tough for any couple, dual-military romances face unique obstacles, but can withstand the test of time with love.

Army Sgt. Karrington Austin, left, and her husband, Spc. Dominque Austin, both assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, pose for a photo at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 12, 2018. For the first time in their careers, the Austins will face a deployment apart when Karrington deploys to South Korea this year. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Tatum
Army Sgt. Karrington Austin, left, and her husband, Spc. Dominque Austin, both assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, pose for a photo at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 12, 2018. For the first time in their careers, the Austins will face a deployment apart when Karrington deploys to South Korea this year. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Tatum
Army Sgt. Karrington Austin, left, and her husband, Spc. Dominque Austin, both assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, pose for a photo at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 12, 2018. For the first time in their careers, the Austins will face a deployment apart when Karrington deploys to South Korea this year. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Tatum 180212-A-JL341-002
Army Sgt. Karrington Austin, left, and her husband, Spc. Dominque Austin, both assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, pose for a photo at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 12, 2018. For the first time in their careers, the Austins will face a deployment apart when Karrington deploys to South Korea this year. Army photo by Sgt. Ryan Tatum

The Austins started off as best friends during their junior year at Ross Sterling High School in Houston, Texas.

“It was the last three months of our junior year when we started dating,” Dominique said. “It was then over the summer I knew she was the one I wanted to spend my life with. I formulated a plan to propose and marry the love of my life.”

The stage was set for Dominique to propose at the biggest social event for teenagers -- prom night.

“It was right after the announcement of the prom king and queen when my friend went up to the disc jockey’s booth, explained to the DJ what I wanted to do and without hesitation he handed me the mic,” Dominique said.

“She said yes,” he said. “Didn’t skip a beat.”

“I said yes,” Karrington said. “And nothing has changed from the first time he proposed.”

Crossroads

The Austin’s relationship came to a crossroads as their time in high school was coming to an end. “Pomp and Circumstance” played, speeches were made and cap tassels were moved from left to right, May 29, 2015.

Dominique felt an incessant urge to serve his nation and made the decision to enlist in the Army.

“He felt the Army was the best thing for him,” Karrington said. “At the time, I wasn’t completely sold on going to college either, so, when he told me he wanted to join the Army my reaction was, ‘Me too!’”

Fearless of the perils they were destined to face together, the couple wed in September 2015 and began their journey as soldiers. Dominique as a cavalry scout and Karrington as a culinary specialist.

Enrolled in the Army’s Married Couples Program, they were able to both be assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas. And while being in the same location lessened the stress of a potential long-distance relationship, time apart was still a huge factor in their young marriage.

Overcoming Challenges

“The first year of marriage was difficult because our time together never quite synched,” Karrington said. “When he would come home from the field, five days later I would go out to the field. It was hard, but we maximized the time we had together.”

Karrington’s unit was deactivated and she was reassigned to Dominique’s unit, which then put them on similar schedules.

Making the most of their time together, Dominique and Karrington kept their flame going, even as they transitioned to a new base.

“As soon as we got to Fort Stewart we were told then that we are getting ready to deploy,” Karrington said. “It was what we signed up for, and we did it together.”

The couple went on two rotations to Europe with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. Their unit is slated to deploy to South Korea next, but only Karrington will be going forward.

“My soldier will soon be honorably discharged from the Army and this will be my first deployment without him,” Karrington said. “Even though it will be tough, I am more focused on my contributions to my unit and my soldiers, because for most of them it will be their first deployment.”

Though her mind is focused on the task at hand, her heart is filled with the love of her husband, Karrington said.

“The true love we share for each other transcends the boundaries of space and time,” she said. “And no matter how far away I may be from him he is with me in spirit.”
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