Amanda Gates met her husband, Justin, when he was a service member in the National Guard. After one year of courtship the couple got married and within two weeks of their new nuptials, Justin had to leave for his first deployment which would last at least a year. Amanda was pregnant with their daughter at the time. Amanda faced some of the most common concerns that military wives face while their husbands are away at war. Justin returned home after deployment, and although things were on rocky territory, their relationship survived. The couple has since changed branches of service and added a second child to their family. Justin is scheduled to leave for deployment again later this year with his unit from Fort Bliss in El Paso, Tx. . Amanda has experienced deployment first hand and can help to reassure some fears and bring realization to some truths for those military spouses like Emily. During her husband’s deployment, Amanda gave birth to their daughter. Being alone was tough and contact with her husband was limited to a phone call maybe twice a week. Amanda also said that she occasionally wrote letters and sent numerous care packages to her husband while he was away. “Any time he called me and asked me for any little thing, I was out that night buying it and shipping it off the next morning. Being able to know that I was contributing things that he not only needed but things that reminded him of what was waiting for me at home made me feel more connected to him” she commented about how sending mail helped her deal with her husband’s distance.
Amanda believes that the deployment and the months following Justin’s return were challenging but that they made her family more resistant to future struggles. With an upcoming deployment approaching before the end of the year, Amanda has a different role this time around. Working with fellow wives in the unit, Amanda said she feels compelled to reassure all those new spouses who are experiencing this for the first time. Amanda believes that her biggest help through her first deployment was the support system of her family. Many spouses are miles away from home, and returning throughout a deployment is not always an option. Amanda says that she will return home for visits during this time, however she would be returning to El Paso. While nervous about being away from her own support system, she has immersed herself into the support system for other spouses. Providing support for others will allow her to share her experience with those around her. Amanda believes that any couple can make a relationship work through deployment as long as both individuals are committed to the relationship. When asked if she was confident about the strength of her family through a second deployment, she answered without hesitation, “Absolutely!”.