Marine Husband and Air Force Wife Reunited by Deployment Over 7,000 Miles Away From Home

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A U.S. military couple who bought a house in South Carolina found themselves separated by the wife’s deployment. However, two months later, a stroke of luck reunited them when the husband was deployed more than 7,000 miles away from home, to the very same base.

First Lt. Alyson Phillips, 378th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron infrastructure flight commander, aged 25, and her husband, Capt. Thomas Phillips, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 weapon systems officer, aged 26, were each tasked to deploy by their respective branches. However, they were unaware that they’d soon reunite in the middle of the desert in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Epoch Times Photo
The couple embrace at their reunion on the flight line of Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on Dec. 23, 2021. (Courtesy of Senior Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman/U.S. Air Force)

“We learned about being deployed together about a week before Christmas,” Alyson told The Epoch Times. “About a month before that, Thomas had learned that there might be a tasking for his squadron to one of the bases in the AOR [area of responsibility], but we did not think it would be Prince Sultan Air Base [PSAB].”

Alyson explained that her commander planned with other squadrons on base to get flight-line access and for the public affairs team to take pictures of their reunion.

“My squadron went out there with me to greet Thomas when he landed on base,” Alyson said. “It was really incredible to hear when he landed, and to see him. We both teared up!”

Thomas told DVIDS Hub it was hard to believe the reunion was actually happening.

“I was the last jet in my cell to land, and one of the guys came over the radio and told me that she was here,” he recalled. “I was fighting back some tears, it was pretty special.”

Alyson, who is originally from Hammond, Indiana, met Thomas, from Ottawa in Canada, at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola in 2018. Air Force combat systems officers train across the street from the Navy and Marine Corps weapons systems officers, said Alyson.

The couple then went on their first date in downtown Pensacola that summer and have been “attached ever since.”

While stationed together for the first 18 months of their relationship, Thomas moved to San Diego’s MCAS Miramar and Alyson moved to Oklahoma City’s Tinker AFB after graduating flight school. Then, the pandemic hit.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Senior Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman/U.S. Air Force)

“We weren’t able to see each other for about five months after that, due to travel restrictions … the longest we’ve been apart,” Alyson told The Epoch Times. “After that, we made it a goal to see each other every one to two months.”

Thomas proposed in San Diego, after hiking with Alyson to Annie’s Canyon with Alyson’s best friend and her fiancé in tow. Thomas had flowers and an engagement ring waiting, said Alyson, and a friend hidden from sight to take pictures.

In October 2020, the couple had a small, intimate wedding ceremony in Balboa Park, officiated by a friend.

Both Alyson and Thomas then received assignments in June 2021 and moved to Charleston, South Carolina, together. In October, Alyson was deployed to PSAB.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Senior Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman/U.S. Air Force)

Alyson says that working on the same base as her husband since he arrived in Saudi Arabia is “funny.”

They both work on different schedules—Thomas works night shifts while Alyson works days—on different parts of the base. They are only able to meet for an hour or two, twice a week.

“I manage all the construction projects and service contracts for the base. Thomas is a weapons system officer on F-18s, so his main job is to fly,” Alyson explained. “We don’t live together, so we mostly just grab lunch or coffee. We are always in public, so we get some weird looks, because most people do not assume we are married!”

Although they don’t get to spend a lot of time together, Alyson admits that its a bonus from what they thought they would be getting during these six months.

“We work very hard to make sure we spend time together, no matter how busy we are; it also really makes us appreciate the time we do have together,” she added.

Alyson says that both she and her husband are now looking forward to unpacking in their new home upon returning to Charleston. While the couple do not yet have children, they do have an “adorable, about to turn 1-year-old” puppy named Brady staying with Thomas’s parents until they return.

“He’s extremely spoiled, and we can’t wait to return home to see him,” said Alyson.

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