Delaware military couple reclaims their first Christmas

    For some military families, a call to service means sometimes the holidays are spent far away from family and loved ones.

    For some military families, a call to service means sometimes the holidays are spent far away from family and loved ones.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091224samilitary.mp3]

    Just eight weeks after Mike and Ashleigh Malloy of Dover tied the knot, Mike left for Baghdad with his Delaware Army National Guard unit-which meant a shortened honeymoon and a first Christmas apart.

    Ashleigh: It was upsetting he wasn’t here but I had to continue and carry on what I wanted to do and make the house a home. (I still went and got a tree and had presents….)

    Getting married, even with a deployment date around the corner, was a top priority for Mike.

    Mike: My uncle left for Vietnam in the same type of situation with plans to get back and get married but he never came back so that was a promise we made to each other and I felt I owed Ashleigh- for her to be more than just a girlfriend or a fiance- for her to be my wife.

    Mike is part of the 261st Signal Brigade, a communications unit, which also helped the couple stay connected. Each phone call a day closer to September’s homecoming when a year’s worth of worry for a young wife, was lifted.

    Ashleigh: A sigh of relief that they were home and you didn’t have to worry any more.

    Now Mike and Ashleigh are reclaiming missed birthdays, their first anniversary – and Christmas knowing time together is the best gift.

    Mike: We really trying right now to figure out what is going to be our traditions that we pass down to our kids.

    About 120 Delaware guard members are currently serving in Afghanistan on a rotation service that was established before President Obama announced he’s sending more troops. No word yet if more Delaware guard members will be headed to Afghanistan.

    You can hear more of the Malloy’s story as told to WHYY’s  Stephanie Aldrich by visiting “First”, Delaware’s weekly tv news magazine.

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