By Amanda Huffman
Contributing Writer

Military life is hard, especially when you add a significant other and family. I know. I have lived it.  Between the time spent apart, the long hours, and the sometimes random schedule, it can be hard to be in a relationship with a servicemember and even more so once you add kids to the mix.  

My husband and I met because of the military. While we both attended the same college, our paths would probably have not crossed had it not been for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). We had a number of social interactions within ROTC before we both noticed each other. It wasn’t until he coordinated a trip to Lawrence Livermore National Labs that I noticed him. We started dating a few weeks later. It was fun to date in college. Then, he went active-duty and I was still finishing my last year of college, we learned the challenge of continuing a long-distance relationship. 

Now, we’ve been married for almost 17 years. We are living this military life together, both serving side by side in the military, and then after I left the military  I continued to follow his career now as a military spouse. I’m so thankful that we met and wanted to see what other military love stories were out there to highlight. 

My story is just one of many military love stories. We don’t have the space to highlight all these wonderful stories, so I picked out some of my favorites from my research.

The first military love story I want to share dates back to the Civil War.

Frank Barlow was injured in the Battle of Gettysburg and was found barely alive by confederate general, General John Brown Gordon. Gen. Gordon took pity on Barlow and when Barlow told the General that his wife, Arabella was a nurse who was volunteering nearby, Gordon took great risk to find her and bring her to her dying husband. Mrs. Barlow was able to save her husband’s life and bring him back to health. Tragically, a few months later Arabella Barlow succumbed to typhus. But the story doesn’t end there, Frank Barlow and John Gordon reunited years later and struck up an unexpected friendship that lasted until Barlow’s death in 1896.

This story focuses on the work both servicemembers and their spouses have to do  in the military. It is a team effort and each has an important role to play and relying on each other is so important. 

During the Vietnam War, the military employed Western Union with the role of delivering telegrams to share the fate of servicemembers. The movie We Were Soldiers follows Hal and Julia Moore during action in the La Drang Valley of Vietnam. And while the story of what the servicemembers did overseas is remarkable, Julia’s story is also noteworthy. She helped make changes to the casualty notification process and impacted the lives of so many military families. Both Hal and Julia’s Moore’s legacies are honored at Fort Moore, formerly Fort Benning, which was given their name to honor their sacrifices and service to the military. 

During World War II, an American soldier named Norwood Thomas and a British woman named Joyce Durant met and started dating. They built a relationship and fell in love. They stayed connected through the war via letters and gifts. But as the war ended, they went back to live their lives back home and lost touch with each other and married other people. Joyce Durant moved to Australia, and when she got a computer 70 years after WWII, she decided to see if she could find Norwood Thomas. She was able to find him and they connected over Skype. Later, through a GoFundMe page and Air New Zealand, Thomas, a widower and Duran, a divorcee, got to meet in person again on Valentine’s Day in 2016. 

There are many more stories of military couples who either were together all their lives or got separated for one reason or another. Military life seems to have a lot of stories of things that were meant to be that got away, and also of strong resilient couples who were able to overcome the challenges of military life together and are stronger for it. 

Amanda is a military Veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer who served on a combat deployment with the Army in Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career in the Space Force. Amanda is the host of the Women of the Military podcast. There she shares the stories of women who have served or are serving in the military. The podcast has over 200 episodes and over 100K downloads. Amanda is also an author and has published two books. Her first book, Women of the Military tells the stories of 28 military women who served in the military. Her second book, A Girl’s Guide to Military Serviceis the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Winner for Teen Non Fiction. It is a guide for high school girls considering military service to help them build a strong foundation for their future career. She also works as a freelance writer and has been featured in a number of military publications including The War, Military Families Magazine, Clearance Jobs, Military Spouse Magazine, and more. 

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