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Honey, I’m home… for the first time
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Nicholas Rogers, service desk analyst with Contingency Operating Base Speicher’s direct support signal team, talks to his wife, Kayla Rogers, through a web camera Jan. 22, 2011. The Gallatin, Mo., native is deployed to Iraq from the 375th Communications Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Andrew Lee)
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Honey, I'm home: Deployed Airman prepares for new chapter in life

Posted 2/3/2011   Updated 2/3/2011 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. R. Michael Longoria
9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs

2/3/2011 - TIKRIT, Iraq -- Life after deployment can be rough and readjusting to life back home can take some time. For one Airman deployed to Iraq, his return will be even a little more unique. He will come home to a completely different living arrangement than before he left.

Senior Airman Nicholas Rogers, service desk analyst with Contingency Operating Base Speicher's direct support signal team and deployed from the 375th Communications Squadron at Scott Air Force Base, will walk into his St. Louis, Mo., apartment and have a new roommate, his wife, who he has never lived with.

"When I return home, I'll spend the first night with my wife in the same house," Airman Rogers said. "I'm excited to have a full-time roommate."

The Gallatin, Mo., native moved Kayla Rogers into his apartment the night before he left for his first deployment. Within 24 hours from his flight to Fort Dix, N.J. for combat skills training, Airman Rogers drove to Waynesville, Mo., to watch his wife graduate from college.

After the graduation ceremony, he packed up all her stuff and moved her to the other side of St. Louis. With just enough time to help her unpack, he gave his wife the last kiss he would be able to give her for nearly eight months, and left for Scott.

"We said our good-byes, and then I headed to the base to pick up my weapon and gear," Airman Rogers said. "I barely made it to the airport in time to catch my flight."

Airman Rogers met his wife when he was 17 after she saw a picture of him at his older sister's house while she was babysitting.

"She couldn't stop starring at one of my prom pictures," he said. "I was dressed like James Bond. I looked cool. I really did."

His sister introduced them and their love stared to blossom.

"We would talk on the phone for hours," Airman Rogers said. "I would take her to the movies almost every weekend."

This continued until the summer after they graduated high school, Airman Rogers enlisted in the Air Force and Mrs. Rogers enrolled in college, but they stayed together.

"The distance between us and not seeing her was tough," he said. "In basic, I didn't even get to talk to her until I graduated. I called her once but she was unable to answer the phone and missed my call."

Airman Rogers headed to his first duty-station. More than a year had past but the relationship stayed strong and eventually the young couple took it to the next level on one special day in 2008.

"I took leave and I got to spend about six hours with her on Christmas," he said. "I had just enough time to propose to her and for her to say yes."

Airman Rogers said he knew he wanted to marry her because the thought of being without her never crossed his mind.

"I genuinely missed her," he said. "I've never missed anyone or anything as much as I missed her."

Engaged but still separated, he went back to work and his fiancé stayed in school.

"We would still talk on the phone every night and visit each other on the weekends," he said. "The visits were never long enough, but any time together was well worth it."
The couple waited 17 months but then said their "I dos" on May 15, 2010.

"It rained," he said. "But not even the weather could dampen the greatest day of my life. I was ready to spend the rest of my days with her."

Even though they were married, it was back to a long distance relationship while she finished school and he was back at work at Scott.

On July 16, 2010, Mrs. Rogers graduated with a degree in nursing and moved in with her husband but he deployed the very next morning.

"I finally got to move her into our home," Airman Rogers said. "We both were so ready to start spending quality time together but that excitement was short lived."

Just when they thought the majority of the communication would take place in person, it was back to phone calls and communicating via e-mail.

"I still try and talk to her every day," Airman Rogers said. "I even wake up in the middle of the night just to call her."

Airman Rogers will return home soon and is a little nervous.

"You never truly know someone until you live with them," he said. "I'm anxious to see how it will work but my wife isn't bothered at all. She is ready for me to get home."

After more than five years together, the couple will finally get to see each other on a daily basis.

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