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Newlywed couple enlists in Army together

July 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Pico Rivera couple makes a life-altering commitment. They've been married for two years. But this week the two enlisted in the Army together.Irwin and Karen Ruelas of Pico Rivera took the open enlistment into the U.S. Army. It's another big milestone in their lives. Their first triumph is when they exchanged wedding vows nearly three years ago.

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Karen says her husband was intent on joining the Army and to stand by her man, she signed up with him.

"He's changed me into a better person and he's always been there for me," said Karen Ruelas. "I couldn't ask for anything better."

"She just made the decision to enlist because she saw every benefit and all the things she could take advantage of to better herself, exactly like what I wanted to do, to better myself, and make our marriage a whole lot stronger," said Irwin Ruelas.

Army officials say it's rare for a husband and wife to enlist at the same time, but the good thing is the Army does offer the Married Army Couples' Program, which will allow them to be stationed at the same military base after their initial boot-camp training.

"They get to live their dreams, first of all," said Army Lt. Col. Somport Jongwatana. "They get the opportunity to do something that is outside of the norm: Husband and wife joined together, patriotic."

Next week will be tough for these lovebirds: Karen is heading for Fort Jackson in South Carolina for her training; Irwin is off to Fort Benning in Georgia for his training.

"Real tough, but we've also got to make sacrifices to make our family stronger," said Karen.

"Her joining with me actually made me really happy because it's a lot of support knowing that she's going from almost exactly the same thing that I'm going to be going through, and vice versa," said Irwin.

The good news is after five or six months of training, the couple will be reunited to fulfill their military duty together, even if that means deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan.

"I like adventure. I like change," said Karen.

"That made me happy and very proud of her," said Irwin. "It's a big step for anybody."

 

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