BRANCH OF SERVICE:
2014 - Present
SUMMARY OF SERVICE:
Being a military spouse, particularly a military wife, is a unique and challenging circumstance. The experience of each military wife is different, but they face many common situations and emotions. Uncertainty, separation, stress, loneliness and isolation are among the difficulties they encounter. On the other hand, pride, patriotism, resilience and independence are characteristics many military wives represent. Their stories are moving and powerful. One such story is that of Siri Anne Rafanan, wife of Army Captain Garfield Alexander (Alex) Rafanan.
"Alex and I met during the last week he was stationed in Washington. We fully believe that it was God who orchestrated our meeting. Having grown up in a military town, I was always warned to stay away from military men... Well, look how that went.
Shortly after we started dating, Alex deployed for Afghanistan, and so began our long-distance relationship. His return date was pushed multiple times due to Covid. When he finally did return, he was stationed in Georgia, and I would visit him there when I could.
In August 2020, Alex proposed to me under the moss trees of Savannah, Georgia. We were married in November 2020 surrounded by close family and friends. Shortly after we were married, we found out we were pregnant with our first baby.
I quickly learned the lesson most military spouses understand – once you get settled in, it’s time to move again. Early in our marriage, we spent six months at Fort Huachuca, AZ. Then we were moved to Fort Campbell, KY. While stationed there, we had our first born, Richie.
The next eight months were hard. Alex was gone for months at a time for field trainings. When Richie was nine months old, we found out we were pregnant again. There was so much joy knowing we were adding to our family, but right around the same time Alex had received word that he would be deploying for nine months. It was a time filled with many mixed emotions.
While Alex was deployed, I went to live with family. Alex was able to come back on leave, in hopes of new baby Emma's arrival before going to Ranger Assessment and Selection (RASP). Unfortunately, Emma decided she wanted to wait it out, and Alex had to return to service before she was born.
While Alex was in his first week of RASP, I went into labor. Alex decided to drop the course and fly back for Emma's birth. He is a very dedicated soldier. He has done well in his career, but he also values his family above all else. Because he chose to come home, Alex and I were able to welcome Emma Rue into the world together.
Ten days later, Alex headed back to Eastern Europe to finish his deployment. When he returned, we moved back to Tennessee. Alex got the opportunity to go back to RASP, and I am happy to report that he has passed.
I have learned a lot about myself being a military spouse. I have discovered new strengths I didn't even know I had. There are times when I take the role of both mom and dad. There are many tears, but I treasure our joyful reunions. I am proud of my husband and all the sacrifices he makes for this country. This is a hard life, but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Our soldiers are our heroes, but the spouses deserve praise as well. No one sees the endless hours of waiting to hear back from a loved one... or the unpredictable hours, trainings and deployments that leave spouses to adapt with a moments’ notice. Every day I ask myself how I can best support my husband and my family in this life. We truly have roots in many places, but that's what makes this Army life so special.
Thank you to the soldiers who serve our country... and thank you to all the military spouses who stand alongside, supporting and making sacrifices for our country as well." ~ Siri Anne Rafanan