CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Army News Service, Jan. 29, 2007) - Justin and Karla Thomsen do just about everything together - even go to war. So it was no surprise that the two 1st Cavalry Division noncommissioned officers reenlisted together here Jan. 25.
Staff Sgt. Joshua Thomsen is a chemical operations specialist with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment. His wife, Sgt. Karla Thomsen, is a joint network node operator for Co. B, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion. The pair raised their right hands together, reenlisting for another six years at the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, retention office.
"This isn't really that unusual for us. We decided to do this because we like to do everything together as a family," said Karla. "I feel like today we've accomplished something that will help us build our future."
"The First Team, as well as our brigade, has really taken care of us," said Joshua. "They do a great job of helping families, especially dual military families, so we figured we would pay them back by staying on the team."
Joshua and Karla both said they like the security that a career in the Army offers.
The husband and wife pair netted $30,000 in tax-free cash for reenlisting while deployed to Iraq.
"We want to pay off some money on our house as well as invest some of it," said Karla.
The couple also accepted a III Corps incentive, which allows Soldiers to attend 12 semester hours of college during duty hours.
"We'll both attend school together and I'm pretty close to having an associate's degree. I'll eventually go for my bachelor's," said Karla, who will major in computer networking and engineering. Joshua plans to work toward a degree in environmental engineering.
When they first entered military service about six years ago, Karla and Joshua said they never dreamed of marrying a fellow Soldier. That changed in 2004 when the two met while unchaining military vehicles at a railhead at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, Calif.
"We saw stars," Karla said of the first time they saw each other.
The couple is now on their second rotation together in Iraq, having also served in 2004-2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom II at Camp Cuervo, Iraq.
"At that time, they didn't let married couples live together," Joshua said. "We're fortunate to be able to live together on Taji. A lot of other Soldiers have to wait six months to see their loved ones, and I have the person I value the most here with me."
Having only recently bought a home in Killeen, Texas, the Thomsens reenlisted for the stabilization option, which will allow them to stay at their current duty station of Fort Hood. Originally, they had planned on taking an overseas duty tour to Japan, but they didn't want to leave the Killeen area, their house and their German Shepherd.
"The city of Austin is close and we like the cost of living," said Joshua.
"Although Japan would be nice, we couldn't have taken the dog and then, we would have had sell our house. And, we're also thinking about starting a family once we get back," said Karla, adding that she likes the feeling of being settled.
After their deployment to Iraq, the couple said they plan to take a vacation some where tropical or to Las Vegas, where they own a time-share condominium.