February 21, 2013
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - They raise their right hands as anyone taking the oath of re-enlistment would. They stand side by side as any married couple taking the oath would, but this couple is slightly different.
Cpl. Amber Latham, a native of Clearwater, Fla., and Staff Sgt. Lisa Latham, a native of San Antonio, Texas, have been together for two years. They wed in September, mere months before the two women deployed to Afghanistan.
In early 2012, they made the decision to join the Female Engagement Team. Cpl. Latham is attached to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, at Forward Operating Base Azizullah, and Staff Sgt. Latham is attached to the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division FET team at Camp Nathan Smith.
Now, several months into the deployment and seeing each other for the first time since leaving Fort Bliss, they are re-enlisting together.
Staff Sgt. Latham, a medic, has been in the Army for six years. Cpl. Latham, also a medic, has been in for three years. The couple re-enlisted to go to Fort Carson, Colo., following the deployment.
"One of the reasons we wanted to go to Fort Carson is because Colorado is a second-parent adoption state," said Cpl. Latham.
The couple, who married in New York, plan to have children in the future. One benefit of moving to Fort Carson is both women could legally become parents to their children.
This couple has received support from their command since they married. Sgt. 1st Class Sevrine Banks, their first sergeant, as well as their command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Oldsen, have both backed them up in their endeavors.
Until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, the couple understands that their benefits are limited, which is why they appreciate the support of their command.
Though they only got to see each other for a short amount of time surrounding the re-enlistment, they are optimistic that they will run into each other again throughout the deployment.
"It was a relief seeing her again," said Cpl. Latham. "I didn't have to worry about her."