A moveable feast

By Bob Reinert/USAG-Natick Public AffairsJuly 17, 2013

A moveable feast
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

NATICK, Mass. (July 17, 2013) -- They grew up on the same block in Seattle, but Lt. Col. Tim Haley and Deborah Haley didn't meet each other until later.

"We moved out of the neighborhood just when she moved in," Haley recalled. "It was kind of an ironic thing."

Over the past 17 years, however, the Haleys have lived in many locations together as Haley moved up through the ranks as an Army officer. Over the past four years, they have made Weston, Mass., their home while they both worked at the Natick Soldier Systems Center.

Haley, a pediatrician, served as clinical director in the Office of Medical Support and Oversight at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at NSSC. Deborah was a chef and physical science technician with the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

On July 17, they packed up their things and drove south to Fort Hood, Texas, where Haley will take over as division surgeon with First Army Division West.

"This is the most difficult separation that I've had," Haley said.

"It's hard to leave here," said Deborah of Natick. "To find a workplace that allows you to grow and challenge yourself is great."

The Haleys had significant accomplishments while at Natick. Tim developed a sensor to detect blast wave overpressure that needs no power source.

"It will capture the energy of the blast wave itself to generate the energy (for) the sensor," Haley said. "That's moving forward."

Haley also worked on a lavage mixture for treatment of acute lung injury.

Both ideas earned patents for the Army.

"I didn't have the expertise to advance them," said Haley, "and I found people (at Natick) who were very capable and enthusiastic about it."

Meanwhile, across the installation at Combat Feeding, Deborah was putting her culinary background to work.

"I got hired as a physical science technician to help with all the different ration platforms -- the group rations and the individual rations," Deborah said. "They were great about bringing me in and giving me a lot of exposure to rations and how the testing process works."

Eventually, Deborah became a key part of Combat Feeding's tube food program for U-2 reconnaissance aircraft pilots.

"I never imagined that I'd be doing that at all, but I loved the challenge, and that's what excites me is the challenge," Deborah said. "How can you take something that's so recognizable and turn it into delicious mush?"

Married for 25 years now, the couple applied their shared love of food to volunteer work with the Wayland-Weston Crew, for whom the youngest of their three daughters rowed.

"The new coach really wanted to emphasize sports nutrition," Haley said. "We sort of developed menus for the kids. I think it was a contributor (to the fact) that we had four boats that went to nationals, and one of the boats in which my daughter rowed came in second."

Wherever they go, Deborah will continue her tradition of making custom meals for family members on their birthdays.

"I usually will have it a split plate," said Haley, who favors salmon in mango butter sauce aside rack of lamb. "It's really nice."

The tradition has probably made all the moving around -- along with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan -- easier to digest for Haley, who knows he has always had other options in the civilian world.

"I stay in because I really love the Army," Haley said. "I just love serving."

Deborah said she has enjoyed serving as a civilian.

"It's been great for me, because I've gotten to go out in the field, and I have a much better idea of what … Tim experiences," Deborah said. "That's been eye-opening and exciting. I think it increases the bond of understanding."

Related Links:

Natick tube foods keep U-2 pilots flying high

Natick Soldier Systems Center

U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine