FORT HOOD, Texas - Jessica Brown, of Houston, Texas, is married to Sgt. Derek Brown, of Company D, Forward Support Company, 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Regiment. The couple spend most of their marriage separated by deployments and training. As a matter of fact, they had their first child together, Haley, 9 months, while Derek, of Grand Rapids, Mich., deployed to Iraq.

Recently, Derek, who is a motor transport operator, has been out in the field supporting 4-9's gunnery. So, with a much needed break between field and gunnery events, Soldiers of 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, received a whole day of food, fun and family.

More than 800 "Dark Horse" Soldiers and family members showed up to 4-9's family day located beside their squadron headquarters.

"I think an event like this is very important to put on," said McAllen, Texas native Norma Hernandez, 4-9's Family Readiness Support assistant. "The Soldiers want to come out here with their families and have a good time."

The field next to the squadron headquarters usually is used to host their numerous changes of command ceremonies, but for family day, it was full of the different vehicles used throughout the squadron, tents for eating, a dunking booth and a few inflatable party rides for the children.

Throughout the day, Pfc. Nigel Martin, 4-9's chaplain's assistant, gave out prizes to the children. Martin, a native of San Diego, Calif., went to the United Services Organization office, on Fort Hood, and received free prizes and drinks for their family day.

"There was a lot of coordination between all the different shops to make sure the families had a good time out here," Martin said. "The U.S.O. donated a lot of free stuff; they were great. I told them what we needed and they exceeded my expectations."

For Martin, family day was a way that the "Dark Horse" chaplain could show that families matter.

"This is great for me ... to keep the unity," he said. "We want to show that the Army is not just a job but a whole, family affair. If the family isn't happy, then the Soldier isn't happy."

For Derek, being able to bring his family out and spend the workday with them was a lot of fun. "It was a much needed day after this past week," he said.

Yet, the best event for most of the crowd was the tug-o-war between the troops and company. With each troop and company's 11 best, they went head to head. In the end, it was the troopers of "Crazy Horse" company, led by their commander, Capt. Ellis Gordon, of Carlisle, Pa., who out pulled the "Defenders" from D, Forward Support Company.

"Defenders" 1st Sgt. Herbert Mowery, said the friendly competition was a great way to relieve stress after their gunnery.

From stress relief to a day away from work, for Jessica, the day meant that she could be with her husband and daughter and finally match up all the faces to the names her husband talks about at home.