ROSE BARRACKS, Germany -- For Spc. James Dingle, a fire direction controller assigned to Fires Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment, it's all about duty and family.

After getting through this, his first deployment to Afghanistan, it's the latter that he is now focused on.

"I am looking forward to getting home and seeing how big the kids have gotten," said James. "When I left, my son was speaking a few words but every time I spoke to him on the Internet, he was talking so much more."

It was the ability to stay in constant contact, not only with his family back home, but with his military family as well who helped him through the roughest times of his deployment.

"It was mainly the open communication with my family and my buddies down range," said James. "The one thing that I enjoyed was that whenever I needed to talk to someone, there was someone there. Having the ability to talk to my peers, my NCOs and my wife was essential."

But there were times where it wasn't possible to have that immediate contact with his family.

"Right at the beginning, I didn't hear from him for the first week or two," said Mrs. Madison Cannon-Dingle, James' wife. "The kids were getting antsy because they wanted to talk to daddy. That was a little rough."

Having two young children with a deployed spouse can be difficult and planning ahead of time played a big part in helping their children get through the deployment.

"My son, being 2-years-old, doesn't quite understand him being away," said Madison. "But we sat our 5-year-old daughter down to talk to her and explain that daddy is going far away to work for a while but we will get to talk to him on the computer."

But when they weren't able to get in contact with James using the phone or internet, she went back to a tried-but-true method.

"We started writing him letters and included them in the packages that we would send him," said Madison. "(They) smelled like my perfume so he would have something that reminded him of home and family."

Having an extensive military background, allowed her to not only help her kids, but to prepare herself as well.

Madison's father, grandfather and other family members have served in the military and prepared her for what to expect which helps her handle it all with composure, especially, for her children- something that some 'first-time' spouses have difficulty with at times.

Madison's military experience helped her to plan activities for herself and her children to help pass the time while her husband was away.

"I left myself little things to do, like decorating the house," said Madison. "I did a lot of traveling with my kids and two of my friends. Plus, I am going back to school."

However, now that James is coming back in time for the holidays, he and his family will have no problem filling the time together.

"We are going to visit some of the Christmas markets here in Germany," said James. "I am just looking forward to spending time with the family."

Madison shared that same sentiment.

"I was mentally prepared for 12 months, but when I found out that he was coming home early, I was shocked," said Madison. "I am really excited to have him back."