By: Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard, 504th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, Public Affairs NCOIC
“There’s something else out there for me,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Wallace. “I need to be around people who will challenge me more. From there, it was like a light switch. I was thinking Army right away. I went to see a recruiter and I joined. Quick ship, two weeks later I was gone.”
Wallace, who is a career counselor for the 504th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, said that balancing family and the Army can be super challenging.
“We are taught from day one that the Army takes precedence over everything, above all,” said Wallace. “It’s easy when it is just you. When you bring a family into that, it changes.”
Wallace was introduced to the woman who would become his wife while she was in nursing school in Arizona.
“One of my friends, who was in nursing school with me, her husband worked with Jake,” Maria said. They decided to introduce us…after that it was being friends and dating.”
The couple married on July 12, 2012, but decided to hold off on having children for a while. Maria wanted to enjoy traveling and being newlyweds. In 2016 they had their son. Shortly after, they had their daughter.
Wallace said that he and his wife are fortunate because they started having children while he was on recruiting duty.
“The good thing was that it was stable,” he said. “I was coming home every night, there wasn’t TDYs or deployments that would take me away. But still, it is the Army and recruiting duty you have long hours. So I was gone a lot still. It was a challenge. My wife, as many spouses do, had to put up her career, pushing it to the side to take care of the children while they are young.”
Maria said that she has worked on and off but she gets to be a stay at home mom.
“That’s been helpful,” she said. “I am able to keep things organized on the home front. If things come up like TDY, that’s usually the hardest. Fortunately my parents have been able to help us for the most part.”
One of the most challenging process they went through recently was during their PCS move, but there was a tricky part to that, he had to go to school. They were in Texas for two weeks before he departed for his MOS school.
“That was challenging, more so for my wife,” Wallace said. “Moving them out here, not knowing anyone, no family. Many of us go through it. The kids aren’t in school so they are with her everyday. Their energy level just never stops. We got through it.”
Maria agreed that not knowing anyone, the fresh move, and feeling isolated was extremely challenging.