The strength behind the Soldier

By Capt. Alexander Watkins 10th AAMDC Public AffairsMay 3, 2024

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SEMBACH, Germany - Military Spouse Appreciation Day is observed on May 10, 2024. It's an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices spouses make for the Army and to highlight the Army's responsibility in taking care of Army Families through various efforts.

One of the most powerful strengths of the 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command is the family. "Team 10" is not just the Soldiers who make up the formation. It includes every Soldier, family member, civilian, ally, and partner that come together to accomplish the mission.

One of these Team 10 Family members who goes above and beyond to support the families of the 10th AAMDC is Chrystina Remley, wife of U.S. Army Maj. Matt Remley, who works in the command's G3 Operations section. Chrystina also serves as the command's Soldier and Family Readiness Group leader.

Chrystina took some time to share her journey as a military spouse.

How did you and Matt meet?

"Our love story? Well, it's straight out of a romance novel! Picture this: high school sweethearts, brought together by fate during JROTC orientation week. Now, I'll admit it took us a good six months to make it official, but oh boy, did I have a crush on him from day one!

Even though we knew he was college-bound on the other side of the country, there was just something about us that clicked. Fast forward through seven years of dating, a decade of marriage, and voila! Two adorable kiddos, two furry friends, and a whole lot of love later, we've made our home sweet home in beautiful Germany."

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What has life been like as a Military Spouse both before and after children?

"Life before kids had its own set of hurdles, but growing up in a Navy family gave me a solid foundation for the challenges ahead. Transitioning from dating to marriage with Matt was a breeze, filled with adventures and cherished moments despite his jam-packed schedule of field trainings and rotations.

We made the most of every moment together, squeezing in date nights and spontaneous escapades whenever we could. Despite the whirlwind of activities, we always found time to nurture our bond and create lasting memories.

Adding children to our military adventure has been like sprinkling confetti on our journey! Our little ones have had the thrill of exploring different corners of the globe, soaking up the sights, sounds, and flavors of diverse cultures along the way.

Moving house has become our family's favorite pastime, with our mini explorers always ready for the next big adventure. And as for TDYs, field exercises, conferences or deployments? Well, let's just say our kids have our kids have perfected the art of finding fun and creative ways to entertain themselves while Mom or Dad are away.

Despite the challenges, we've discovered a silver lining in every cloud. Our family bond has grown strong, fueled by shared giggles, bedtime stories, and the occasional vacation or two. And through it all, our little troopers have shown us what true resilience looks like"

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What was your experience like when Matt was deployed?

"When Matt got deployed to Afghanistan, it was like someone hit the pause button on our lives. Suddenly, everything felt topsy-turvy. But I quickly learned I wasn't alone in this whirlwind.

My friends and college buddies? They were like my anchors, keeping me grounded during those long months of separation. Sure, the tech back then wasn't the greatest. Those Skype calls? Let's just say they were more glitchy than smooth, with blurry video and voices cutting in and out. But even with all those hiccups, hearing Matt's voice on the other end of the line meant the world to me.

And let me tell you, those days were tough. But I found ways to stay busy. I didn't just sit around twiddling my thumbs; I took action. Despite still being in college, I hustled and landed a job working the graveyard shift at the university library. It wasn't glamorous, but it meant I could be there for those late-night Skype sessions with Matt, even if it meant sacrificing some shut-eye.

But it wasn't just about making time for calls. I made sure to send Matt care packages regularly, filling them with little pieces of home and love. And when things got really rough, I turned to the support networks available, from counseling services to online groups. Being part of those communities gave me a sense of belonging and strength during those dark times.

I also realized pretty quickly the importance of self-care. So, I made time to hit the gym, poured my heart out in my journal, and leaned on other military spouses for support. Through it all, I learned just how vital it is for Soldiers to have a strong support system during deployments, whether it's through mental health services or just a heartfelt letter from home. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, but we found our way through, one Skype call and care package at a time."

What is the role and impact of the SFRG?

"I'm a big believer in the power of the SFRG, and right now, I'm at the helm as the SFRG leader for 10th AAMDC HHB. Our folks are always on the move, whether it's jetting off on TDYs or lending a hand to our NATO Allies, so having a solid SFRG is an absolute must.

I'm all about making sure spouses, family members, and soldiers have everything they need. We're talking counseling services, career help, education support, financial coaching—you name it, we've got it covered.

Getting involved with the SFRG has been eye-opening. I've seen firsthand the incredible support it provides to military families, especially during those tough deployments and separations. I've met some real MVPs in the SFRG game, like Ms. Kristi Kelly and Mrs. Joette Conover. These two have shown me what it means to build a tight-knit community and make sure every single member of our military fam feels the love.

From putting together care packages to throwing killer family events, they've taught me that when it comes to supporting our military crew, we go all out."

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What have been some of your favorite places to live?

"Japan feels like a chapter straight out of a fairytale. Five years there filled our hearts with so much joy and wonder. From getting lost in Tokyo's neon-lit streets to slurping up the most delicious ramen and sushi, every day felt like an adventure.

But now, we're soaking up the magic of Europe in Germany. It's like stepping into a storybook with its castles, cobblestone streets, and charming villages. And the best part? We're just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the enchanting wonders of France.

Each place we've lived has painted our lives with its own unique colors, adding layer upon layer to our story in ways we never could have dreamed of."

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How have you been able to balance your professional career as a military spouse?

"In the early days of our marriage, juggling a career was like trying to catch water with a sieve, thanks to our constant moves every couple of years. But with some serious dedication and tapping into my mil-spouse preference, I snagged a gig that ended up being a game-changer for my career trajectory. Being a project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers has been my rock through the rollercoaster of military life's ups and downs.

Japan was a breeze when it came to landing a job, but when we packed up for Germany, it felt like I hit a brick wall. Navigating the bureaucratic maze there made securing a similar role a tough nut to crack. It left me twiddling my thumbs for a good seven months, shining a spotlight on the constant struggle military spouses face in the world of Department of Defense employment.

Working for the DOD is like strapping yourself into a rollercoaster, especially when it comes to benefits. Unlike civilian gigs where my perks were separate from my spouse's, here it's a whole different ballgame. I'm keeping the faith for some upgrades in military spouse employment policies. Let's hope we can tackle issues like the wonky Local Hire status benefits and the pesky Military Spouse Penalties head-on."

The Family is the foundation of all we do. On May 10, 2024, we recognize all Military Spouses and know that now, more than ever, it is the commitment of our Families that allow Team 10 and the Army to accomplish its mission and protect the American people.

For additional information, contact 10th AAMDC Public Affairs Office at +49 (0)611.143.542.2872 or

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