NCO couple gets promoted together at Old Post chapel
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Sgts. 1st Class John and Deitra Alam have served their country for a combined three decades during which they have served around the world as Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, drill sergeants and now chaplains' assistants.

They were promoted to the rank of master sergeant in a joint ceremony at Fort Myer's Old Post Chapel April 2, where they were joined by Family, friends and fellow servicemembers.

John currently serves as the master chaplain for his unit at Fort Belvoir, and Deitra is the NCOIC for the Arlington National Cemetery Chaplain's Office.

Chap. (Col.) Brent Causey, chaplain for Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and Military District of Washington, gave welcoming remarks. He spoke of what a rare event was taking place, saying, "making master sergeant is hard enough, not to mention a husband and wife in the chaplain corps."

"If I didn't believe in miracles, I would now," Causey said with a smile, getting a big laugh from the crowd.

After the invocation, Norman Lawrence, Deitra's father, performed "He Touched Me," his poignant vocals accompanied only by the acoustic guitar he strummed.

Sgt. Maj. Carrie Glover, of the III Corps NCO Academy at Fort Hood, Texas, a long-time Family friend of the couple, gave the remarks before the official orders were published, saying she felt like a "proud mother."

"I've known [John] for 16 years and [Deitra] for 13 years, and they are two of the finest chaplains' assistants I know," Glover said. "Not only are they a credit to the chaplain corps, but to the Army as well, and they've done it all as dual-role parents. Of all the promotions I've attended, this is one of the proudest of my life."

As the orders were published for John, his mother Ana Matias and daughter Taina, as well as Deitra pinned the rank of master sergeant on the white shirt of his dress blues. After they were published for Deitra, John, Lawrence and son Ty pinned the rank on her shirt.

The couple addressed the crowd of more than 50 together, and John began by presenting flowers to his wife, mother, daughter and sister Amy Rodriguez. He then gave his son, Ty, his first ever master sergeant's coin.

John gave credit to the chaplain corps for transforming his life as both a man and a Soldier.

"When I was a young Soldier, I wasn't saved and I blamed the chaplain corps for that," John said. "But when I finally decided to follow God no matter what, the corps was right there to save me."

After the couple finished their remarks, they broke into the NCO creed, and they were joined by 11 NCOs in the audience as the words echoed throughout the Old Post Chapel.

The couple was thrilled they were able to hold the ceremony together. They both came to the national capital region in February, but weren't sure the timing would work out for them.

"We re-enlisted together, but we hadn't been promoted together," John said. "We weren't sure that we would be able to, but we asked God for help, and it all worked out for us.

Deitra was also very happy with the ceremony, saying, "It almost felt like a wedding, it means the world to us to be able to do it together."

Their stay in the Washington, D.C. area started off with a bang, but the couple is looking forward even more to serving the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of the area.

"We're both just so excited to be in the Military District of Washington," Deitra said. "It's a great area, and we're looking forward to doing a good job here."