By Spc. Amanda Brown, Task Force Phoenix, 10th Combat Aviation BrigadeDecember 10, 2010
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - When Army Sgt. Autumn Hughes re-enlisted at Bagram Airfield on Nov. 23, she renewed her commitment to the Army while remaining dedicated to her role as a wife and mother.
This was the second re-enlistment for the 25-year-old Keyser, W.Va., native, currently assigned to Task Force Phoenix with the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.
One of her re-enlistment options was a two-year stabilization at her home station, Fort Drum, N.Y.
"I re-enlisted for the stabilization and because I plan on staying in for 20 years," said Hughes, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Task Force Phoenix communications and information management shop. "I serve in the Army for the protection of my family and my country."
While this is her third deployment, it's the first time Hughes has been deployed with her husband, Army Sgt. Anthony Hughes Jr., a native of Syracuse, N.Y., who is a 10th Combat Aviation Brigade intelligence analyst in Task Force Falcon. He said deploying with his wife makes some things easier and that he is proud of her and her sense of duty.
"I am extremely proud of what my wife is doing for our country," he said. "She has decided to stay in the Army despite us having a child, and still wants to serve. I think that it takes a very dedicated person to do this when given the opportunity to get out because of us being [a] dual-military [couple]."
Hughes said she enjoys her job in the Army because it allows her the opportunity to meet and get to know a variety of people. As a signal support system specialist, she helps to set up the unit's computer systems. She runs cables, connects printers, manages share portals and sets up radio sets. It is her responsibility to take care of most things that deal with communication.
With more than seven years in the Army, she said, she is familiar with facing challenges and learning to overcome them.
"I take challenges on with a positive attitude," she said. "If I don't know how to fix it, I ask questions. I'm never afraid to ask questions."
The couple's 11-month-old daughter, Summer, with is staying with Autumn's mother while the soldiers are deployed.
"This is the first time I've had to [leave my daughter], and I'm going to admit it is hard, but I know what I'm doing for our daughter and one day she will understand why I had to do it," Hughes said. "There are times that are harder than some, but I have to push those feelings onto the back burner and keep my head in the game -- not only for myself, but for my soldiers."