By By Ellyn Kocher (Army Contracting Command)March 18, 2011
Camp Casey, Korea, probably doesn't top the list of honeymoon destinations for most newlyweds, but spending theirs deployed to Southeast Asia in 2003 was just part of the unique journey shared by Majors Robert and Renee Mann. Serving in Army careers that have taken them around the globe, sometimes together and sometimes apart, the two officers celebrated their accomplishments in a dual promotion ceremony at the Pentagon on March 11.
Robert, a logistics officer with the G-3/5/7, Department of the Army, and a native of Yardville, N.J., was officially promoted to lieutenant colonel on Jan. 1, but wanted to wait for his wife's notification of promotion so they could have their ceremony together.
"Bob was promoted one month ahead of me when we were in Korea as captains, but [a dual ceremony] didn't occur to us then," said Renee, who hails from Ashtabula, Ohio and is a graduate of West Point. "We figured now would be the time to do this together, if we ever were going to."
When they met as captains in their advanced course, neither thought they would follow such a parallel path. "Bob went to Fort Campbell, Ky., and I went to Germany, but then we ended up together at Fort Lee, Va., in our Masters course," said Renee. From there the couple learned that they were going to Korea. "We figured if we could survive that year, our marriage would be okay," she says now with a laugh.
That positive attitude and sense of sacrifice for the good of their careers and family has carried the Manns through many important decisions, and through multiple assignments and deployments, as they have grown their family by two. Son William is three years old and daughter Olivia just turned one. Two toddlers in the house would be challenging enough for most working parents, but the Manns must also balance their lives as officers. Both are eligible to compete for battalion command with their promotions, but Renee, who is currently a logistics officer for the Expeditionary Contracting Command, took a position at the Pentagon instead, holding off on competing for her own battalion command assignment so that her husband can compete for battalion command. They will know Robert's results in the Spring, and will settle then wherever the Army takes them.
Supporting each other, keeping in balance the family's needs against the assignments, deployments and long hours that come with their jobs leading Soldiers is the Manns' first priority. "We are pretty tired a lot of the time," said Renee, "but we wouldn't trade what we do for anything."
The Manns selected the Pentagon Hall of Heroes as the location for their promotion, which was attended by their parents and siblings and their families. "This was the first time our families were able to make a promotion ceremony together," said Robert. "We're pretty excited to have them all [here]." Lt. Gen. Daniel P. Bolger, deputy chief of staff G3/5/7 operations and plans, chief of staff of the Army, hosted the Manns, while Brig. Gen. Larry D. Wyche, deputy chief of staff for operations, (G-3/5) at the U.S. Army Materiel Command, performed the pinning. Wyche is the former commander of the 10th Sustainment Brigade at Fort Drum, where both Manns have ties. The Manns took their oaths of office together at the end of the ceremony.
After nearly 32 years of collective service to their country, the Manns took the next steps in their careers together -- embodying the Army spirit of service, sacrifice and dedication.