Army duty a challenge for couple

Oklahoma's Most Inspiring Couples: Army brought Jay and Siobhan Gower together then tested their commitment.
BY DAVID ZIZZO dzizzo@opubco.com Published: June 12, 2011
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Their vacation in “the states” at an end, the couple waited to catch a flight back to South Korea to resume their Army duties there.

“I was all depressed,” Siobhan Gower recalls. “We were both kind of bummed.”

At that moment in 1999, her then-boyfriend, Jay Gower, got down on one knee and proposed. Right there in the Providence, R.I., airport terminal.

“It definitely cheered me up,” Siobhan said.

That's just the way it was with the Gowers — juggling military duty with a relationship and, eventually, a family. Sure, the military presented challenges for them. But the Army also brought them together.

Overseas courtship

The two, 19 at the time, met while stationed in South Korea, where both were assigned to a Multiple Launch Rocket System, a tanklike weapon that can fire rockets at numerous targets. Siobhan was working fire control. Jay was a mechanic.

Jay couldn't help but notice Siobhan. “You don't see too many good-looking women out there in the military in Korea,” he said. That “tomboyish” girl also turned out to be “a lot of fun to hang out with and joke around with.”

Siobhan remembers Jay always had a big smile and was “really sweet. A little cutie. Always real nice and respectful.”

Their first date: church services. The two continued spending time together, as much as a busy Army schedule would allow, mostly evenings and weekends.

After the engagement, the couple finished three months of duty in South Korea, then were reassigned back to the states, Jay at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and Siobhan a five-hour drive away at Fort Stewart in Georgia, Ga. Three months later, the couple married. But it would be a year before the two would be stationed together, in Germany.

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