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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 Published: June 12, 2011

Long-distance woes

In 2003, their son, Daniel, was born. One year later, another Army challenge: Jay was deployed to a war zone. “It was kind of wrenching to leave your wife and infant son to go to Iraq,” he said.

With Siobhan still in Germany, the couple stayed in touch with email and by phone. Calls often came late as Siobhan was trying to put Daniel to bed. Bad connections made calls difficult, she remembered, making calls seem “almost an inconvenience.”

As Jay's Iraq duty ended, Siobhan decided she'd had enough active duty. She entered the Army Reserve and decided to move the family close to her parents.

“I'm going back to Oklahoma,” she told Jay, half-jokingly. “If you're smart, you will too.”

As part of their long-range plan, Jay, then stationed at Fort Sill, re-enlisted as Siobhan attended college. When she graduated with a bachelor's degree in criminology, she was mobilized for a year as a drill sergeant at Fort Sill. Jay left the military and entered college and also worked for an oil company.

Looking ahead

Although the specter of sudden military deployment is about to end, life continues to be busy for the Gowers. Siobhan will soon complete her Reserve duty and will earn a master's degree in human relations in August. Jay is working and going to college. The couple expects a second child in July.

“We've definitely had plenty of trying times,” Siobhan said.

But commitment to each other, along with support from family, friends and members of their church, has helped them through, she said.

“We tend to live life the hard way, but we're hanging in there.”