YUMA, Ariz. — Having each been deployed within the past two years, Cpl. James Hall and his wife, Cpl. Leticia Hall, said they have had to take turns raising their 19-month-old daughter, Letty.
"I'm excited to feel like a wife and mother again," said Leticia, a Harrier mechanic for Marine Attack Squadron 214 who returned from a six-month deployment to the Philippines on Dec. 7. "We missed spending Thanksgiving together, and I didn't know if we would be back in time for Christmas."
While being deployed is a part of being a Marine, the Halls said they never expected that they would be deployed so soon after each other but learned how to make the best of the day-to-day hardships that were a part it. Although they are enjoying the holidays, the couple says they have spent only 11 months of the past two years that they have been married together.
"It was like we were trading places, exchanging one Cpl. Hall for another," James said.
James, a Harrier mechanic for Marine Attack Squadron 311, was deployed first, spending from January 2010 to June 2010 with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. Not only did he not know he was being deployed until two days after they married, his wife was six months pregnant.
"It was long enough to miss my daughter being born. She was 3 months old when I got back. I can't put it into words what not being there for my wife and daughter was like, but I was on duty to my country."
The couple was, however, able to communicate almost every day via Skype and James eventually got to see his daughter through photos his wife sent him.
"I was speechless, so excited that I got to see her. The Marine Corps teaches you to adapt and overcome, but sometimes it's really hard when you have a family on the other side of the world."
While she was overjoyed about being a mom, Leticia said she knew how hard it was on her husband, that he couldn't be there for them.
"I felt for him. I knew he was hurting," Leticia said. "I told him that I loved him and that we were here waiting for him."
The Halls had about 11 months together as a family before it was Leticia's turn to be deployed for six months with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. The squadron left MCAS Yuma in June of this year. Not only was she leaving a husband and year-old child behind, but it was her first time ever being deployed.
"It was neat. I loved being on the ship. It made time go by faster," she said. "It was also the exact same ship my husband was on last year."
While James said he initially felt he would rather be deployed again than have his wife deployed, at the same time it was an experience he wanted her to have.
"She is also a Marine and has earned the right to be deployed."
The couple, who were married here in Yuma, met during physical fitness training in Pensacola, Fla. While it was love at first sight for James, Leticia needed a little convincing.
"It took me awhile to get her to like me. I think it was eight or nine weeks before she ever went out with me."
Information from: The Sun, http://www.yumasun.com