Red Bulls patrol area around COP Najil

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)

64th MPs: Brothers, sisters in arms

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)

Iowa town showers small Afghan school with supplies

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)

TF Knighthawk Soldier prepares for recording contract during deployment

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)

Guard team partners with Afghan security forces

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)

French forces support Afghan troops in Kapisa

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)

Panjshir PRT engineers inspect Paryan road

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)

TF White Eagle saves lives of mother, infant

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)

1st Bn., 187th Inf. Regt., patrols Sabari District

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)

Freedom Restoration Center helps troops get back to duty

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

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PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Autumn Hughes of Keyser, W.Va., is reenlisted by U.S. Army Capt. Philip Haemmerlein, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force Phoenix of 3rd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, in front of a UH-60 Black Hawk Nov. 23 at Bagram Airfield. Hughes is the noncommissioned officer in charge of TF Phoenix S-6 shop. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Nadine Gonzalez, Task Force Phoenix)PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Autumn Hughes reenlisted at Bagram Airfield Nov. 23, renewing her commitment to the Army while remaining dedicated to her role as wife and mother.

This is the second reenlistment for the 25-year-old Keyser, W.Va., native, currently assigned to Task Force Phoenix, 3rd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. One of her reenlistment options was a two-year stabilization at Fort Drum, N.Y.

“I reenlisted for the stabilization and because I plan on staying in for 20 years,” said Hughes, Task Force Phoenix S-6 shop noncommissioned officer in charge. “I serve in the Army for the protection of my Family and my country.”

While this is her third deployment, it is the first time she’s been deployed with her husband, Sgt. Anthony Hughes Jr., a native of Syracuse, N.Y.  He is an S-2 clerk in Task Force Falcon, 10th CAB. Anthony admits deploying with his wife makes some things easier and said he is proud of Autumn and her sense of duty.

“I am extremely proud of what my wife is doing for our country,” said Anthony.  “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 dual military,” he said.

Autumn 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 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, Autumn 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 Hughes left behind their 11-month-old baby girl, Summer, with Autumn’s mother.  It is a new challenge this Army Family is facing, but Autumn maintains her positive attitude.

“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,” she 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.”

Anthony, who enlisted in 2002 with the intent of completing 20 years, misses his daughter as well. He acknowledged that he focuses heavily on his job to complete the mission. He said he knows photos and videos of Summer are being taken for them to watch when they return home next fall. His head is fully in the mission here.  

The Hughes said they know it is not easy to have a dual military Family when they both plan to support and defend the country for 20 years.  However, they said they completely support each other in their career goals.  

PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Autumn Hughes, a native of Keyser, W.Va., shakes hands with U.S. Army Capt. Philip Haemmerlein, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force Phoenix of 3rd Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Nov. 23. Hughes, the noncommissioned officer in charge of TF Phoenix S-6 shop, reenlisted for four years. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Nadine Gonzalez, Task Force Phoenix)

 

    

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