News>Afghanistan deployment doubles sacrifice for Schlutermans
Senior Master Sgt. Walter Schluterman, left, shares a heartfelt goodbye with his son July 2 at the 188th Fighter Wing. Walter and his wife, Staff Sgt. Shilo Schluterman, along with 275 Airmen with the 188th departed Fort Smith, Ark., for Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where they will be deployed for about three months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Walter is a flightline maintenance supervisor in the 188th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and Shilo is a production controller in the 188th Maintenance Operations Center (National Guard photo by Amn. Cody Martin/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Staff Sgt. Shilo Schluterman and her husband, Senior Master Sgt. Walter Schluterman, enjoy time with their children before departing Fort Smith, Ark., July 2 for Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where they will be deployed for about three months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Schlutermans along with 275 Airmen with the 188th deployed to Afghanistan July 2. (National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hannah Landeros/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
Staff Sgt. Shilo Schluterman, left, receives a care package at the 188th Fighter Wing prior to boarding an aircraft bound for Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Shilo and her husband, Senior Master Sgt. Walter Schluterman, along with 275 Airmen with the 188th departed Fort Smith, Ark., July 2 for Afghanistan, where they will be deployed for about three months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class John Hillier/188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)
by Airman 1st Class John Hillier
188th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/5/2012 - FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Every military family lives with the knowledge that at any time their service member may be called upon to go to war. For families in which both spouses serve, the prospect of a dual deployment brings with it additional challenges to overcome.
Since the 188th Fighter Wing's deployment to Afghanistan was announced in 2011, Senior Master Sgt. Walter Schluterman, a flight line maintenance supervisor in the 188th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Shilo Schluterman, a production controller in the 188th Maintenance Operations Center, have been preparing to meet those challenges.
Both Walter and Shilo knew there was a strong chance they would be deploying this time, Walter said. But neither of them ever considered any option other than to deploy with the wing.
"To me, you don't join and then throw your hand up to say you won't go," Shilo said.
The pair deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom July 2 along with 275 other Airmen with the 188th. They joined approximately 100 Airmen with the 188th already deployed to Bagram.
Although both Shilo and Walter have deployed before, this is their first deployment together as a married couple, Shilo said. Walter deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, but Shilo did not, she said. In 2005, Shilo and Walter said they both served in Iraq at Balad Air Base in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 188th.
"When I didn't go, I knew there were things that I couldn't be told," Shilo said. "I know what it can be like downrange, but I didn't know what was happening to him. This time, I feel like we're blessed to be able to go through this together and be there for each other."
Walter said that while there is additional adversity involved in a dual deployment, it also brings small consolations for which they can be thankful.
"With both of us in the [Area of Responsibility] we can talk face to face without having to call home," Walter said. "It's hard knowing that Shilo will also be in harm's way, but we can help each other through it."
While deployed, they will likely not be able to live together, Shiloh said. There is a limited amount of space reserved for married troops at Bagram and there are also Army or Marine couples deploying for 12 or 15 months who get priority, she said. Both of Walter and Shilo's work shifts will overlap some, and they will be in the same general areas, so there will be many opportunities to see each other, Shilo said.
Walter and Shilo are leaving behind three of their children with various family members and friends, Shilo said. She said It's a lot to ask of their family but they want to help us however they can.
"With everyone going to different places, it's legally complex," Shilo said. "Dealing with powers of attorney and making sure that there's money to pay for everything is tough. Online bill pay has been a godsend for us."
Walter and Shilo are not the only members of their family leaving home for military duty, however. Their son, Airman 1st Class Kaleb Eveld, will be shipping out this summer for Basic Military Training.
Eveld said he's relieved that his parents are deploying together because he remembers how worried Shilo was when she stayed behind during Walter's previous deployment. Eveld said he looks forward to being able to deploy as well, once he completes technical training.
"That's what you get into when you sign up," Eveld said. "You know exactly what you're agreeing to when you join."
Both Walter and Shilo are grateful for the outpouring of support they have received from their community, they said. Friends from their church and a teacher at their son's school have volunteered to housesit and help their children stay on track, Shiloh said.
"The support we've received has been huge, especially since we're a dual-military family," Shilo said. "But that's what life is like in a small town. You may not be able to buy bread after 9 p.m., but you can usually borrow it from someone if you need to."