Gregory Ryan, of South Glens Falls, married Marikka Kilmartin, of Glens Falls, on Aug. 16 last year. The next day, he got up at 5 a.m. and went off to Fort Benning, Ga., to learn soldiering with the Army National Guard.
He came back in December, and he and Marikka held a wedding. In January, he left for deployment training, came back in March for a week, then shipped out to Afghanistan.
How was Afghanistan?
“Hot,” he said.
“Sometimes,” he said.
Was combat scary?
“More of a rush,” he said.
Gregory is lean and clean-cut. His shy smile surfaces when he talks about his wife. Both of them are 23.
While he was overseas, Marikka called to tell him she was joining the Army National Guard and would train for the military police.
“I didn’t see that coming,” Gregory said.
“I’m very proud of her.” He smiled.
The job opportunities for someone trained as a military police officer are “amazing,” Marikka said.
“There’s just not really that much here for us,” she said of the Glens Falls area.
Marikka’s parents, Bruce and Cindi, did something similar, getting married in December of 1981, with Bruce leaving the next month for military service in Germany and Cindi not able to join him until nine months later.
The two couples were married in the same church — Fortsville Methodist — in Gansevoort.
Cindi thinks it was easier for her, when all she could do was write letters and wait for Bruce’s letters to come back, than for Marikka, who could pick up her phone and talk to her husband in Afghanistan.
Once, right after she saw news reports about U.S. soldiers being killed in Kandahar, Marikka didn’t hear from Gregory for two weeks.
“It’s just what everyone says, ‘No news is good news,’” she said. “No news is good news.”
Gregory came home last week, and he and Marikka had a few days together. She left Tuesday for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
Their plan is to both apply for active duty and try to get assigned somewhere together. Germany would be nice.
In the meantime, he has gone back to his job in the shipping department at Ames Goldsmith and his work as a volunteer firefighter. He waits for March, when Marikka graduates from basic training.
“It can’t come soon enough. I’m ready to have a marriage,” he said.
Will Doolittle is projects editor of The Post-Star and can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @trafficstatic.