Perfect timing in introductions doesn’t always happen for many of our AMPA couples, but this couple is an example of how love can blossom more openly after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).  Eric and David met while they were both stationed in Germany at Miesau Ammo Depot in the K-Town area. At the time, they were both in the same unit and company 212th CSH.

Together for two years now, Eric and David were married this past August 1st. They are both currently active duty in the US Army. Eric is a Specialist and David is a Sergeant. Both southern gentlemen, Eric is originally from Chattanooga, TN, while David is from Brownsville, TX.

Currently, they are both stationed at Ft. Bliss, TX, in El Paso. They have yet to see a deployment apart from one another, but realize the challenges and have resolved to utilize good open communication skills with each other in their everyday lives.

Eric is a 68W (Health Care Specialist/Medic) who was working in the 212th CSH previously in the ICU. Currently, he is one of the medics at the 1-6 Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, ensuring his soldiers health and medical files are up to date. David is a 68P (Radiology Specialist). He works in the Radiology Dept. at William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC).

This couple is a part of the first wave of gay and lesbian service members to get married after the repeal of DADT and the dismantling of DOMA.

“Recognition has helped us tremendously! We once were struggling to pay for a cheap one-bedroom duplex. We also have a mortgage from a home David bought a couple of years ago in his home town. Now, we no longer struggle and are able to make our bills and have extra to put into savings and retirement for the future.”

But life, as we know it, is not always a bed of roses, and there are still thorns that persist:

We cannot get full recognition in our current state of TX. I cannot change my name to my married name unless I get a court order. We also face the possibility that we could get kicked out if we were honest with our landlords. We have discussed with our prospected rental property managers the truth of our relationship and have not been met with any discrimination to this date. However, our current landlords do not know. We have to get additional protections to deal with our assets and interests if something were to happen to one of us here in TX and because David is still a resident of TX.

Eric found AMPA while looking for a support group that could assist them with questions and involved other couples who were facing similar challenges and celebrations. Through a friend’s Facebook page at Ft. Bliss, Eric was connected to AMPA and was able to find some answers.

The first day I posted a question, I had so many responses in less than 1 hour with the question I had posted. AMPA is not just a group of people, but a community separated by miles and miles from each other that are connected together like family. We assist each other and support new and upcoming families in the great times of change. When injustice happens to one of us it affects us all, and we all jump on the band wagon. It is my extended family that has been there for me and proven to be the one resource that will stand by military families like us.”

Eric and David enjoy a healthy and happy relationship together, and have plans to have a large family (3-5 kids)! Eric describes David as being “loyal, funny, loving, with determination and perseverance.” That has inspired Eric to speak up about their relationship to inspire others. Last year, Eric gave a speech in school on the topic of marriage equality and is interested in becoming a strong advocate for others.

When not at work, David and Eric unwind talking about their respective days, playing with their dogs, enjoy outside activities with friends, and love to travel. They make each other a priority, making sure they never go to bed without checking in with each other and talking through any potential stressors.