Jared and Thomas Holley-Hernandez have been building their relationship for more than nine years, after meeting at a New Years Eve party. They married three years ago, on the same holiday. Jared is originally from Marysville, California, while Thomas is from Detroit. They are currently stationed at Langley Air Force Base.

Jared is a Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force, where he works in explosive safety. Thomas also served in the United States Navy for ten years as a Boatswain’s Mate. He is currently volunteering as an EMT for the city of Virginia Beach while completing his nursing degree at Old Dominion University.

While they haven’t been through any PCS moves since being married, they have a total of six combined deployments over the course of their relationship. Jared was most recently deployed to Afghanistan in 2013.

They view each other as their personal inspirations. Jared says that he loves Thomas’ creative side and this inspires him to find the same strength within himself. “From painting to building a deck or decorating a room, I really enjoy whatever he comes up with.” Thomas finds inspiration in Jared’s emotional support. “His ability to make me laugh everyday and his always positive attitude show me what a great father he is going to be.” The couple is currently in the process of exploring surrogacy with Thomas’ sister.

When the going gets tough, Jared and Thomas like to focus on their three dogs. The dogs are great for stress relief, and they also serve as a great distraction. Their families also help them cope with difficult times, and both of their families have been nothing but completely supportive of their relationship.

After the repeal of DADT, they have seen nothing but love and support from the United States military. Before the repeal, they would worry constantly about being separated, but they now look forward to any accompanied moves in the future.

“AMPA has been the most amazing group of people who have become a second family.” Jared and Thomas believe that through the strength of the military’s LGBTQ communities, we all receive the most selfless, inspiring, and loyal friends anyone can ask for.

Their advice for couples experiencing deployments would be to know each partner’s struggle. “Each side will have equally challenging battles, but in the end it will make your relationship stronger, with a deeper love and understanding for each other.”