ISS4 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 63

Rese R vist Magazine s hip M ates in Focus Two Ships Passing in the Night Story by PA2 Emaia Rise, CG-1313 A thunderous cheer from the class of 1995 announced the completion of four years meant to educate and prepare students for the challenges of life, but nothing could have prepared Mark Hiigel and Joanna Beste for the challenges that come with being married to another service member. The couple started dating during their senior year and after graduation, Mark and Joanna received orders to neighboring states. With their love holding steady, they married six months later. A day that most young brides would agonize over was planned by their parents with less than two weeks for the ceremony and honeymoon between deployments. "It was nice not to stress about the details," said Joanna with a laugh. Living 230 miles apart, the newlyweds saw each other one or two days a month for the first two years —Mark on the Coast Guard Cutter S TEADFAST in Astoria, Ore., and Joanna on the Coast Guard Cutter A CTIVE in Port Angeles, Wash. It was a time where they seemed to be "two ships passing in the night," she said, noting how they waited for their vessels' in-port schedules to line up for a chance to spend time together. They made the effort to stay in touch, albeit without the modern conveniences of smart phones. The first five years of a relationship can be the most difficult to weather without consistency. Statistics show that dual- military marriages that see long deployments, care-giving challenges, or a lack of a community support, more often end in divorce. Even though Joanna and Mark's relationship seemed to face an uphill climb, their dedication to each other kept them on track. Their love for each other competed only with their love of service. "I truly love what I do," said Mark, who came from a military family. He spent summers along the Oregon coast watching Coast Guard helicopters and boats patrol the air and sea without realizing that, years later, he would be in the pilot's seat. While her husband attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla., Joanna received orders as the officer-in-charge of a Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment Team (LEDET) out of Mobile, Ala. Commanding a LEDET was a bit intimidating, but from this vulnerability, strength emerged, fueling Joanna's diligence and success. 38 RESERVIST � Issue 4 • 2017

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Reservist - ISS4 2017