MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- More than 600 members of the Minnesota National Guard are deployed to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait right now.
WCCO-TV's Reg Chapman and photojournalist Tom Aviles are embedded with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. They share this story of how one Twin Cities family is doing double duty for our country.
Lt. Col. Brandi Degier has a critical job with the Red Bulls . She is a CBRN officer, which stands for "Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear."
"We have to be ready," Lt. Col. Degier said. "It's a very reactionary job."
She is responsible for making sure soldiers are protected for some of the most harmful weapons of war.
"We monitor for threats. If there is one that happens to come up, we do the analysis on, you know, is it somewhere that we have soldiers who are in danger? And if so, do they need to increase their protection?" she said.
Lt. Col. Degier has been deployed for eight months. When she's not dealing with possible threats abroad, she's thinking about the family waiting at home for her.
"As soon as I check out of work, it's messaging back to my husband, asking how his day has been or vice versa," she said.
She has a blended family of five children with her husband, Maj. Jeremy Degier, who flies Chinooks for the Red Bulls.
"I leave in October of this year," Maj. Degier said.
So when she returns home, her husband will leave soon after. It is the life of a military family.
"With him also being in the military, his family and my family, they really come together and help out," Lt. Col. Degier said.
But nothing can take the sting out of missing Christmas of 2018. Lt. Col. Degier was in Kuwait.
"That was very hard. It didn't feel like Christmas," she said.
Now the family is preparing for next Christmas. Maj. Degier will be deployed once his wife returns and will miss the holiday at home.
They say their faith gets them through the rough times.
"Jeremy and I have multiple devotions that we do together," she said. "We read them together when we can, and when we can't we'll read them and then share thoughts about those devotions together."
Praying together, they plan on getting through the separations, while continuing to serve the country they love.
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