AL ASAD, Iraq -- While in a combat zone, Marines often wonder what their spouses are doing at home, but for one Beaufort-based couple, they wonder what the other is doing on the other side of base.
Lance Cpl. German Albalopez, fixed-wing aircraft powerplants mechanic, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, Carrier Air Wing One, Carrier Strike Group 12, and his wife Lance Cpl. Lyndsi Albalopez, automotive organizational mechanic, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), were reunited in Al Asad, Sept. 6.
"We've been married for a year and four months and we were together about three years prior to getting married," said Lyndsi, a 21-year-old native of Chicago.
German deployed with VMFA-251 aboard the USS Enterprise at the end of April for a six-month deployment out at sea, leaving Lyndsi back in Beaufort to train with her squadron in preparation for their seven-month deployment in August.
"With my deployment leaving half-way through (my husband's deployment), I knew I wasn't going to see him for almost a whole year," Lyndsi explained. "I was sad to see him leave."
While aboard the Enterprise, VMFA-251 received word the squadron would be detaching for two months to Al Asad.
"When the squadron was told that we were going to Iraq, I was excited because I had a chance to see my wife," said German, a 20-year-old native of Chicago. "Once I knew that her squadron would be in Al Asad as well, I was so eager to go."
According to German, he tried his best to keep his presence in Iraq a secret so he would have the chance to surprise his wife, but unfortunately, she was made aware of the squadron's current mission.
"I continued to talk to her and made brief conversation making sure that my secret wouldn't slip out," said German. "Although, she eventually found out through the Key Volunteer's Network."
Despite his original plan, German still made the attempt to surprise his wife.
"I just wanted to see my wife," said German. "It was hard to focus on work the day she was scheduled to arrive."
After arriving to Al Asad, Lyndsi made her way over to pick up her gear where her husband was eagerly waiting.
"During the flight over here, I was anxious because I knew he would be in Iraq," said Lyndsi. "I wasn't sure if I would be able to see him. I was hoping though."
As Lyndsi was in sight of where German was standing, a fellow Marine pointed in his direction for her to see. Shocked, Lyndsi paused for a moment to make sure it was truly her husband before running over to him. After four months of being separated, the two embraced each other.
"I was so happy to see him," said Lyndsi. "I can't even explain the thoughts that were running through my head when I saw his face. Basically, everything came out when he hugged me."
This is the first time German and Lyndsi have deployed to Iraq, and they feel it will be more memorable for their relationship, as well as their experience in Iraq.
"I never thought I would have the chance to be with her here," said German. "Although I know we'll both be busy working, I plan to take this opportunity to be with her when possible."
German is scheduled to return to Beaufort before Lyndsi, but he will once again anxiously await her arrival.
Both VMFA-251 and MWSS-273 are home-based at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.