The Phillips are no strangers to long distances, but they never thought their deployments would bring them closer together.
Capt. Thomas Phillips, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 weapon systems officer, and 1st Lt. Alyson Phillips, 378th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron infrastructure flight commander, were each tasked to deploy by their respective branches, little did they know that their paths would lead them both to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
"My unit jokes and says I’m the first guy to get a good deal out of deploying to the region," Thomas said. "It’s been pretty special."
The couple has been married a little over a year and lives in South Carolina.
Alyson was stationed at Prince Sultan Air Base first. Thomas got word that he’d be deploying soon and that the location was still unknown, but then the couple got wind that he could be headed to PSAB.
"There were a bunch of bases that were on the table and there was a lot of back and forth of whether he’d come out here or not," Alyson said. "It got to the point where I said I won’t believe it until he’s actually here."
Then the couple got the information confirmed — they’d be reunited in the desert.
"I was so excited," Alyson said. "It’s weird to not see your husband for a while and then not see them at home but see them here."
U.S. Marine Capt. Thomas Phillips, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115 weapon systems officer, hugs his wife U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Alyson Phillips, 378th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron infrastructure flight commander, Dec. 23, 2021, at Prince Sul
The two were reunited just days before Christmas, on Dec. 23.
Making the anticipation grow ever stronger, Thomas said he was on the last jet in his cell to land.
"One of the guys came over the radio and told me that she was here. I was fighting back some tears, it was pretty special," he added.
The two met in 2018 while stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. They married in September 2020.
This story was reported from Detroit.