By Sgt. Melissa N. Lessard, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas—“I think the hardest thing for her is putting up with me,” Mark Musser said while laughing. “She keeps me balanced.”
Before getting married, Musser and Kim would write back and forth to each other, Kim said. He was stationed in Chicago while she lived in Ohio. Every couple of weekends he would drive to visit her.
Seven months after meeting, they had a candle-lit ceremony in the church Kim grew up in, she said. Capt. Mark Musser, the Chaplain with the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade, and Kim have been married for 25 years.
Two weeks after they married Kim moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, she said. She did not know a lot about the military before meeting Musser.
Kim has shown strength, loyalty, and commitment not only to her husband, but also to the U.S. Army by continuously adapting and adjusting to the demands of the military.
Her first permanent change of station was an adjustment, she said.
“I had been away from family when I was in college, but not far,” she said. “It was an adjustment to live that far from everyone.”
On top of being away from immediate family, the couple was expecting their first child, said Kim. He was busy, even then.
After Musser’s time in the Navy, they both transitioned back into civilian life, they said. Kim went to college to become a registered nurse. Musser went to college for Old Testament and New Testament studies. After Musser completed his studies, he rejoined the military, this time with the active Army component.
“The first few years, it was on her,” said Musser. “Kim is very independent and very strong-willed. At the same time, she is balanced. She is more balanced than me. The first three years of active duty, the weight was on her shoulders. I had the easier job. Show up, go to training, deploy.”
The transition back to active duty was a challenge, she said. She was back in Ohio where they had a home. She was still working, and her children were finishing up school. With him away at training, she was responsible for selling the house, packing up and moving the family. They moved to Fort Hood before he was finished with his initial Army training.
“That was a big adjustment since we had been out for so long,” said Kim. “Kind of stressful. Once he got back from his training, we were already settled. He was deployed within three months. The first few years it seemed like he was gone most of it.”
The last deployment Musser had they felt more connected, said Kim. This time they were able to skype and talk on the phone.
Kim was able to adapt to the multitude of changes by getting involved with her children and the community, she said. She was busy with the children’s activities, family readiness group, and church.
“We had such a good bunch of people that were supportive,” she said. “I made some really good friends; we still keep in touch. That helped immensely.”
The role of a military spouse is vital, said Musser. He does not have to worry about anything at home.
“Kim is the success of my career,” he said. “Without her, I couldn’t do this. Without knowing that I have a bedrock here.”
While the military can have its hard times, there are experiences that Musser and Kim have had that they believe would not have happened if they were not serving in the military.
They have lived overseas, vacationed in other countries, and even made appearances on several television shows, Kim said. Another benefit is meeting people from all over the world.
“We have met so many people from all walks of life,” said Musser. “I will always cherish that.”
The most predominant factor with Soldiers and their spouses is the commitment, said Musser. Commitment, in a marriage, has to be the foundation, the bedrock.
Kim has shown strength, loyalty, and commitment, through her endurance, through multiple moves, deployments, and struggles.
“You do make sacrifices personally,” Kim said. “You get stronger through all of these things.”