Creek County Soldier Gets Married Before Going To War

Wednesday, September 6th 2006, 10:20 am
By: News On 6

A military family juggles two different deployments to bring everyone together for one special night.

A Creek County father and son are both on active duty with the Oklahoma National Guard. One is already serving in Afghanistan, the other's heading for Iraq.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says they managed to find one night when both military men would be home for a very special mission.

All Specialist Michael Russell Junior wanted was to have his father by his side at his wedding, but with both men on active duty, that's a tall order. An hour before the ceremony and the Russell household was edging towards panic. But a few last minute details couldn't possibly compare to the tricky task of getting two active duty National Guardsman in the same place at the same time.

Military wife and mother Linda Russell: "I'm proud that they're both here at the same time I was beginning to sweat it wasn't going to happen because he called last week and he was still in Afghanistan."

In some ways, 20 year old Specialist Michael Russell Junior and his father are living parallel lives. They share the same name and if you look at pictures of the two at the same age, you can barely tell them apart. And now, Michael Junior or JR as he's called is serving in the same camp in Afghanistan that his father Michael Russell senior did. Maybe that's why it was so important to JR for his dad to be by his side at his wedding. "It was pretty important that's why we're having it now cause I really wanted him to be there.” But as most military families know, the military operates on its own time.

And Staff Sergeant Michael Russell almost had to disappoint his son. "They wanted they key NCO's and they took us all to Fort Dix New Jersey to train up. And I was lucky enough. I told my First Sergeant that my son was getting married so he let me come home to see my son get married.”

So when JR's bride, Sharon Hugbee, walked down the aisle, the elder Russell was right behind his son. An occasion made all the more special by the dangers the two will soon face overseas. Linda Russell: “tonight's going to be the last time for a long time for us. So the wedding is going to be very special."

For the bride and groom and for this family that's giving so much to serve our country. Specialist Russell is home for just ten days, before he heads back to Afghanistan for another ten months. Staff Sergeant Russell will go back to training in New Jersey at the end of the week and he will be deployed to Iraq by the end of the year.

As you can imagine all of this is pretty rough on Mrs. Russell, but she says she'll just be doing a lot of praying.