NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (Nov. 1, 2012) – U.S. Army Staff Sergeants Wayne and Shanique Selman, a husband and wife team assigned to 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are both serving together as water purification specialists at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan.
The husband and wife team have deployed together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom three times, but this deployment is a little different from the rest, explained Shanique.
“Third deployment to Afghanistan together and this is our first time being on the same FOB,” she explained. “This is a very unique situation. Third deployment and we are finally together.”
The Selmans have a combined total of 18 years of service to the U.S. Army, and they chose to extend their original commitments by standing side-by-side and affirming their oaths together, Oct. 12,an opportunity that never seemed to present itself on previous deployments.
“It was never time for the both of us to reenlist,” said Shanique, a native of St. Mary, Jamiaca, assigned to Company A, 704th BSB. “It was either his window was open and mine’s was closed, or mine’s was open and his was closed.”
With this re-enlistment, Wayne, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who joined in 2002 and is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 704th BSB, went indefinite. In the Army, a Soldier is considered indefinite once they reenlist with more than 10 years of service. Shanique, who joined in 2004, still has one more reenlisment left until she is considered indefinite. The Selmans plan to do 20 years and then retire.
“He says 30 for me and 20 for him,” she said jokingly. “He’ll get out and be the house husband.”
“Yeah, I’ll get out and be the dependent,” added Wayne, smiling.
While retirement is still a while away, the couple have goals they would like to accomplish during the remainder of their service. For Wayne, he would like to at least make it to first sergeant. Shanique wants to become a warrant officer. They both get their first look at sergeant first class next year and hope that at least one of them makes the list, they explained.
There is no competition though when it comes to promotion.
“She’s always been ahead of the game of me,” said Wayne. “She got E-5 first (and) E-6 first.”
“I think he’s used to it,” said Shanique, smirking.
“I’ve dealt with it,” said Wayne, shrugging his shoulders. “I’ve done heard everything I can when she outranked me in front of my boys. Past sergeant majors asked, ‘Do you stand at parade rest in the kitchen when your wife is talking to you?’ but I’m over it.”
“One team, one fight,” he continued. “She’s proud of me if I get promoted first and vice versa. We all spend the same money in the end.”
When asked what made them decided to continue to serve, Shanique responded first.
“I liked it and I still love it,” she said. “It provides for our family. It’s easier to be dual military versus he’s away and I’m at home.”
“I continue to serve because my family is proud of me,” said Wayne.“I’m like the first one in my family who, that I’ve known, actually served in a service. It’s the only place I can work out for free and keep in shape. I meet good people in the military. It’s something me and my wife could talk about, that we have in common. The relationship is never dull.”
“Soldiers, they will always call you later and tell you what kind of impact you have made on their life,” he continued. “I think that’s the best reward you can have knowing that you changed somebody’s life a couple years down the road.”
The next stop for the Selmans after redeployment is a permanent change of station from Fort Carson, Colo., to Fort Lee, Va. There they will continue their service together as instructors at the schoolhouse for the water purification course.