Photos by Adam Baron
By: Sharon Aron Baron
It was a hero’s return from overseas when friends, family and neighbors welcomed Senior Master Sergeant Chad Martens back home from his deployment in Kuwait.
Given a police escort through his Coral Springs neighborhood, he was honored by the members of the police and fire department.
Serving in the Air Force Reserves for 27 years and stationed at Homestead Air Reserve Base, this was the fourth deployment for Martens where in Kuwait, he spent seven months as the logistics and resources superintendent. His prior deployments took him to Qatar in 2002, Kyrgyzstan in 2006, and Iraq in 2009/2010.
His wife Christine said it was exciting to see him again. Married for 13 years, they met in 2002 on a Christian dating website and were married two years later. They have two sons: Caden, 7, and Casen, 6.
To keep the children engaged with their father during his eight-month-long absence, they utilized the video messaging feature on Facebook to stay in touch. Since Martens was seven hours ahead, he would call the boys before they went to school, then give Christine a call later in the day. Christine and the boys would also send care packages to him once a month, and he would reciprocate by sending the boys letters and cards. (continued after video)
“That is one strong woman,” said neighbor Amber Reedy. “Until someone close to you is deployed, you don’t understand all that a military person sacrifices. Yes, they are in physical danger, but they also miss birthdays, births, holidays, and small events like losing a tooth. All things we take for granted. I can’t thank the men and woman who serve, and the families that support them.”
Before they were married, Christine knew that her husband would be possibly deployed in the future since he had already served in Qatar two years prior.
“The first deployment was kind of unexpected,” she said. “When he went to his monthly reserves in 2009, he found out that he would be leaving within two weeks.”
Christine said that they fortunately had more advance notice for the subsequent deployments and more time to prepare. However, it was much more difficult to cope the first and second time when her boys were babies.
“The first time, I thought, ‘how does someone do that with a baby?’ Then I had a baby the second time, and thought, ‘how does someone do that when they’re working and have a couple kids?’ But that’s what I’m doing right now.”
While her husband was away, Christine kept busy working as a receptionist for a local school where she was able to see her children throughout the day. Fortunately, since she is originally from Miami, she has family that is close by. She also has many friends that offer to help, however, she doesn’t necessarily take them up on it, but knows if she needed something, she can count on them.
Since there is typically a 4-5 year gap between deployments, they believe that this deployment will be the last, since he will retire in the next few years.
Soon, Martens will returning to the Boynton Beach Police Department where he works on road patrol.
One thing he won’t miss about Kuwait? The desert heat. Martens had to bear temperatures reaching 120 degrees. Although he wore a long-sleeved shirt, he would routinely tuck his exposed hands inside his jacket because, he said “it felt like they were on fire.” At his homecoming at his Coral Springs home on Saturday, a neighbor commented about the temperature being so hot for his arrival, but he replied, “No, no, this is wonderful.”