Like many in Generation Y, Ashly Lawshea would be "lost" without her cell phone. Her husband, Joshua, always carries his personal digital assistant.

They say they are completely dependent on the Internet. The couple is characteristically techno-savvy but unusually well-established.

Both soldiers with the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery in Hanau, Germany, the Lawsheas own two homes — one in Germany and one in the States. They also are parents to a 3-year-old boy.

Ashly, a 23-year-old corporal, and Joshua, a 24-year-old specialist, joined the military after high school for the stability, benefits and educational opportunities they say were hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

"I didn’t have a choice," said Ashly, a native of Santa Barbara, Calif.

"I had to get out of my house. And after struggling working three jobs, I could barely put gas in my car."

The Lawsheas also have embraced the timeless notion of providing a better life for their child.

"We just want our son to have options we didn’t have and hopefully more … " said Joshua, a Chicago native who has been pursuing his bachelor’s degree since he enlisted.

The couple said putting their housing allowance toward buying property instead of renting was only "logical."

"Our friends think we’re crazy," Ashly said. "It’s hard and a lot of work. But we wanted to do a lot of this stuff when we were young so we could make our mistakes early and learn from them."

Ironically, the couple’s biggest struggle is raising their son while in the military.

"It’s hard both of us being active duty and in the same unit," Ashly said.

"It’s a constant battle," Joshua said. "Child care is definitely an issue."

The Lawsheas often must coordinate their demanding schedules to look after their son, which has sometimes caused friction within their unit.

"It’s seems like it’s mission-first without much thought for your family," Joshua said. "We’re just trying to be good parents."

So, in progressive fashion, the couple envisions Joshua eventually working from home once he gets his marketing and promotions business plan off the ground. Ashly would like to help run the business if it prospers, but otherwise plans on making a career out of the military.

"It’s just stable. And the health care alone is worth staying in," she said. "If anyone gets sick it’s taken care of. You can’t beat that about the military."

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