It’s only two weeks. But they’ve made the best of it.
Capt. Eric Freienmuth and Capt. Lena Freienmuth expected not to see each other for at least 10 months when Lena deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, in January, with the 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.
But Eric, an F-16 pilot, recently deployed to Balad with the 13th Fighter Squadron. The 13th is replacing the 14th Fighter Squadron at Balad. The couple are assigned to Misawa Air Base in northern Japan.
The Freienmuths’ time at Balad overlapped when Lena’s squadron rotation out of Iraq was delayed by a few weeks, according to an Air Force news release from Balad.
The brief time together enabled the two Air Force Academy graduates to share in some professional milestones.
On Memorial Day, Eric flew his first combat sortie in support of an Army convoy receiving small-arms fire from the side of the road, the release stated.
Lena launched and recovered her husband’s fighter jet. After Eric taxied in, engines still running, he re-administered the officer’s oath of office and read her promotion order via a communication cord. After shutting down the engines, Eric pinned on his wife’s captain bars, according to the release.
“I was so glad I was the one who got to promote her here because we were lucky enough to at least get a couple weeks of overlap between our AEF rotations,” Eric was quoted as saying. “We didn’t even know if we would get to see each other during the change out before she deployed [home].”
The two have been married almost two years.