Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Tevin Speight and Catherine Oliva-Speight are not the typical Marine Corps couple. They were together for two and a half years before Catherine became a Marine. Catherine graduated from boot camp on February 28, 2012. Once Catherine started her career, she married Tevin. They got married on January 4.
Catherine: When I joined, I honestly thought we were going to break up. You see the commercials and where the Marine Corps can take you but I was afraid of where my relationship would end up.
Tevin: I didn’t know whether I wanted to put any effort in the relationship or not at first but I am glad I did. It’s working out in my favor.
Catherine: It is funny because I’ll say Marine Corps jargon and he won’t understand anything I am saying.
Tevin: I was worried because the day I terminated my lease, I found out there was a chance she was going to deploy in April and I was getting here in March.
I didn’t want her to leave but she was saying she wanted to and it’s what she trains for, she was giving me the whole nine on why she wanted to go.
Catherine: I was really lucky because I had my car at school and he had family that lived right outside the gates in Augusta, Ga., so I could see him on the regular.
No one wanted us together at first so we had to hide it for awhile but eventually everyone accepted it and we saw each other the time while I was at MOS school.
Tevin: This is the longest time we spent together, at one time, in the four years we have been together. I want to experience more of my marriage before she deploys.
I don’t want her to deploy, but at the same time, this is her career and she has to do what she has to do. I’m not going to distract her.
Catherine: My first opportunity to deploy, I was all for it. I looked at it as an opportunity to learn my job.
I told myself in my head that I was ready to go but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave him.
I was crying, telling him this is what I have to do.
I did have a lot of worries about leaving him because he was just getting out here.
He’s getting the hang of it and starting to use words that I use. I’ll catch him saying things like ‘MOS’ and at first he didn’t even know what that meant.
I’ll come home and talk to him like he is a Marine and he’s not used to that.
Tevin: When it comes to her being a Marine, I’m glad she is able to turn it on and off.
I’m just worried about something happening to her. I don’t want anything to happen to her at all.
I enjoyed the (Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1) Jayne Wayne Day activities. I feel like I would be a good Marine and doing those things let me get a taste of it.
As far as everything I see Marines doing, it seems to be pretty cool. I consider everything to be an experience.
The simulator opened my eyes. I could tell that if you were in that situation, you can’t just go out firing your weapon, you have to be aware of your surroundings.
She came home saying I was going to be mad at her because she signed me up for Jayne Wayne Day. Once she said I get a chance to shoot guns, I was all about it.
When I went to a shooting range in North Carolina, I missed every shot with a pistol and that’s when I knew I needed to work on my accuracy. The first time I ever fired a rifle was at Jayne Wayne Day.
It was cool getting to be in her shoes. I respect everything she does.
Catherine: Before I got married, I talked to the only other female I know who is married to a male who has nothing to do with the military and she said she loves it.
To balance it out, I’m going to let him start making choices like where our next duty station is going to be.
The good thing is, no matter where I end up, I know he will be by my side.
Tevin: It’s different being a male dependent but I have no doubts, I am very happy.
Before I came out here, I had never flown on a plane before. I was leaving everything behind.
I wanted to better our relationship. That’s why I am here.
All my stuff was sent to our new house before I got out here so there was no turning back even if I wanted to.
I left my job, my apartment but it was all worth it.
She would try to convince with me benefits and stuff but all I wanted was to be with her.
When she first left (for boot camp), I was really emotional. That last phone call when she was at the hotel made me realize that there was no turning back. She was gone.
She even sounded different on the phone after I heard her on the phone for the first time in three months. Seeing her in uniform made me proud.
I was excited to come out here to California. The drive from North Carolina was an experience in itself. I consider all of this an experience.
Catherine: Even when we first started dating, I felt like I knew him for a long time.
Tevin: I never tell someone I love them unless I mean it. I love her.
Catherine: After we are separated for a while, I feel like we are closer once we get a chance to see each other.
Tevin: When she was at boot camp, it was frustrating because I couldn’t talk to her. I was standing by the mail box every day.
Catherine: Sometimes I wouldn’t have time to write a long letter so I would send a letter that just said I love you. I would do anything just to write him.
Tevin: It felt good getting letters from her. That’s all I had when it came to me and her at that time.
Her handwriting even changed over time. I felt like I was seeing her change through letters.
I would watch videos on the internet of what she was doing. Her sloppy handwriting always had me wondering what was going on over there.
I’m here to support her. I always tell her not to stress and that everything is going to be alright.