Military Feature: Going the distance

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

Her husband’s decision to enter the military was a choice they made together, Christina Moreno said.

The high school sweethearts knew it would likely mean time apart; however, it was a choice they made for their future, she explained.

While Army Spc. Victor Moreno serves his country in Iraq, Christina returned to their native Clovis with their young daughter Sofia to await his return. Approximately four months of what could be an 18-month deployment have passed.

Christina attends Clovis Community College and spends time with family and friends to keep busy.

“We do really have a strong marriage, and the military will either make you or break you — some marriages don’t last (in military life),” the 21-year-old said.

The distance just makes her love and appreciate him more, she said.

Spc. Moreno didn’t necessarily plan to join the military, the 24-year-old said by phone Tuesday from Mosul, Iraq.

“I tried the college thing and (it) didn’t really work out for me,” he said.

Now he has a job he loves. A tracked-vehicle mechanic, Moreno said working in Iraq is not much different than doing his job in the states.

The food is pretty good, the troops have access to military cable television and can even pay to have Internet access in their rooms, he said.

Things are rather routine at the forward-operating base where he works, he said. Moreno said he hasn’t had to leave the base for work in the field, providing support from inside the perimeter wire.

He’s assigned to the 1st Calvary Division out of Fort Bliss in El Paso.

“I’ve always wanted to come out here and see what it was like because you always hear all these stories,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a little harder than it is (but) the hardest thing is being away from my family. I love them and miss them very much,” he said.

Spc. Moreno began his first tour in Iraq in November.

“It’s very difficult. We were lucky we had three years before he deployed, but it’s really hard now, I miss him — I miss him for (Sofia) too. (Victor) gets really sad when he hears about everything she’s doing. He says she’s growing up without him — that’s the most difficult part, just knowing he has to be away from (Sofia).”

They don’t know for sure if military life is what they want long-term, preferring to take things one day at a time.