Condolences to Ken Murray's lovely wife, Teresa, currently serving in Afghanistan, and their family, friends and community in this great loss. A blog post I wrote seven years ago about Ken and Teresa, when they served together:
Back in the United States, I’ve seen scores of command-change ceremonies. Bands play, if you’re high enough in rank, flags are passed, salutes are given and the crowd applauds.
No offense to you generals out there, but in our business we call this story a “snoozer.”
Yet here in Baghdad a command-change ceremony occurred that’s worth noting. A husband gave over command of a 1st Cavalry Division medical unit to his wife, who he married last year at the Bexar County Courthouse.
The command change in the Green Zone took place on April Fool’s Day.
“When we passed the guidon, I saw the excitement in my wife’s eyes, and felt the certainty that I was leaving my unit in the best capable hands,” said Capt. Kenneth Murray, 33, of Kempner, outside Fort Hood. “I felt a great deal of pride watching Teresa as my wife, rather than a peer, start on this most significant chapter in her professional career.”
Teresa Murray, 26, now leads the 15th Brigade Support Medical Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. It provides care for troops in the “Black Jack” Brigade headquartered in a now-tattered palace built for Saddam Hussein’s wife.
As Teresa took over, Hubby moved to the maneuver brigade’s staff, working with its surgeon, Maj. Bruce “Doc” Rivers, in planning medical operations and helping set up Iraqi facilities. That’s a critical part of the Baghdad Security Plan, which aims to win hearts and minds by providing badly needed services to a war-weary citizenry.
Their many Alamo City ties would surprise you. Both attended the Officer Basic Course and a portion of the Captains’ Career Course at Fort Sam Houston. Kenneth Murray was a medic and spent years on the post, and the couple has roots in Brooke Army Medical Center.
Of course, in a love-and-war story like this, the local connections go straight to the heart.
“Teresa and I were married at the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio on June 20, 2006. In attendance was Col. Carlos Angueira, the deputy commander for clinical services at BAMC, a great friend and supporter of our family. And our witnesses were Ms. Carolyn Putnam, the general’s secretary at BAMC, and Mrs. Jeannie Noble, the general’s secretary at the AMEDD Center and School.”
Kenneth and Teresa and met as aides-de-camp for Maj. Gen. George Weightman and Brig. Gen. C. William Fox Jr., respectively, and have been together ever since. Fox was the hospital’s commander at one time, while Weightman led the Army Medical Department Center and School.
The happy couple had a lot in common even before they met. They’re career soldiers and Medical Service Corps officers. Their line of work is medical planning, operations, intelligence, training and administration, and they’ve worked closely together since serving as aides. Their jobs here dovetail nicely, as does their history. It seems they had the same circle of friends while at Fort Bragg, N.C., but somehow never met.
Next year, their friends will gather on the River Walk to watch them tie the knot again in a formal wedding. They’ll eventually settle in San Antonio when it comes time for him to retire around 2011, build a retirement home and start a new life as a civilian.
Truthfully, those are vague plans. Kenneth and Teresa aren’t even sure if the Pentagon will extend their year-long tours, something I have been told is more likely than not.
They aren’t unhappy about that or serving in Iraq, where Murray is on his second tour. The Army paid for his undergraduate and graduate degrees, delivers a steady paycheck and will provide a pension. It’s long been his center of gravity, not to mention his love connection. Where else, after all, could a husband swap commands with his wife?
“Either of us could as easily do something else. I have a master’s degree in health care administration, and T is very close to completing her master’s degree in emergency and disaster management,” he said.
“Speaking for me, being among soldiers, saving the lives of people in a war-torn country, and serving gladly where some others might have resentment means better conditions for my soldiers. To quote the Bible, ‘Where much is given, much is required.’”
Link to the original post: http://blog.mysanantonio.com/military/2007/04/sig-christenson-of-love-and-war/