My Last Tour: Holding Hands

Liisa and Rex Temple at Neuschwanstein Castle while on leave midway through his
Liisa and Rex Temple at Neuschwanstein Castle while on leave midway through his year-long deployment in Afghanistan.
TAMPA (2009-12-15) -

The seven inches of snow dusting the Bavarian Alps has created a picture-perfect wonderland for Senior Master Sgt. Rex Temple and his wife Liisa. Temple is on mid-tour leave from his year-long deployment in Afghanistan and the couple is spending two weeks in Germany.

With only a few days left together, Liisa finds herself not wanting to let go of Rex’s hand. In the latest installment of our year-long series, the Tampa couple tells us about their time in Germany and how they’re preparing for the inevitable separation.

“We went to Austria, visited Innsbruck along with some old Austrian churches and (Swarovski) Crystal World,” Rex Temple said. “Liisa walked out of the store glittering.”

The snow hasn’t kept them from hiking or driving to outlying sightseeing spots. But Liisa Hyvarinen Temple has noticed a difference in her husband.

“You can really tell he’s been driving around in a war zone,” Liisa Temple offered. “He is super fast reacting to anything.”

The couple was married three years before the Tampa airman deployed to Afghanistan. It is his tenth overseas deployment, but their first as a couple. He said the key to managing the stress of separation is starting with a strong marriage.

“Then, what do you do with that while you’re deployed, how you communicate and find ways to make that marriage stronger,” Rex Temple said.

“I cannot even imagine how difficult it is for him where he’s at in Afghanistan,” Liisa Temple said. “So I think my job is to just support him every possible way I can and take care of the household. And we’re lucky. We don’t have children. We just have dogs and the household.”

But SMSgt. Temple believes his wife has the toughest job. “She has to be independent, take care of the house, take care of the dogs, work at her job, take care of the vehicles.”

They both say the blog, Afghanistan: My Last Tour, has eased some of the stress caused by deployment. It gives the senior master sergeant an outlet and offers family and friends daily updates.

SMSgt. Temple expects to return to his Afghanistan camp before Christmas. But the upside to that he said is that he’ll only have four and a half months left before he comes home to his wife.

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