CAMP IWO JIMA, Kuwait -- Even in the desert plains of Kuwait, Cupid's arrows still pierce through a battle-hard Marine's flak-jacket-protected heart.
While many spouses back in the states helped their loved one pack his or her bag for deployment, some spouses, who are also Marines, had to turn around and pack their own bags.
On Valentine's Day, some Marines at Camp Iwo Jima rushed to phones to call, while others tried to send a comforting e-mail across the Atlantic Ocean to loved ones. However, for a select few Marines here their message of love only has to travel a few miles across the Kuwaiti desert.
Being deployed together and in the same Tactical Assembly Area can have its advantages and disadvantages according to four wives who are located here.
"It's hard knowing he's so close but too far to see often," said Cpl. Brandy N. Groce, field radio operator with communications company and a native of Moore, Okla. Groce's husband, Cpl. Travis J. Groce, a multichannel operator with Combat Service Support Battalion 10, hails from Sandy, Utah.
For Sgt. Tara N. Kidd, a "Comm" Company radio supervisor, she's hopeful their deployment will soon be over because due to an earlier deployment last year her husband, Sgt. Jerad R. Kidd, a motor transport operator with the 5th Marine Regiment, and herself only spent five months together in the states.
"It's hard for me because I've only seen him once for only 20 minutes since I've been here," said Kidd, a native of Knox, Ind.
Worry fills Cpl. Adela M. Elmore's mind when she thinks of her husband Cpl. Chris J. Elmore, a field radio operator with "Comm" Company 1st Marine Division.
"It's hard for me knowing he's going to be in the front," said Elmore, a field radio operator with "Comm" Company here.
"It's been so hard being apart from each other because it's the longest since we where married two years ago," added the Saint Louis, Mo., native.
Staff Sgt. Diana Pardo an Electronic Key Management System Manger with 1st FSSG G-6 says it's better to know her husband, Staff Sgt. David L. Pardo an EKMS Manger with 11th Marines, is out here in the same situation as herself.
"It's nice being deployed together because we understand what each other is going through," said Pardo a native of San Jose, Calif.
So, what do you give your spouse for Valentine's Day when you both are surrounded by miles of sand?
"I wrapped up a (Meal-Ready-To-Eat) with hearts," said Pardo with a chuckle. Her husband and her were married in 1999 and were forced to leave their 17-month-old daughter with her mother.
A day before Pardo left she took professional photos with her daughter and on Valentine's Day she called her husband and told him to check a website where the photos are published.
Instead of roses or chocolates, Elmore bought a little romantic anniversary book and around the author's thoughts she put her own comments and memories to her husband.
Because both husband and wife are in country, what do you talk about?
Well, there's no point talking about the weather. Some of the couples plan what they might do when they get home either by e-mail, regular mail or phone.
"We've already decided to go on a cruise when we get back," Elmore said. "I'm going to pamper him."
For Groce and her husband, starting a family is in the planning stages as they "communicate with each other."
Although many married Marines find themselves away from loved ones during this deployment, a simple phrase can summarize what all couples might gain from their time apart...
"Distance makes the heart grow fonder," Groce said.