Troops Are Shacking Up in Iraq

The U.S. military is now allowing married couples to live together in Iraq, and the troops love it.

Specialist Tony Mayfield and his wife Specialist Wendy Mayfield of the Third Infantry Division came from Fort Stewart, Ga.

"We're just happy to get deployed at the same time. Well, being together makes it a lot easier on the deployment, so yeah, I was happy," Tony Mayfield said.

The U.S. military has grouped the married couples together in a line of trailers at the main U.S. base near the Baghdad airport. Troops have now knicknamed it "married row."

"We designated an area where we could give them privacy and put them together," First Sergeant John Helring said.


With tours in Iraq extended to 15 months, and the military desperately trying to keep re-enlistment numbers up, top commanders decided last summer to allow married couples to stay together.

"The army has finally come to realize that keeping the family together, supportive, helping build those relationships, in the end helps the army," Command Sergeant Major Mark Thornton said.

The married housing has been a big hit with the troops living there, so much so that it has become make-or-break for them to serve in Iraq.

Sergeant Diane Cummings has been in the army 11 years. She married Ronald Cummings in September and said that if the army hadn't let them share the same quarters, one of them could have been tempted to leave the army completely.

"If we were not deployed to the same location, if we couldn't live together, it might affect things," she said.

"Back in the states we lived together, we had a family, we had a life, so it's good that we can come out here and continue doing that. It's just that now we're downsized to just one room," Wendy Mayfield said.

Their one-room trailers may be cramped and their bathrooms are a short walk away, but for their 15 months in a war zone these couples are happy to have a place they can call home together.