GREEN RIVER– Kael and Cheryl Brady of Green River met one week before they were both deployed to Iraq back in 2004 while serving in the Army.
Both Kael and Cheryl enlisted in the military because they didn’t have a desire to go to college. They both had family members who had previous served. Kael’s uncle served in Vietnam and both of his grandpa’s served in World War II. Cheryl’s grandpa was in the Korean War.
Why the Army? Well, for Cheryl it’s simple. She spent a little bit of time in the National Guard but ultimately made the switch to the Army because, “they’re the coolest.”
Kael, a Green River native, signed up for the the Army in 1999 when his friend went to enlist.
“My buddy was going into the Army, so he had me talk to the recruiter, so that’s kind of why I chose the Army,” Kael said.
Kael was first stationed in Hawaii where he worked as a helicopter mechanic in a Combat aviation brigade, or a CAB unit.
“That was a pretty fun unit,” Kael said. “We were deployed to the field a lot, but it was fun.”
Kael recalls the CAB unit being a lot like a brotherhood or a fraternity. He worked on the weapon systems on the helicopter, in which there were four different weapon systems and the helicopter could carry two at a time. His job was to run out and quickly change the systems out when the helicopters landed so they could take off again.
However, after three years, he switched to working supply and was transferred to Fort Riley in Kansas. Despite not liking the job as much, this is where he met Cheryl, as she was a cook there.
“We met a week before deployment. We got put on the same duty to spray our uniforms with some kind of bug repellent,” Cheryl recalled.
“That was right when I got to Kansas, we were getting ready to go to Iraq and then we got on that duty together,” Kael said.
In Iraq, Cheryl became a driver, driving Humvees and 5 tons.
“Once we got to Iraq, I was supply so I was always going on convoys to pick up supplies. Since she wasn’t cooking over there, they assigned her to be my driver,” Kael said. “So we spent a lot of time driving and going to different places, picking up supplies. There was a lot of downtime waiting for the convoy to come back at night so we’d talk and get to know each other.”
They both spent about a year in Iraq before returning to the United States and finished out their enlistments at Fort Riley. Kael’s service lasted from July 1999 to July 2005. Cheryl served from January 2003 to December 2005.
Kael and Cheryl were married July 7, 2007, or 07-07-07.
“Lucky number,” Cheryl said.
Fast forward 12 years since their wedding, they are settled in Green River with two kids– one boy, aged 13, and one girl, aged 11.
Kael is an underground mechanic at Ciner, and is the captain of a mine rescue team that has won several competitions, including a nationals.
“He like totally led his people to victory,” Cheryl bragged on her husband’s behalf. “They got first place several times.”
Cheryl is currently a student, going for an accounting degree.
Both Kael and Cheryl would say their experiences in the Army were good ones. For starters, without the Army, Cheryl said she would never have met Kael and would still be living in her home state of Wisconsin. Though, she didn’t enjoy her cooking job, she loved her time in the Army.
“I did not like cooking, but overall I loved the Army. It was a good experience, and I loved driving,” she said.
“That’s because you were driving for me,” Kael joked.