WHS graduates Natalee Kates, Ian Carroll face challenges in raising young family while in military

In honor of Veterans Day, the Charger spoke with former students and community members about the challenges and benefits of military service.

All careers can put pressure on a young family, but when your job is serving the country, you don’t have a choice when duty calls.

2017 graduate Natalee Kates has been married to 2014 graduate Navy Petty officer second class Ian Carroll for two years. Together they have a little boy named Easton who is about to turn one.

“The hardest thing now isn’t so much that he is gone, but that he’s missing a lot when it comes to Easton,” Kates says, “He didn’t get to see Easton crawl, hear his first words, his first steps and he will miss his first birthday.”

Kates and Carroll live in Virginia Beach, 19 hours away from home, which makes it harder to travel just for fun. With their son being so young, flying is its own hardship.

“The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of everything. You can never plan for anything because something is bound to come up and change everything,” Kates said.

Ian is deployed for about three months and is currently underway right now doing IT work.  He has two more of these at the end of November and beginning of December. There will be more of  the short stints out at sea next year as well.

“There’s never been a big or glamorous “special moment” where I went “this is all worth it”. He has a job to do and we roll with the punches,” Kates said.

— Laurel Barber

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