Veterans share how they were deployed together for their honeymoon

For many couples, one of the best parts of planning a wedding is also planning a honeymoon. Some couples dream of going to a warm, tropical destination; others dream of seeing a new country. Heidi (Ehen) Radkiewcz got both - but not exactly where she thought it would be. She spent her honeymoon in Baghdad...deployed with her military husband, Jake.

The daughter of Charles and Lola Ehen, and Keith and Charlene Sampson, Heidi was born and raised in Eagle Grove. She graduated from Eagle Grove High School in 1998, and after, attended NIACC in Mason City. When her two years of study were finished there, Heidi admitted she still had no idea what she wanted to study as a major.

“I knew I didn’t want to go onto school because I didn’t like school...and I didn’t want to waste my time and money on school,” she said.

So at the age of 20, she chose a different path and joined the National Guard.

“You get the best of both worlds, you can keep your civilian life but also be a soldier,” she said. “I’ve always loved being physical and working my body to extremes and I’ve always been patriotic. My Dad and Step Dad were both in the National Guard as well.”

It was just after 9/11 - Heidi was serving in Laramie, WY. It was then that she met her soon-to-be husband, Jake.

“We were called in to come to drill and a lot of us were wondering if we’d be called up to go overseas somewhere,” she recalled. I had asked Jake if he heard any news and he told me that we were definitely going and to pack my bags and call my family and friends. Of course, I kind of freaked. I ran over to my friend to tell her and then Jake had his buddy come over and tell us he was playing a joke on me.”

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