WASILLA - Ashley Walker knew what her husband did for a living was dangerous. That's because it's what she did too. Both were military police. They were deployed with the 4th Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Combat Team out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Afghanistan.
"He was the Army," she said. You can see it in his photo, in his piercing blue eyes and sharp jawline, youthful good looks shared by his wife. Ashley said a lot of people looked up up to him. As a sergeant, it was important to him to be a good leader to his soldiers. When remembering him, Ashley said it's hards to use few words to describe someone who was so much: "smart, goofy... he loved the outdoors, his dog."
Now all that's left are photos. particularly the one used at his soldier memorials. "I told him to look serious in that picture. 'Why,' he asks, 'I'm not going to use it.' You can tell he's smirking. serious eyes, but not a serious mouth."
During their deployment, the Walkers got a few opportunities to see each other, but mostly they communicated via email or Skype. On the day he died, they had an internet date. He missed it, but Ashley wasn't worried because she knew he was working.
"Well you worry, but you have the same worries for yourself," she said. "You never think its going to be my husband."
Ashley said when a soldier on their deployment died, she talked to Brian about it. She told him, "I don't know what I would do if that happened to you." A week later, he died.
On the day it happened, there was a blackout on the base. When someone dies, communication is cut off so the family can be notified by officials. When an officer asked to talk to her, Ashley was concerned.
"I was thinking, okay a limb, an arm, both legs I could do that." She said the officer didn't seem worried, but once he started talking, he only had to say one sentence.
"They didn't get through the first line and I knew."
Ashley's sister was also deployed with the 4-25th. When she got the news, she ran to the gym to tell her sister.
The two of them left Afghanistan to escort Brian's body home. She said it was hard, but "he would have done the same for me."
Now she's continuing the life they planned together by herself. Before they deployed, Brian encouraged her to apply for an Army softball team because playing could get her out of Afghanistan earlier. When she returned, she played for the team. She said her teammates understand because they knew Brian too. It was a chance for her to feel normal again. "Everyone else just kind of looks at you."
Ashley plans on getting out of the Army soon. As she and Brian planned, she's going to school to be a police officer. She'll still be serving her country in the National Guard. "I don't hate the Army. It gave me my whole world. Then took it away at the same time. It's not their fault. you always know the sacrifices. You just don't know its going to be you."