Bragg soldier proposes hours before deploying to Afghanistan
Posted September 25, 2011
Fort Bragg, N.C. — About 200 soldiers with the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade stationed at Fort Bragg deployed to Afghanistan Sunday, and 1st Lt. Alex Sharkey decided to make sure his girlfriend knew he planned to come home to her.
"One day I knew that there was no doubt in my mind she was the one," he said. "I got her and I made sure I told her that before I left."
Just 24 hours before departing from Simmons Army Airfield for a yearlong tour overseas, Sharkey asked Jacquelyn Toutkoushian to be his wife.
"He turned me around and he was down on his one knee and he asked me to marry him," Toutkoushian said. "I hugged him first. I jumped on him and hugged him and then I said, 'Yes, of course.'"
Sharkey wasn't the only soldier leaving new family behind. Spc. Craig Cottrell Jr. said goodbye to his 2-month-old son.
"It's hard, but I know I'm going to come back. I'm just ready to go and get it over with," Cottrell said.
The group is headed to Kabul, a combat-prone area, where they will fly attack and medevac helicopters and provide aerial security.
Cottrell's father, Craig Cottrell Sr., said he's proud to see his son go.
"To see him join the military and go serve his country and go off to war, I'm very proud," he said.
For new bride-to-be Toutkoushian, the goodbye is bittersweet.
"I'm sad to see him go. I am. He's my best friend," she said.
More than 2,500 soldiers from Sharkey and Cottrell's brigade will eventually deploy to Afghanistan as well.