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Military Life Full of Rewards

Jun 19, 2024 08:33PM ● By Brandi Centolanza

Anson Chonko, who retired from the U.S. Army National Guard in February following more than 21 years of service, comes from a long line of family members who have served or are serving in the military. His grandfather, father, and many uncles all served in the Army, while his brother currently serves in the Army.

Anson Chonko first joined the Army in 2002 as a way to benefit from the Army’s career opportunities and experiences, says his wife, Angela.

“Anson enjoyed the camaraderie of the Army,” Angela Chonko says. “Whether it was good times or not so good times, he and his fellow soldiers developed a mutual trust and oftentimes friendship.”

Anson and Angela, who currently reside in King George, are both natives of Pennsylvania. The pair met in Fredericksburg while dining out with mutual friends and eventually started dating. They wed in 2013 in Hershey, Pa., and share two children, Conrad, who will be three in August, and eight-month-old Kenley.

Throughout his time with the National Guard, Anson Chonko held duty at several locations including Johnstown and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania, as well as Fort Belvoir, Va. and Virginia Beach. Shortly before his son’s birth, Anson was deployed to Kuwait.

“He left for deployment when I was seven months pregnant,” Angela Chonko says. “We weren’t 100 percent sure he’d get leave or when, but I had a feeling the next time I’d see him it would no longer be just the two of us. He was in Kuwait when our son was born, but we were able to Facetime him for the birth.”

Angela Chonko says being a part of a military family comes with many rewards and challenges.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting Anson throughout the second half of his military career,” she says. “He is such a hard worker and has done a wonderful job balancing his military, civilian, and family responsibilities.”

Anson Chonko traveled to another state monthly on drill weekend for the first half of their marriage, which sometimes was a challenge.

“Overall, the time apart has brought us closer and given us experiences to look back on,” Angela Chonko says. “As a military spouse, you definitely learn to be flexible as there will be events, including anniversaries, birthdays and weekends your spouse will miss. Flexibility is essential, I feel for both the person in the military and their spouse. Changes are bound to happen. We regularly adjusted and embraced things as they came.”

Anson Chonko retired as a Sergeant First Class. “His current civilian job in Acquisition aligns perfectly with his military occupation,” Angela Chonko says. “Now that he’s retired, we love to travel to new places we haven’t always had the opportunity to do so.”

The couple looks back on their experience with the Army fondly.

“The rewards are the people that you meet along the way and develop long term friendships with, one example being two people Anson met in the military 20 years ago during a deployment to Iraq that he is still close friends with today,” Angela Chonko says.



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