According to the World Economic Forum June 2015 stats, the U.S. Department of Defense is the largest employer in the world with 3.2 million on the payroll. It is not surprising to learn that over 60% of those brave women and men are married. That’s approximately 1.9 million military love stories looking for happily ever after.
“Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great a love can be. The sweet love story that is older than the sea. The simple truth about the love she brings to me. Where do I start…” -Andy Williams
Where does a military love story really begin? Is it at birth or at first sight? In the case of British comedian John Oliver and U.S. Army combat medic Kate Norley, their Military Love Story begins in September, of 2008, in Saint Paul, Minnesota at the National Republican Convention.
John Oliver: Comedian , Writer and Military Spouse
As the eldest of four children, growing up in Bedford, England Oliver dreamed of playing soccer professionally for Liverpool when he was young. While attending Cambridge University, he answered his comedic calling and joined the famed Cambridge Footlights comedy troupe. He continued to write and perform stand-up throughout England after college. Then in 2006, he got the big call from Jon Stewart, with an invitation to come to America and join the Daily Show. Oliver accepted and arrived in New York the day before his first appearance as Senior British Correspondent.
Kate Norley: U.S. Army Combat Medic and Iraq War Veteran
Raised in Virginia, Kate Norley’s parents always encouraged her to cut her own path. At the age of 16, while riding her bike to a soccer game, she was hit by an out of control driver. She experienced severe head trauma, losing all her cognitive skills. Requiring her to learn to read and write again.
It is no surprise that following the terror attacks on 9/11 Norley stepped up to serve her country and at 19, enlisted in the U.S. Army. Her role in the Gulf War was counseling soldiers experiencing war-induced mental trauma and working with squatters living around Camp Blackjack, the 1st Cavalry Division’s base in northwestern Baghdad. And then went on to Fort Hood, Texas- based 1st Cavalry Division’s 15th Forward Support Battalion as a mental health specialist.
“The Army has given me a chance to do things I never dreamed I was capable of doing.” – Kate Norley
By 2008 Norley, had completed her time in service and dedicated herself to advocating veterans-rights. She was attending the Republican National Convention with fellow veterans when she met Oliver.
The Military Love Story Begins
On location at the Republican Convention broadcasting for the Daily Show, Oliver found himself being pursued by security for entering into restricted area. Still on temporary work visa, Oliver was running the risk of being deported if arrested. As he and his camera crew were seeking a place to hide, they met a group of veterans who offered to help. Among the group was U.S. Army combat medic, Kate Norley. Emails were exchanged. And three years later they were married.
John Oliver has remarked that he is humbled everyday by wife Kate’s dedication to the supporting the military. “When you’ve married someone who’s been at war, there is nothing you can do that compares to that level of selflessness and bravery.” She is, he says, “very American with a capital A,” and that “once you’ve bled for America, you definitely get to say you’re an American in a slightly louder tone of voice.”
John Oliver understands the sacrifices that go along with being a military spouse and looks for every opportunity to stand beside and support his wife Iraq war Army veteran Kate Norley.
At the end of 2013, after eight years Oliver decided it was time to leave the Daily Show. The next day he and Kate left for Afghanistan as part of the USO Tour. They slept in the barracks, ate with the troops and performed at more than half a dozen forward operating bases.
“If you don’t have anyone in your family who’s serving,” he says, “you can very easily think that we’re not at war now. But we are. This is a country at war. There’s a massive disconnect between America and its military, and being married to a veteran removes that disconnect in a very substantial way.” -John Oliver
Attention Service Members, Military Spouses and Veterans
Here’s your chance to combine your flair for writing and your military life experiences for a chance to be featured in our Military Community. The theme is Military Love Stories. We are looking for well-written, creative, meaningful real-life stories that celebrate the heartwarming power of LOVE in Military Life.
Share your Military Love Story for a chance to be featured in our Community Blog and newsletter. We are looking for well-written, creative, meaningful stories that celebrate Military Love.
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