Parenting in a dual-income household presents itself with a myriad of challenges, particularly when deployments, relocations and devotion to duty are a way of life. Lt. Cmdrs. Jackie and Jeff Hogan are an exemplary dual-service naval couple that know such life very well.
The Hogans have two sons: John, 4, and Jace, almost 2. They are in the middle of their second decade together having made large strides and sacrifices for their education, career advancements and their family.
Jackie Hogan, who is soon to promote, is a prosthodontist stationed at Naval Branch Health Clinic at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Jeff Hogan is an aviator at NAS Whiting Field, Fla. Their current duty stations are an hour apart but that is akin to being next-door neighbors for the Hogans. The two spent their courtship and early years of their marriage in a long-distance relationship.
Like many military couples, they have learned the priceless value of time together as well as the fortitude they each have individually.
The couple met on Valentine’s Day in 2004. Jackie Hogan was finishing her last year at Bucknell University, and Jeff Hogan was visiting a friend during a break in his third year at the U.S. Naval Academy. They both had career goals they were pursuing, so they committed to a long-distance relationship.
Jeff Hogan graduated from the Naval Academy in 2005 and began flight school in Pensacola, while Jackie Hogan went to dental school at the University of Pennsylvania. Several years ticked by, but they didn’t let distance stand in the way of love. They were married in November 2007.
Their first year as newlyweds wasn’t filled with the typical starry-eyed days of lingering in each other’s company. Jeff Hogan left for Guam in April 2008 and his first deployment to Kuwait soon thereafter.
Jackie Hogan graduated from dental school in May 2008 and was commissioned to serve in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps. Under a Health Professionals Loan Repayment Program contract, she joined as a direct accession. After attending Officer Development School, she moved to Guam in September 2008 to begin her dental career.
Moving to an unknown place and setting up a new life was intimidating for Jackie Hogan, particularly since her new husband was deployed two oceans away when she arrived. However, she quickly acclimated to life on Guam.
“I left the safety of East Coast and went to this tiny, little island and made some of the best friends of my life,” she remembered.
In 2011, postgraduate educational pursuits meant that once again their paths would cross and weave for several years. Jeff Hogan attended Naval Postgraduate School, and received a master’s degree in systems engineering. Meanwhile, his wife was in a three year prosthodontics residency at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School on the other U.S. coast.
Next, Jeff Hogan was stationed at NAS Patuxent River, Md., and then later at NAS Norfolk, Va., which meant they were within driving distance and could visit each other while Jackie Hogan finished her residency.
For dual-military couples, receiving orders to the same location can be a challenge. They both acknowledge the work behind the scenes it takes to keep them together. In fact, Jeff Hogan stresses the importance of flexibility for the service member.
“There is a lot of trust involved with the people that are advocating for us,” he said. “The detailers and placement officers are working to keep us together, but it’s not always possible so we have to communicate and be willing to make sacrifices.”
Jackie Hogan joined her husband in August 2014 when she received orders to Norfolk at the Navy’s largest dental clinic. They soon welcomed their first son and began navigating the intricate balancing act of work schedules, childcare and family time. Jeff Hogan’s role as Tactical Operation Officer at the time meant he was
gone frequently. The couple quickly learned the importance of having multiple tools in their toolbox as working parents.
Jeff Hogan received orders to NAS Whiting Field in 2016 and relocated in the fall, while his wife stayed in Norfolk with their son to finish her orders. Before Long, Jackie Hogan received early orders to Pensacola and joined her husband in the spring when she was six months pregnant. They welcomed their second son in August 2017.
They admit that life with two active boys is busy and unpredictable. Both parents are Department Heads and have demanding work schedules. Through it all, though, the Hogan’s have learned to treasure their time together. They both say that communication and partnership are key ingredients for happiness and success.
“In order to make this crazy life work, you have to communicate, support each other’s goals and trust each other,” Jackie said. “Being trustful and true partners is key.”
The Hogans have learned to value the unique opportunities that each duty station has to offer. These days, the family enjoys their pool and the white sand beaches of Pensacola. However, another adventure is on the horizon and they wouldn’t have it any other way.Read comments