by Jess Clackum
In the past, the term military spouse commonly referred to women but in recent years with the increased opportunities for women in the military, the gender roles have changed. Now, there are more men serving in the role of military spouse, working behind the scenes to care for the children and run the household, taking care of all of the responsibilities once delegated solely to women.
Andrew Kissell is one of those men. The Indiana native who served five years in the United States Navy, is the husband of US Navy MH-60R Seahawk pilot LCDR Trier Kissell and father of two young boys. He devotes much of his time to taking care of his family ensuring his wife can perform her military service.
When LCDR Trier Kissell began flying with students after the birth of their first child, Andrew resigned his job to stay home and care for the baby during the first year. He returned to work until their second child was born and then once again he resigned to resume his role as stay-at-home dad. When Trier was called to Active Duty and had to relocate, Andrew once again resigned from another position, one he loved, to relocate his family and get them settled.
Andrew maintains ties to the military beyond his marriage to Trier. He worked with GE Aviation in Cincinnati with their military engine development programand with BAE Systems on vertical launch systems for Cruisers, Sikorsky Support Services and L3 Communications at the Navy’s Primary and Advanced Flight Schools. Currently, he is with the M2 Services doing Depot maintenance for the Navy’s H60R fleet.
As much as Andrew enjoys his work on the outside, he is able to let go when duty calls. To him, there is nothing more important than family. He says, “There are specific moments in time when Trier and I look at each other and I know, ‘Hey my family needs me.’”
Andrew is extremely proud of Trier as she has risen in the ranks among her strong-willed, confident male counterparts. She is smart, hardworking and ambitious and more than able to hold her own among her male peers, while also gaining their respect.
“Trier is a natural leader that truly strives to do things the right way while always keeps her people in mind. This makes it easy to support her career in Naval Aviation. She is fully involved at home with our two sons and me yet still finds time during her high tempo normal work schedule to mentor young sailors along the way.
Some may say I’ve had to take a backseat in order for Trier to do her thing but I am proud of my job to be the one supporting such a strong woman who is making both visible and behind-the-scenes contributions to military programs, junior sailors and young women navigating their way through a changing culture.”
Trier Kissell is thankful for her husband and all that he has done for her and the children.
“The only reason I get to do what I do is because he wakes up at 0430 every weekday in order to be home for the school bus in the afternoon. He is my rock. And I hope the boys are paying attention.”
Andrew has a tremendous respect for the WASP, who inspired Trier to pursue her dream of flying.
"I've noticed a newly found interest from Trier in organizations like FlyGirls and the WASP, who are championing women in the military, aviation, and in the private sector, helping guide them while they maintain a balance in the very fragile career and family relationship. I applaud groups like these, whose success stories attributed to Trier's desire to reactivate from the reserves to full time duty, where our family is thriving."
Andrew Kissell feels blessed to live the life he's living and he wouldn't change a thing about it. He is meant to be doing what he's doing---and he is proud of it. He's also patient, knowing the sacrifices he and Trier make now will pay off. Someday when Trier retires, they want to start their own business---giving tours and opening a flight school. At that time, he says, his training, experience and education will be put to full use. Until then, he spends his time doing what he loves, taking care of his children, maintaining the household and supporting his wife so that she can do her job to the best of her ability.
On this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we thank Andrew Kissell and all the men out there like him who challenge traditional gender roles by taking on the responsibility of caring for the children, running the household and supporting their wives, encouraging them to live their dreams. These are honorable men and we appreciate their service too!