The first thing you notice about Ann Campbell and Marla Schroeder is their tight-bond. They often wrap their arms around each other. They joke, they laugh.
The two women provide a sense of calm at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the home of the 101st Airborne Division. About 17,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne - nearly the entire division - have been deployed as part of the Afghanistan surge.
Campbell and Schroeder are the wives of the 101st's two top commanders. "Our husbands look after each other and we look after each other," Campbell says.
They call themselves "Battle Buddies" - Army tough women who keep the home front stable while husbands are on the battlefield. "We always joke that being an Army wife is actually the toughest job in the Army."
Nine American service members died in a helicopter crash Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, where an international coalition has stepped up efforts against the Taliban, according to a Western defense source. FULL POST