Life in the Military
Sarah Smiley has been a military dependent since she was born in San Diego, Ca., in 1976. She is the daughter of retired admiral Lindell Rutherford, a Navy F-14 pilot, and the wife of Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley, also a Navy pilot.
Sarah was born during her dad's first deployment (she didn't meet her dad until she was 7-months old), and by the time Sarah was 22 years old, her dad had been deployed a total of 11 years.
Sarah grew up mostly in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As a military wife she has lived in San Diego, Ca.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Bangor, Me.
Sarah has known her husband since she was a baby. They met when their fathers were in the same squadron (VF-111 Sundowners) and their mothers were both members of a Navy Wives Club.
Sarah and Dustin were married in 1999 at the Chapel of the Centurion in Fort Monroe, Va.
Cmdr. Dustin Smiley is a Navy helicopter pilot and a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. Sarah and Dustin have three boys—Ford, Owen, and Lindell.
Dustin has deployed three times, twice in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, and once for a year to Djibouti, Africa.
During Dustin's Djibouti deployment, for each week that he was gone, Sarah and the boys invited a new stranger the "fill" his seat at he family dinner table. That yearlong experience became the book Dinner with the Smileys.
Dustin and Sarah's military history came full circle in 2001, when Sarah's Dad was the commander of CARGRU 4 and Dustin flew him onto the USS Enterprise.
Read about Sarah and Dustin's unique military love story.