Michelle Cuthrell was 23 years old, nine months out of college and 11 weeks pregnant with her first child when her husband deployed to Iraq in 2005.

With a baby in her belly and a husband in her heart, this newlywed embarked on a crazy journey that led her through a year of tests and trials, heartbreak and hard times, as she lived alone in the -40 degree temperatures of Fairbanks, Alaska. There, Michelle endured the pregnancy and rearing of the couple’s first child as her husband served with the 172nd Stryker brigade in Mosul, Iraq.

But when the Department of Defense extended her husband's unit for four additional months in country, just 10 days shy of his much-anticipated homecoming after a year at war, Michelle temporarily fell apart. It was in those difficult days that she learned the real value of friendship, faith and unfailing love.

Behind the Blue-Star Banner documents Michelle’s 16-month journey to reunion and the lessons she learned about true service and sacrifice along the way.


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