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Married soldiers honored as Heroes of the Game

by Gordy Stillman / New Jersey Devils
Husband and wife, Vincent and Natasha Maglione are the New Jersey Devils' April 7 Heroes of the Game. The Magliones both serve in the U.S. Army Reserves. Photo by Patrick Dodson

U.S. Army Sgt. Vincent and 1st Lt. Natasha Maglione met as students at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, where Natasha was a member of the school’s ROTC program. While Vincent’s father served in the military, Natasha was the first in her family to head down that path.

On April 7, as the New Jersey Devils played their penultimate game of the season, the team honored the couple as its Heroes of the Game, thanking them for their shared service.

Natasha, 25, said when she began exploring military opportunities, seeking a way to help pay for college, it quickly became a search for a way to give back. “I didn’t really know which branch I should join,” Natasha said of the early search. Eventually, she chose the Army because it was a better fit for her, offering educational opportunities and the chance to become an officer. “I wanted to serve, and to be able to be a leader,” she said.

Vincent, 26, said Natasha contributed to his choosing the Army over the Navy, but it also came down to the former offering “cooler stuff to do” than the latter. Like his wife, it was also an opportunity to make an impact on his student loans.

Following basic training in early 2012, Vincent was assigned to the 423rd Military Police Company, in Shoreham, NY. From there, he was deployed to Guantanamo Bay in June 2013, returning in April 2014. Citing security concerns, Vincent declined to speak about his role at the facility, but did say being in the Caribbean was a relatively easy experience.

After graduating from college in December 2013, Natasha received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in Military Intelligence. Following additional education in the military intelligence field, Natasha was deployed to Qatar and Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom shortly after Vincent came back from active duty.

A married couple both serving in the military might seem like a challenge, but the Magliones handle it well. “It’s not too crazy,” Vincent said. “We’re both in the reserves.”

The Magliones nomination came about thanks to Vincent’s friend, John Riffle, who worked with Natasha to try to surprise him at a game, with Natasha returning from duty earlier than expected. A longtime Devils fan who saw the team win the Stanley Cup as a young kid, Vincent shared the honor with Natasha, who attended her first game Thursday night.

“Just coming back a couple of weeks ago, this is a great way to be welcomed back,” Natasha said. Vincent added it felt “cool” to be recognized at the game, but added he felt the “real” heroes are the soldiers who are unable to make the trip back home.

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