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White House guests for Tuesday night's State of the Union address include two Marine sergeants — a woman who earned a Combat Action Ribbon in Afghanistan and a man who suffered the loss of both of his legs and his left hand on his fourth combat deployment — and a cofounder of an organization that supports same-sex military couples.
The guests will sit with Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in the first lady's box in the House chamber.
The female sergeant is Kauai, Hawaii, native Sheena Adams, who in 2010 was part of a female engagement team in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. She was deployed in direct support of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in the Musa Qal'eh District, according to the White House, and received the Combat Action Ribbon and her second award of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal at the end of the deployment. She later was an adviser, liaison and lead instruction for the all-female teams.
The male sergeant is Carlos Evans, a Puerto Rico native who met Michelle Obama while he was recovering at the Walter Reed Medical Center from the loss of both legs and his left hand while in Afghanistan. During a 2012 visit to the White House, President Obama signed Evan's prosthetic arm. Also in 2012, Evans received a custom-built home donated by Operation Coming Home.
Tracey Hepner of Arlington, Va., is cofounder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition, which provides support for gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families and also advocates on their behalf. She http://militarytimes.com/blogs/outside-the-wire/2013/02/12/wife-of-1st-openly-gay-general-to-attend-state-of-the-union/">is married to Army Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith, the first openly gay general officer in the military. Hepner also works for the Homeland Security Department.