Oct 30, 2023 - Culture

After 48 years, Army wife reunited with wedding ring

Skyla Carmona holds her wedding ring for the first time in 48 years as her husband Phil makes her laugh. Photo: Courtesy of Skyla Carmona

Forty-eight years after Nashville resident Skyla Carmona lost her wedding ring in a wooded area outside a small trailer at Fort Devens Army base in Massachusetts, it has been found.

Why it matters: The discovery of Skyla's wedding ring is an example of the internet doing something good instead of bitterly dividing us.

  • But it's also symbolically significant for two people who have been in the foxhole of marriage for nearly 50 years.

Flashback: In 1975, Phil Carmona, a young soldier from New York City, and his wife Skyla, a southern girl from Cary, North Carolina, were stationed at the base in the small Massachusetts town.

  • The couple lived with their baby in a trailer on the outskirts of a woods.

Context: Being married is hard. Being young and married and caring for a baby, with another on the way, is harder still.

  • Dealing with that and navigating life as an elite special forces soldier and spouse is even more difficult.

They prefer to keep the details private, but one day, the couple got into a disagreement. In the heat of the moment, the ring was tossed into the woods.

  • The argument ended up being a blip on the radar of their marriage. Skyla and Phil have eight children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Yes, but: The ring stayed missing.

State of play: The couple actually searched for it previously. Phil found himself at Fort Devens a few times during his military service. On those occasions, he would head over to the woods and kick around the dirt with no success.

  • In 2018, Skyla and Phil took their own metal detector up to search. But the weather was awful and it was just the two of them, so the hunt was unsuccessful.

Inspired by their upcoming 50th anniversary, Skyla recently took one more swing at finding her ring.

The latest: A few weeks ago, she asked for help on a Facebook group called Metal detecting Massachusetts. A guy named Ben answered. He got permission to enter the base and conduct the search with a team of volunteers.

  • Armed with a map drawn with military precision by Phil, they got to work.
  • "I approximated. I'd thrown enough grenades. I knew it was about 30 yards from the tree line," Phil says.
A diagram showing where a man lost a wedding ring.
The scene of the search. Photo: Courtesy of Phil Carmona

The team busted out their metal detectors, followed Phil's map and found the ring buried beneath about 4 inches of dirt and brush.

Ben texted Skyla the good news. The ring they found matched the patterns from the sketch Phil had also drawn for the crew.

  • "Seriously! Oh Wow… Oh my gosh! Are you serious?!?" she texted him back.

The big picture: Phil said he always knew they'd be reunited with the ring. "I saw it as metaphorical. I saw it as God was incubating that ring until he said it was time to return it. Just as we incubated our marriage. It's always been awesome."

What's next: The couple drove back to Fort Devens last weekend so Skyla could be reunited with the wedding ring. She says she's not going to put it on yet, however.

  • "I told him, 'I'm not putting it on until you put it on my finger on Feb. 2 [of next year] like you did in York, South Carolina, 50 years ago.'"

Editor's note: Nate wrote this story with a bias because it is about two people he loves: his in-laws.


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