Local News

Deployment Not Easy Anytime

Posted March 25, 2003

— Whether you are new to the military lifestyle or even if you have been around it awhile, troops at war still brings anxiety among loved ones.

On Easter Sunday, Tiffany Hickman will celebrate her one-year wedding anniversary, but her husband, an Army sergeant, will not be with her. Combat Engineer Jason Hickman is one of hundreds of Fort Bragg soldiers who left in February. He is now awaiting further orders at the All-American City in Kuwait.

"They are over there to do a job. When they go, they go," she said.

The 22-year-old is strong and positive, but it is still hard. She is going through the new experiences of being pregnant alone. She said that is the toughest part.

"Just that he can't be here to share the moments," Hickman said.

Shelboni Ramey's husband, Darryl, is an air controller, guiding fighters through combat from the ground. The couple have a 7-year-old son, Stacy.

"He just misses his dad. He really misses his dad," Ramey said.

Airmen's children cope with the war in their own ways, but for some mothers, controlling how much war news they are exposed to is important.

"We try not to watch news too much. I don't want to scare them," said Becky Aldrin.

"I want to avoid it, but I can't avoid it. I want to know what's going on. I need to know. With me and my daughter, there's always a chance that we'll catch a glimpse of Daddy," said Sharon Bailey.

The war has also tough on Sgt. Major Joleen Walker, too. She knows all about the deployment drill. She has been in the Army 24 years and has been married to another soldier for 18 years. Not only is he in the gulf, but so is her oldest son.

"I dealt with my husband being gone for Desert Storm and I feel like it's easier with him because of his experience in the military and in combat, but with my son, the mother sides come out and it's much harder," Walker said.

Walker said her son, Jeremy, called her over the weekend. The 82nd Airborne soldier said they were heading into Iraq and she should not expect to hear from him anytime soon.

"I have to go with no news is good news and keep praying," Walker said.

Hickman said she is now volunteering with the Family Readiness Group on post. She and Walker say staying busy at work and home is the best way to pass the time and get support.

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