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Army Moms: Lone Sentinels on the Home Front

Posted June 5, 2007

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— Because many soldiers from Fort Bragg’s 82 Airborne Division are in posts overseas, many families are counting the days slowly, awaiting a loved one's return.

Being a parent here at home can be tough any day, but explaining to children that their father or mother is in harm's way is even tougher.

Monica Stamper is just one of the Army wives who is coping with the strain. These days, she has to be everything to her sons while daddy is deployed.

“I'm tired, you know. But you deal, because you're an Army wife and that's what you do."

Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Stamper calls and e-mails when he can, but Monica constantly has to explain his absence to 4-year-old Brock.

"Every time I look at my son and tell him that his dad isn't going to be home for a while, that he’s at work, it breaks my heart. His little face will just crumble," Stamper said.

Brock’s brother, 3-month-old Gabriel, hasn't a clue anything is wrong. His mom is not so lucky. Stamper said she avoids watching the news or reading the paper because there are too many reminders of danger.

"Children's worlds get shattered every day because their parents don't come home," she said.

Stamper just got out of the Army so that she, at least, could be there for the boys. And she has friends, who know what she's going through.

But this military mom said that even with the joy in her life, there is always a little sadness.

"There's no end to the sorrow. Whether it's your husband or someone else's, someone’ dying,” Stamper said. If it is not your spouse, "You breathe a sigh of relief, followed by a pang of guilt that doesn't go away."

The 82nd Airborne Division has lost 121 soldiers in the war on terror, all but 20 of them killed in Iraq. If you count all soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, the number who have died jumps to 200.


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  • the alliance Jun 6, 2007

    Hang in there Army moms. I know each of you are doing the bestjob you can, not just because you have to, but because you care and you CAN! Hang tough...they'll be home before you know it.

  • armywife82 Jun 6, 2007

    Like Harvey said, this is not news, unfortunately it is life - one most of us have made for ourselves. We must do the best we can for our families. Unlike most Army wives I was already married to my husband when he joined the Army so I was thrown into this lifestyle with pretty much no other choice. I always say that if any one has a reason to whine and cry it is me but rarely do I. I have always been 100% supportive of his career choice. I didn't whine (too much anyway) or cry when he was sent home on R&R only 59 days into his deployment (we barely had time to miss him at that point) and now with the extension, it means it will be way over a year since we actually have seen him. While each deployment is harder on my now 8 year old daughter she just knows this is her life;her daddy has been deployed 5 times since she was 11 months old. Like someone else said, she knows she is fortunate to have a Daddy willing to be in harms way to help those who are not as fortunate as we are.

  • jcrew1979 Jun 6, 2007

    I pray for our troops everyday. I can't imagine what the soldiers and their families go through. My uncle went to Korea shortly after he and my aunt were married. My aunt was pregnant when he left and he never saw his son until he was 9 months old. Gotta be tough.

  • SassyBitofSunshine Jun 6, 2007

    My thoughts are with all the soldiers and their families. I have friends who just recently went to Iraq, and I write them letters every chance I get. I know numerous Army wives, and I almost was one. I admire the fortitude of each and every family member here and overseas. Thank you for supporting those who support our country, and thank you to the servicemen/women here and abroad. God Bless the USA!

  • North Carolina Native Jun 6, 2007

    I wish the best to this womans husband and to the rest of our fine soldiers who are in harms way .... you are always in our thoughts and prayers.

  • ncngwife Jun 6, 2007

    I too am a military wife. My husband has been called up and will be deployed.I understand that there is a lack of sympathy for "whining". I don't think this was intended to say "oh, woe is me!". I believe that this was supposed to be a reminder that it is not just the soldiers that we are sending to war. The families serve as well. Granted, today we do have such luxuries as email, webcams, and a reliable mail service. Previously we were not presented with the current extensive, in your face coverage. It is extremely difficult to avoid hearing about missing soldiers, casualties, and new threats. She is an 82nd Airborne wife. She is one of ours to help support. It is very easy to distance yourself from the war when you have no personal stake. She reminds us that it is our neighbors and families that fight this war. It is our responsibility to care for these families. This story is not "whining", it is to remind us that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

  • thelewisclan Jun 5, 2007

    I don't remember the part of the story where it said that this woman contacted the media to whine about her life. If you are having a bad day at work or with your children, does the fact that you chose that job or chose to have those children disqualify you from venting about them? I hear people everyday complaining about traffic - yet you chose to drive a car. I hear people complaining about their jobs - yet you chose to stay in that job. I hear people complaining about schools - yet you chose to send your children to them when other options are available. So to say that they shouldn't complain because they chose that life is ridiculous. I suffer when my husband is deployed - in large and small ways. If you ASK me I will tell you, as this wife did. But I will also tell you how proud I am that my husband is one of the under 10% of the population that does what he does. I will tell you that our benefits are wonderful. And because of him, I have that right.

  • daMoFo Jun 5, 2007

    When my dad went to Korea in 1950, they took one bag on the ship. No cell phones, golf clubs, or big screen tv for the ball games etc. For several months their daily food was c rations. He was able to call home 4 times that year.

    When my parents got married in 1954, they were married 10 days and my dad went overseas for a year. Again no cell phones, tv's, golf clubs etc. He was able to call home once a month and they mailed letters when they could.

    When he went to Vietnam in 1966, same deal.
    Each time my dad was deployed overseas, there were no military suport groups, family briefings or hand holding. In fact when he was sent to Vietnam, our family had to be off the base within 24 hours of him leaving as the base commander thought having deployed members families on base was bad for morale.

    I get tired of hearing these people act like they're the only generation to have to deal with family members being at war. Earlier generations had it harder.

  • Harvey Jun 5, 2007

    What is the point of this story? You marry into the Army--- you know what is ahead. Put off having kids and don't feel sorry for yourself. Sorry folks, this is not news.

  • lorirn4321 Jun 5, 2007

    My son and my nephew are in Iraq one is 19 and the other is 23. My son has been in the army for 6 months. I always felt bad when I heard of fallen soldiers, but never knew of the 24/7 waiting, feeling like you are holding your breath for bad news. It is like your whole world is on hold until they return. It is an awful feeling to see and hear the news everyday. I swear I won't look or listen to the news, but I'm drawn to it, it is the first thing I check every morning and the last thing I check everynight. If I see bad news, I don't sleep or I have a bad day. I'm very proud of my nephew and my son but it is very disheartening to see no end in sight and for them to be told they will have leave in 6 months, then to be told their time is extended. It is imperitive that they get leave time as promised to keep up morale.