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White Family Undergoes Many Changes Since Deployment

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Gerald White has been deployed in Afghanistan since February. He is one of at least 1,200 Fort Bragg soldiers still in the country. His family at home has gone through many changes while he has been gone.

It is Ashley's last day of school and despite a year of adjustment with her stepdad deployed, her teacher gave her high marks. In fact, she won the most improved first-grader award.

If she could talk to Gerald in Afghanistan, Angela White, Ashley's mother, knows what he'd say.

"That was good and he really wants to come home," she said.

Gerald did call home Thursday morning, but Angela missed his call.

"It was really disappointing," she said.

Thursday was Angela's 25th birthday. During the deployment, they have been apart for his birthday, her birthday, Mother's Day and this coming Father's Day. They sent him a big care package with new pictures of their other daughter, Savannah.

"He said he showed everyone he could find to show the pictures to," Angela said. "He couldn't believe how big she's gotten. He says she's a spitting image of me."

Gerald also will not be home for their anniversary in two weeks, but they are still celebrating from a distance. In addition, White was recently promoted to sergeant. He sent home a picture from his promotion ceremony.

"He'll play around and say, 'Call me Sergeant White now,'" she said. "He's really tickled and he's worked hard for it. He deserves it."

It has been four months since Gerald has been gone. Angela said her husband should be home sometime in August. Their goal is to celebrate all the special days they have missed on Aug. 30, Ashley's birthday.

White told his wife that troops are still very busy in Afghanistan. In fact, he was on a mission when he tried to call home.


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