The Web’s Leading Military Blog Since 2004
Mom, Dad, Stepdad Deploy – Leaving 9-year Old Behind
Don’t worry, 9-year-old Breanna Bodden was left with a family friend, Deborah Clark, but it highlights the kinds of sacrifices that Soldiers and their families are making to bring freedom to complete strangers and peace to the Middle East.
Prior to deploying, Breanna’s mom wrote a letter to the Army Times about what it means to be a mom deploying to a combat zone:
I am an Army reservist stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. Prior to my Reserve service, I spent five years of active duty in the Marine Corps.
I recently received orders to deploy to Iraq for a year. This is my first deployment to a combat zone. What makes the thought of deploying even harder is that I am leaving my 9-year-old daughter behind. I am a single mother.
I knew I would deploy when I enlisted in the Reserve. In fact, I was hoping to finally get a chance to serve a combat tour.
While in the Marine Corps, I asked to go with my unit, but my officer in charge told me, â€œYou are a single parent; your place is at home, taking care of your children.”
Being a member of the armed forces, this appalled me. However, there are a lot of others who might agree with him.
Iâ€™ve seen debates on where a motherâ€™s place should be, and I struggle with that every day â€” probably more as I get closer to my departure date.
I do not have family in the area, but I have a great friend who is taking responsibility of my daughter for a year, if not more.
I wonder if I am doing the right thing by her. Is she going to hate me forever thinking I abandoned her? Is she going to be emotionally scarred for life?
I did not join the Army thinking I wouldnâ€™t deploy. I have been on the volunteer list the past three years, and I have recently re-enlisted for another six. My duty is to this nation and to my fellow soldiers.
News reports outrageously attack military protocol on deploying single mothers. What about single fathers who serve? Are we not the same? Donâ€™t we have the same responsibility to our children?
We are a volunteer service. We are not told that we donâ€™t have to go to war when we visit the recruiter. The benefits are great, but thatâ€™s not the reason we join the military.
There are women who get pregnant on purpose so they donâ€™t have to deploy. Instead of processing them out of the military, why not charge them with missing a movement?
Two female soldiers at Bragg recently admitted to getting pregnant so they wouldnâ€™t have to deploy to Iraq with the rest of their unit. They were chaptered out of the Army. Are they not the same as those who go AWOL and refuse to deploy?
As the days with my daughter pass, I hope and pray that I have taught her the importance of my job, the importance of military service.
I will never regret leaving her. I take pride in knowing that my daughter will grow up realizing how important freedom is and how hard my fellow soldiers and I have fought for her freedom.
I am a mother and a soldier.
– Sgt. Rebecca Hagler
– Spring Lake, N.C.