News Icon

News: Marine mom misses moments— makes Mother’s Day

Story by Sgt. Ned JohnsonSmall RSS IconSubscriptions Icon

Marine mom misses moments— makes Mother’s Day Sgt. Ned Johnson

Staff Sgt. Mariajose Borja, a linguist manager with Regimental Combat team 7, holds her daughter, Isabella Smith Borja, during their first Christmas season at Camp Pendleton, Dec. 14. Borja, a 32-year-old from Newark, N.J., said her daughter is her inspiration and the motivation to get her through the tough times on a yearlong deployment.

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan— A two-year-old little girl with dark eyes and dark, curly hair appears on the Marine’s computer screen and screams with joy. After she runs around excitedly, the young girl runs back to the computer, blows her mom kisses and shows off her toys.

She may not say it, but her actions prove seeing her mom who is more than 9,000 miles away on a deployment to Afghanistan, is her favorite part of the day.

For Staff Sgt. Mariajose Borja, a linguist manager temporarily assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 for the deployment, the smiling face of her daughter, Isabella Smith Borja, is her motivation to work hard.

Borja, whose office is covered with pictures of her daughter, “Bella,” deployed in October for a yearlong tour and is responsible for the assignments, accountability and lodging of all Afghan interpreters in the RCT-7 area of operations in Helmand province. Her job entails long hours and a lot of responsibility, but she has exceeded expectations, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Phillip Moss, the RCT-7 personnel officer.

“Like any mom, her daughter is her drive,” said Moss. “Her desire is to do the best she can for her and her daughter’s future.”

Borja said she stays busy because she wants to make a difference in the lives of the Afghan linguists and the busyness helps get her through the days, but Isabella is who gets Borja through the tough times.

“She’s the reason I get up in the morning,’ said Borja, 32. “When I don’t want to, she is the reason I keep doing this.”

Borja was born in Ecuador, but moved to Newark, N.J., with her family when she was a child. When her family moved back to Ecuador after Borja graduated high school, she chose to stay and eventually joined the Marine Corps.

“My family wanted to go back to Ecuador because they loved it there,” Borja said. “I loved America and chose to stay.”

The Marine Corps has taken her from Parris Island, S.C., where she earned the title Marine, to the 1st Marine Corps Recruiting District in New York, and now to Afghanistan. While assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, in Camp Pendleton, Calif., she gave birth to what she calls the greatest gift of her life.

“She’s my world,” Borja said. “She’s my life.”

Isabella turned two in March and has her own way of dealing with her mom being away.

“She has a ‘Mommy doll,’” Borja said. “She sleeps with it, eats with it, talks to it and takes it to school with her.”

What little Isabella doesn’t know about taking her doll to school is that in a little over a week, her mom will be at school with her. Borja is using her 15 days of “rest and recuperation” leave to visit Bella in Quito, Ecuador, and plans to surprise her at school. The timing couldn’t be better as Bella’s school is hosting a Mother’s Day party on the day Borja anticipates arriving.

“I’m so excited,” Borja said with a big smile. “She’s going to be so happy because it will be the first time she gets to have her mom at school.”

Borja’s strength through the deployment has impressed many, Moss said, but Bella impresses, too. She is in school and is learning three languages.

“She speaks Spanish and English already,” Borja said. “Now she can count in French.”

Borja said she plans to take Isabella to the beach, zoo and pool during their visit, but mostly she just can’t wait to hold her daughter’s hand again.

After seven months of being apart and many teary moments, that day is coming and Borja is grateful for everything her family has done to support and love Bella. They will spend two weeks together before Borja returns to Afghanistan to finish the last few months of her deployment. She understands she can never make up the lost time with her daughter, but said her sacrifice is for the best.

“This deployment has helped me mature,” Borja said. “I think it has set both of us up for the future.”

Borja hopes the experience she has gained will help her become a warrant officer like her mentor, Moss. Until then, Borja is counting down the days until she’s with Bella.


Connected Media
ImagesMarine mom misses...
Isabella Smith Borja video chats with her mom, Staff...
ImagesMarine mom misses...
Staff Sgt. Mariajose Borja, a linguist manager with...
ImagesMarine mom misses...
Staff Sgt. Mariajose Borja, a linguist manager with...
ImagesMarine mom misses...
Isabella Smith Borja and her mom, Staff Sgt. Mariajose...
ImagesMarine mom misses...
Staff Sgt. Mariajose Borja, a linguist manager with...


Web Views
290
Downloads
2

Podcast Hits
0



Public Domain Mark
This work, Marine mom misses moments— makes Mother’s Day, by Sgt Ned Johnson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:04.28.2013

Date Posted:04.28.2013 09:12

Location:CAMP LEATHERNECK, AFGlobe

Hometown:NEWARK, NJ, US

More Like This

  • As the little girl walked up to the lane with her mom and dad, she gently pushed her pink ball down the ramp.
  • Staff Sgt. Maribel Valdez, the adjutant with 1st Marine Division (Forward), sits quietly at her desk. She sits straight with dark eyes, her M-9 pistol holstered tight to her uniform, and pictures of her family on the board behind her, showcasing the two different lives she lives. She’s a mother and a Marine. A balancing act that’s more difficult now that she’s deployed. She’s thousands of miles from her children and trading the sunny Southern California lifestyle for the heat and dust of Afghanistan.
  • "Like father, like son" is the more popular expression used in the English language, but "like mother, like daughter" is the phrase soldiers in the New York Army National Guard’s 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion will use this August. 
  
 For Spc. Alexandra Lippi, and her mother Sgt. Major Gina Lippi, service in the National Guard is a family thing. The two will deploy to Afghanistan this year with the Yonkers-based 101st Signal. 
  
 "I don’t know exactly what ’it’ is, but ’it’ is in my blood," said Spc. Lippi, a newly trained signal soldier in Alpha Company, 101st ESB when asked why she decided to enlist in the New York National Guard like her mother did over 30 years ago. 
  
 Spc. Lippi, who was previously assigned to the New York Army National Guard’s 466th Area Medical Company, said her mom inspired her to join and says there is a calmness in just knowing that she will have her mother in Afghanistan with her, who she can just talk to, who understands her.
  • This week’s Third Army/ARCENT Soldier of the Week is Staff Sgt. Alicia P. Lance, Third Army/ARCENT logistics movement noncommissioned officer. Lance has been deployed four times since she joined the Army in 1997 -- three times to Iraq and once to Kuwait. Born in St. Kitts but raised in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Lance said she is proud to be the first of her family to serve in the U.S. Army. She said she is most happy to be a first-time mom. Lance joined Third Army/ARCENT from Hawaii where she worked with the 25th Infantry Division. She said she is proud to have accomplished much during her military career and that she aspires to one day become a nurse.

Options

  • Army
  • Marines
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard

HOLIDAY GREETINGS

SELECT A HOLIDAY:

VIDEO ON DEMAND

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Flickr