News: Siblings vote to send both parents to war
Story by Staff Sgt. William Watson Martin
By Watson Martin
311th Sustainment Command
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – The kids were given a choice to have one parent at a time deployed or to have both deployed together.
Now mom and dad push through the summer in 120-plus degree heat coupled with blinding dust storms in the deserts of Kuwait – granted most work is done indoors or at night – as Soldiers with the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).
However, nothing keeps the dust and sand out; you breathe it; you smell it; you can't avoid it. The married couple keeps the doors to their separate rooms shut tight.
The father, Master Sgt. Dave Lantz, is a staff movement supervisor as an active duty reservist with the 311th ESC headquartered in West Los Angeles.
Overseas, Master Sgt. Lantz monitors the movement of personnel and convoys to ensure they move as efficiently as possible throughout the theater of operations to include Kuwait and Iraq.
Just across from his cubicles stand the "pirates" of the 311th ESC, the logistics section. The group coined their nickname to create team spirit, fortitude and a slice of humor to their deployment.
"I take care of everything from printer cartridges to furniture for over 6,000 troops here in Kuwait," said Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Lantz. "It's no easy task to fairly distribute all the treasure."
Rebecca serves as both a part-time reservist and department of defense civilian employee for the 419th Combat Service Support Battalion out of Irvine, California.
Master Sgt. Lantz – with 21 years of service – plans to retire in another four years once his wife meets her 20 years qualifying her for retirement.
"We plan on taking a long vacation," he said. "Not to mention the one after this deployment."
"It's been hard on my 14-year-old son, David, who had to switch to a new school before we mobilized," he said. "My 17-year-old daughter Samantha seems to be doing well at her new home; she has her sights set on the University of Nebraska – Omaha."
"The hardest part was implementing our family care plan," said Rebecca. She has a 12-year-old son, Justin, and an older son Jeff in the Army.
The three younger siblings, along with their cat and dog, were scattered to different parts of the country due to the dual deployment, but all four brothers and sisters minus the cat will come together this summer to spend time with their grandmother, Command Sgt. Maj. Ruth Schuster – Sgt. 1st Class Lantz's mom who lives in Omaha.
"Jeff will deploy to Iraq in January with an Army Reserve military police detachment out of Iowa," said Sgt. 1st Class Lantz. "I'm going to be here waiting for him when he passes through."
The trials of being deployed together and working together go along for better or for worse.
"We have folks here who are envious of our situation but also know it's not always sunshine," said the wife. At first it was expected a married couple could share a room but this didn't turn out to be the case, she said.
The military tries to accommodate military couples deployed together to share a room but the waiting list is so long that currently a room won't become available until January – two months before heading home.
However, at the end of the day it is nice to be able to have someone you love to talk to face to face, said the husband.
The couple's wedding anniversary is June 17th.