News: Currahees stay connected on Mother’s Day
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Each day begins much like the last for the Task Force Currahee soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, who observed Mother’s Day though continents away from their own mothers and children while deployed to Paktika province, Afghanistan.
While the Currahees are active in the fight, each uses various communication channels to stay connected to their mothers and children.
“I stay connected with my mother and daughter through e-mail and morale phone calls,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Monica M. Baker, the personnel officer-in-charge from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and native of Tampa, Fla. “I also send letters and cards to my daughter. We often forget how exciting it is to receive a letter in the mail. My daughter loves to check the mail, and gets so excited when she sees a card from mommy with her name on it.”
“I call and e-mail my mom and my kids,” said U.S. Army Spc. Geraline Duenas, the training room non-commissioned officer from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th BCT, and native of Maloglog, Guam.
Even the tradition of buying a gift for one’s mother had not been neglected.
“I had flowers sent to my mother,” said U.S. Army Capt. Heather R. Hernadez, an assistant operations officer from 801st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th BCT, and native of Columbus, Ohio.
“I ordered my mother and my step-mother a gift online,” said Baker. “I will probably get a little something for myself also.”
Soldiers did take a moment though, to reflect on the sentiment of Mother’s Day.
“Mother’s Day gives us all an opportunity to remember, reflect and be thankful for all the things our mothers have done and sacrificed for us throughout our lives,” said U.S. Army Sgt. James A. Royce, an intelligence analyst from HHC, 4th BCT, and native of Bozeman, Mont.
“I have a more significant appreciation for my mother and the things that she did for me, now that I, myself, have become a mom,” said Hernandez.
“This day is special because moms work hard, and this is one day we can have to feel special and appreciated for all the love we give the rest of the year,” said Duenas.
While soldiers thoughts are filled with memories of their mothers or their children, all continue to remain focused on the mission at hand in Afghanistan. Many find inspirational correlation between the meaning behind the holiday and what they are experiencing while deployed to Paktika province.
“Being so far away from my mom makes me miss her more,” said Royce. “It makes it difficult to stay connected with not only her, but also the rest of my family. It helps me remember each day how important my family is to me, which is something my mother worked hard to instil in me.”
“My son is 11-months old. and I know won’t remember me being gone,” said Hernandez. “I keep a notebook of letters for him that I write about the things I am doing here so that someday maybe he will be able to understand. Being a mother is a new thing for me but it definitely changed how I look at people, U.S. and Afghan alike. I now think about how every person was once a child, one that someone looked into their eyes and fell in love, and if I can do my job that will keep someone’s child safe and on their way back home, that is what I am going to keep working for. This is what I hope to articulate for my son.”
“I have mixed feelings about being separated from my daughter during this Mother’s Day,” said Baker. “It is painful being away from my daughter, especially since she is not at an age where she can understand why I have to leave her for awhile; however, I do find strength knowing that our time apart has not been in vain.”
“I know that I am setting an example for my daughter everyday,” said Duenas.”I am proud of being a military mom, with a daughter who wants to be just like mommy, serving her country just like mommy.”