By Pfc. Bradley J. Clark
4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ, Iraq— While some mothers may be waking up to breakfast in bed and gifts from their children on Mother's Day, there are many that can't be with their families on the special holiday.
One of those separated mothers is Sgt. Michael McKiel, a common ground station non-commissioned officer-in-charge, A Company, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and a mother of two who is currently serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She prepared for deployment after she gave birth to her son, Anthony, and joined her husband, Warrant Officer Fred McKeil, targeting officer for the 4th BCT, in Iraq, February 2007.
"Although I had to leave our youngest one at the age of three months, I think that it was hardest leaving our 3-year-old," she said. "He knew what he was losing when we left. He is too young to understand why we had to leave, but old enough to understand that we were going to be gone for a long time."
At times, it can be extremely difficult on a mother to be separated from her children.
"Sometimes it is excruciatingly painful knowing how much of their lives that we are missing," she said. "Our oldest son just had his third birthday, and our youngest will have his first birthday, and both my husband and I will not be able to be there with them.
"I know what I signed up for when I joined the military," she said. "I have absolutely no regrets about what I have done or what I am doing. I firmly believe that the Army has given me more opportunities to do things with my life than I could have ever imagined."
Being in Iraq can be difficult for people, but McKiel believes that her sacrifice is for a good cause.
"I want our sons to know that the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my entire life was leave them to come to Iraq," she said. "But I firmly believe in what we are doing over here, and I believe that we are making people's lives infinitely better."
The McKiel's plan on taking their rest and relaxation together in August to see their children. They are also looking forward to redeploying with the unit early next year.
This work, Mother's love stretches half-way 'round world, by SPC Bradley Clark, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.