KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — With Father’s Day approaching, a few deployed soldiers are taking the time to reflect on their paternal bonds.
Although these fathers are thousands of miles away from home supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, the distance, they say, is not greater than the love they have for their biological, step and adopted children.
“Being a military father is hard because I’m not able to be there physically for my daughter all the time,” said Warrant Officer Mergeron Jones, the electronic warfare officer with the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, and Columbia, S.C., native. “Even though I’m gone a lot, I know she’s going to be proud of me when she grows up because she’ll understand that her dad did what he had to, to provide a better life for her.”
Jones is currently deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, and has a 2-year-old daughter named Genesis. He is serving alongside Sgt. Maj. Gregory Green, the 3rd Sustainment Brigade operations noncommissioned officer in charge. Like Jones, Green says he strives to make his children proud.
“Growing up my father wasn’t there,” said Green, a Forrest City, Ark., native. “He wasn’t around to show me how to be a man. So I knew that once I had my children I would be that role model for them; I’d be that male figure in their life to give them guidance.”
Green is the father of two boys, a biological 23-year-old and a 2-year-old child whom he and his wife adopted as an infant.
“My oldest son is from a previous relationship, and my wife and I wanted to have a child that we shared but unfortunately she couldn’t bear children,” said Green. “I wanted to give my wife the opportunity for her to be a mother, and for our family to feel complete, so we adopted our baby boy.
“Even though my wife didn’t give birth to our son, we don’t look at him as being adopted,” said Green. “We love him and raise him as if he was our biological child.”
Sgt. Marten Sentence, a training room clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, agrees that he doesn’t have to be the biological father to parent a child. Sentence, a Vero Beach, Fla., native, and his wife raise three boys. He’s the biological father to a 3- and 4-year-old and the stepfather to a 13-year-old child.
“I have been raising my oldest since he was 1 year old,” said Sentence. “I don’t look at him as my step-child; I look at him as my own flesh and blood. I’m the only father figure he knows. It doesn’t matter if your blood runs through a child or not; when you love and raise a child as your own, that’s all that matters in the end.”
All three soldiers say that responsible fatherhood is important for the well being of any child.
“The best part about being a parent is being a role model to my child,” said Jones. “I want to be the type of male role model that will have my daughter saying, ‘That’s the type of father I want my kids to have’ when she grows up.
“To me fatherhood means responsibility, it means being there to provide love, care and comfort to your child,” continued Jones. “It means making the necessary sacrifices to ensure that your child doesn’t go without.”
“Not only is it a responsibility to be a good parent, but it’s also an honor to be a good parent,” said Green.
||KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, AF
||COLUMBIA, SC, US
||FORREST CITY, AR, US
||FORT STEWART, GA, US
||VERO BEACH, FL, US
This work, Deployed soldiers share importance of responsible fatherhood, by SSG Tanjie Patterson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.