News: Hydra soldiers give hair in support of their own
Story by Capt. Jackie Wren
KABUL, Afghanistan – Task Force Hydra soldiers here showed support for Command Sgt. Maj. John E. Smiley’s wife Carolyn R. Smiley, who began her second chemotherapy treatment session this week in Georgia.
Members of the Columbus-based unit shaved their heads in support of Carolyn who had to do so because of the treatment.
A resident of Ludowici, Carolyn was diagnosed with breast cancer over Veteran’s Day weekend this past year and has been undergoing cancer treatment since. While fighting her battle with cancer back at home, her husband has deployed here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“This is great and unreal,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Smiley of the support shown by the 648th soldiers. “I never expected this much support, it’s overwhelming.”
Members of Task Force Hydra are spread throughout all of Kabul due to their mission of command and control of the seven camps within the Kabul base cluster. Soldiers from all across the area of operation participated in the act of solidarity.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Angela A. Belding, the billeting officer for Camp Eggers, is one of the soldiers who headed to the barber’s chair to cut it all off.
“You know all of us at Eggers always rally together as a team,” said Belding on why she made the decision to cut her hair. “I’ve known Carolyn and sergeant major for a long time now and I gave her a call today.”
Belding was also motivated to participate because of the cancer she’s witnessed through members of her own family, including her mother who she lost to lung cancer.
“There’s been a lot of cancer in my family,” Belding said. “It’s hard when the biggest cheerleader in your life is gone.”
Not all members of the unit were able to support through cutting their hair but were able to show their love in other ways.
A three foot wooden breast cancer ribbon was created and signed by members of the unit with kind words to send back to Carolyn.
In response to Facebook photos of the soldiers who had participated and the comments of support for her, Carolyn wrote: “I have to say this brought tears to my eyes. We are so blessed to have this much support. You guys are the best. And it's so cold over there! I know how cold my head gets now. Keep your hats on! Much love to all of you.”