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My Mommy or Daddy is Deployed Part 2 

Joy Hollowell

Since 2001, 3,100 Maine soldiers have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror.Currently, there are two units in the Middle East.The 172nd Mountain Infantry Battalion stationed near the Pakistsan border and the 1136th Transportation Company in Afghanistan.Joy Hollowell sat down with a group of children whose fathers are with the 1136th.They shared some very candid thoughts on what its like when daddy is deployed.=========Deployment isn’t anything new for kids of the 1136th Transportation Company. Richard Elefson was young the first time his dad shipped out.The 13-year old says this time around, it was easier.”Because I knew what to expect. And I knew he wouldn’t be gone forever,” says Elefson.Things were a little tougher for his younger brother, 8-year old William.”It’s really hard and there’s a lot of crying in the house,” says William Elefson.This is the third deployment for 10-year old Cheyenne Davis, but unlike Richard, Cheyenne says “it gets harder and harder every month.”Members of the 1136th left in March.11-year old Jacquie Bergeron remembers the day vividly.”You talk, and you hug and you tell them that it’s going to be really soon that he’s going to be back,” says Bergeron. “And you’re going to cry a little bit, but it will get easier.”While the men are away, the kids do their best to keep dad around, or should I say flat.”We’ve taken him to some concerts that I’ve done because I play the flute,” says Richard Elefson. “And we took him to the apple picking.”This deployment is especially tough because the soldiers will gone through the holidays.”We won’t have him to set up the train around the tree. And darn that he won’t be here for Thanksgiving,” says William Elefson.There are other milestones these dads will miss…like 5-year old Tala learning how to ride a bike for the first time.”So when Daddy comes home, he’s going to see you riding a bike, isn’t he?”(tala nods head yes)”My uncle has to take me hunting,” says Bergeron, “and I’m probably going to have another one of my uncles take me to the father-daughter dance.”Everyone here has their own way of coping with the void.Cheyenne, William and Jacqui often wear their dad’s shirts.” Yeah, because then it takes it off of my mind and then I don’t have to really have to worry as much,” says William Elefson. “And I don’t wanna share stuff that smells like Dad with Richard.”And even through there is still some time before the company comes home, the plans are already in place.”The first day he gets home, and the next day that he’s sleeping, I’ll wake up very early and cook breakfast for him in bed,” says Andrew Bergeron.”I’m going to ask him to play WII with me,” says William Elefson.”Oh, probably go bowling, maybe go-carting,” says Richard Elefson.”Ask him if he wants to watch Mythbusters with me, cause he loves that show,” says Jacquie Bergeron.”Me and my sisters are going to jump on top of him. And then we’re going to watch movies with him.And throw popcorn at him,” says Cheyenne and Savannah Davis.”+++++If you’d like more information on the programs available to military kids and their families, contact the Military Family Assistance Center.It’s a 24-hour toll free number, 1-888-356-9287 or log onto www.me.ngb.army.mil/family/ Your text to link…