Group helps military spouses cope with deployments


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Tara Crooks had a room full of women nodding their heads in understanding when she shared a story Thursday about finding friends after moving to yet another Army post with her husband.

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Medie Ledbetter, 30, reacts during the Army Wife Network program at Fort Gordon.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Medie Ledbetter, 30, reacts during the Army Wife Network program at Fort Gordon.

The story was just one among many as Crooks and her co-founder of Army Wife
Network, Star Henderson, gave advice and encouragement during a presentation to about 140 military spouses at Fort Gordon.

It was a chance to bond after a decade of war left many women back home single moms for a year or longer.

Henderson said during a lunch break that these types of story-sharing experiences are going to be crucial as families re-adjust to a new normal following multiple deployments.

The openness shared among all the ranks and services during this period needs to be maintained, she said.

“I don’t want to go back to walls being built up,” Henderson said.

Lori Branch and her family had some practice with separation in the 1990s when her husband, Lt. Col. David Branch, was sent to Korea. But it didn’t take away the sting when he deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Branch has learned that “it’s all about perspective.”

“This is the life we’ve chosen,” she said.

Mother-to-be Sara Dec has been married two years and her separation from husband Staff Sgt. Danny Dec has been limited to six week stretches.

She married into the Army with multiple preconceptions, but “it’s nothing like I thought,” she said.

Thursday’s “field exercise” gave her new contacts at Fort Gordon and resources she can turn to when that deployment arrives.

“It’s nice to have friends who have given me a heads up” about what to expect, Dec said.

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avidreader 03/02/12 - 07:05 am
Hopefully, our nation will

Hopefully, our nation will pull out of Afghanistan soon, and many of these women can settle into civilian life once again.

I appreciate the comment by Mrs. Branch -- "This is the life we've chosen". Many articles about Army wives that I have read over the years portray young women who are freaked out by the constant upheaval of their family lives. It's as if their security and the sense-of- community of army life trumped the reality of the true nature of the job.

Tara and Star, I tip my proud civilian hat to you. My Army-wife mother would have also praised your efforts.

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