To read more about the members of this unit, and how life on the homefront has changed, click here.
Brian Duffy was in training when his wife Marianna called to tell him she was pregnant. "He was in training almost my whole pregnancy, so I was by myself," Marianna says. Brian, who knew he would be deployed to Afghanistan almost as soon as he returned to Illinois, wanted so much to see his son when he was born that they asked the doctor to induce labor a week early. Brian had only two weeks with his son after his birth in November, and then another two weeks in December, before he deployed to Afghanistan this January.
After the baby was born, Marianna's mother came from Brazil to help. "It was hard, because it was my first baby, and I wanted my husband with me. And my mother doesn't drive here or speak English, so I was going by myself to doctor's appointments and Brian was so sad," Marianna says.
Marianna and the baby will move to Brazil to live with her parents while Brian is deployed. Because Marianna speaks only limited English, the baby will learn Portuguese and Brian is worried that he won't be able to communicate with his son when he returns. For Christmas, Marianna bought Brian books on learning Portuguese that he took with him to Afghanistan.
While Marianna supports her husband, she admits it's challenging to understand why he had to go. "I grew up in a country where we don't have war, so I don't understand why and I don't have the same feelings as Brian," she says. "I am proud, but I just want him back safe."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.