To read more about the members of this unit, and how life on
the homefront has changed, click
While other soldiers tearfully held
onto young children before deploying to Afghanistan, Eliece
Soebbing happily sat on the floor in her fatigues watching her
1-year-old daughter crawl and laugh. "I'm in total denial," Eliece
Even though she knew that within hours she would be leaving her
daughter for 13 months, Eliece chose to focus on the positive. She
knows she'll miss some important moments as a mom, but she's glad
she was there to see her baby's first tooth and her first tentative
And Eliece keeps reminding herself that the separation will be
much harder on mom than on baby-Madelyn won't even remember the
deployment when she is older.
Eliece's mom, Monica, says her daughter struggled when she first
found out she would be deployed.
"She asked if she was being selfish for being excited about the
deployment and leaving the responsibility of child care to her
husband and parents," Monica says. "We told her that she's not the
one being selfish, that military members like her who are willing
to make this sacrifice for the rest of us make what we do at home
to help them out peanuts."
Eliece's family draws comfort from knowing that the medical unit
she deployed with is filled with good, compassionate soldiers.
"They support each other and you can tell they care about each
other," Monica says. "They'll bring each other home."
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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