A little faith got them through deployment
May 14, 2014
NATICK, Mass. (May 14, 2014) -- Carla Bullock has always had a unique bond with her youngest son, Sgt. Seth Bullock.
"All my children are special," said Carla, "but that's my baby boy."
So when Seth deployed with the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y., to Iraq in August 2006 for 15 months, Carla leaned heavily on her Southern Baptist faith.
"Because I did not know whether he would come home or not," she explained. "There were nights I worried. If it was not for my faith, I don't think I could have done it."
As Mother's Day 2014 approached, Carla and Seth recently took time out to look back on that time of uncertainty in their lives and how they got through it. Seth's career path actually began during his boyhood in Bainbridge, Ga.
"My father had served and he retired from the military," said Carla of Seth's grandfather. "And it was just something that Seth always talked about. He always talked about the Army, and we always encouraged him and told him it was an honor to serve his country. That's what he wanted, so that's what he did."
Seth, the youngest of a blended family of seven children, was born 10 minutes later than his twin sister, Erin. When Seth decided to enlist in 2005, he had his mother's full support.
"One of the hardest things I've done, but one of the proudest things I've done," Carla said. "When one of your children knowingly puts himself in harm's way, that's hard."
Carla said that it was also difficult for Erin.
"It was hard on everybody, but it was the hardest on Erin," Carla said. "It was hard on both of them being separated. It just tore her up. They are still, to this day, extremely close."
When he deployed to Iraq, Seth did his best to keep bad news from his mother when they connected through email, phone calls or letters.
"I'd keep what was going on in Iraq … I'd keep that to myself," Seth recalled. "We didn't want to, I guess, upset each other. We'd stay focused on the mission, and she'd stay focused on the things going on back home."
It was only recently that Carla learned that Seth had survived an IED attack on his convoy on July 1, 2007 -- the day he was promoted to specialist.
"He wanted to protect me," she said. "I would have rather known."
Seth said that he thinks she found out last summer, when he discovered that he would need surgery to repair fractures at the top of his spine, which may or may not have resulted from the explosion.
While Seth was deployed, Carla looked in on his wife, Jayme, and their children.
"They serve, too. They've sacrificed an awful lot," Carla said. "I think the one thing that I learned was to let him depend on his wife, more so than me."
Seth, who is now assigned to the Operational Forces Interface Group at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, said that, like his mom, his faith helped him through his deployment.
"I grew up in the church," said Seth, adding that it "helps you get through things."
And then there was Seth's mother and their close connection.
"She was always there for me," Seth said. "She always sent me care packages and stuff like that."
Carla had worried that when her son came home from war, he would be a changed man. Was he?
"A little bit, but not much," she said. "He seems to value things a little bit more."