Liberty Sustainers has quite the 'family affair'
May 15, 2009
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Bamberg, Germany's 317th Maintenance Company has several Soldiers with Family members in theater - sharing the hardship and experience of their deployment together. The Hernandez Family Staff Sgt. Emilo Hernandez, an operations noncommissioned officer and a native of Immokalee, Fla., is deployed with his brother, Sgt. Maj. Santiago J. Hernandez. Santiago is currently based at Forward Operating Base Summerall with the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Santiago, an Infantryman and also a native of Immokalee, Fla., is the battalion operations noncommissioned officer in charge. "Being in the military, for both of us, is like a roller coaster. When we talk on the phone, being far apart is easy. However, getting together at home is a battle for even the best of NCOs. Sometimes our biggest disputes are about who is going to do what and who is better," Emilio said. "Now that we are serving together in Iraq, it has brought us closer than ever. Even though we have our differences at home, here we stick together." Other Soldiers find it more difficult leaving their Family with other Family members stateside. The Bishop Family Deployed to Victory Base Complex, Sgt, Deeann Bishop and her spouse share the benefit being on deployment together but the hardest is leaving their son with Family. A challenge - both Deeann, a native of Flagstaff, Ariz., and a small arms & artillery repairer, and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bishop, a tracked vehicle mechanic with the Forward Support Company, 54th Engineer Battalion, and a Campbellsville, Ky. native - face together. While having different missions, they are able to spend at least one day during the week catching up. The Johnson Family For Pfc. Steffen Johnson, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 317th and native of Carthage, N.Y., on his first deployment to Iraq had quite the experience. Six months into his deployment, Johnson's father, Staff Sgt. John Johnson, a Moses Lake, Wash., native, and a forward observer with the 1st Corps, came walking through the company area looking for the younger Johnson. "It's great to have someone close while deployed. It definitely makes the time go by faster and gives me a reason to look forward to the weekends," said the younger Johnson after spending some time with his father. Deployments are never easy and being separated from Families can be stressful. But for some, Soldier's deployed with a sibling, a parent or spouse can be a "family affair".