SALT LAKE CITY - The sun had not yet risen and snow was lightly falling as Liz Brown watched her husband board the bus Jan. 9.

This didn't keep Brown or members of several other families from saying a final farewell to their son, daughter, parent, or spouse before the Army Reserve soldiers of the 395th Financial Management Company left Fort Douglas, Utah, bound for Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I feel confident; I feel he's doing a great service for our country," Brown said. "And I feel good everything's going to work out well and in a year, he'll get to come home."

To make the days go by faster, Brown and her husband, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Brown, started a list of goals to accomplish together while he's away, such as working on a service project and even learning some Spanish.

Brown admitted she'll miss all the little things in their young marriage, and that the toughest part will be learning to be away from each other.

"A positive and optimistic attitude, I think, is the best way to handle these situations," she said.

More than 50 soldiers of the 395th boarded the two buses. Half the soldiers will be serving in Iraq; half will be in Afghanistan.

When a soldier deploys, his or her family has to alter their lifestyle at home.

Barbara Jansson is taking care of her two granddaughters, ages three and five, while her daughter, Pvt. Ynez Veenstra, is deployed for the first time.

Jansson said she's scared to let her daughter go overseas and her girls will miss their mom, but "[Veenstra] is striving to move forward with her life to benefit all of them, herself and her girls."

Sarah Bennett, wife of Sgt. Gregory Bennett, tries to focus on the benefits as well.

"There's also a lot of good that will come from it for our family," she said. "For one, we'll actually be better financially, so that is helping our family out."

She said it's a good opportunity to grow as a family and be there for her two sons, ages two and eight.

"It will give [us] some one-on-one time," she said.

The toughest part of any deployment for a soldier is the separation from his or her family.

"This is the first deployment I've spent away from my son, so that will definitely be the hardest part. And being away from my wife," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Rusch.

"It's the second time he's deployed and you think every time it's going to get easier, but it doesn't," said Rusch's wife, Marianne Rusch.

Other soldiers said they felt the same way.

"It's different this time going over because I was single before, and now this time I'm going over and I'm married, so I have a family to worry about back home," said Sgt. Nathan Stevens.
Though deployment can bring fear and worry to military families, the family members of the 395th are staying hopeful.

"I trust he's in good hands and I know what he's doing," said Stevens' sister, Amy Jones. "I feel confident he'll come back, along with all the rest of [the soldiers]. And I believe in the Army."




Pfc. Kayla F. Benson is a journalist assigned to the 358th Public Affairs Detachment, Salt Lake City.

Page last updated Thu January 27th, 2011 at 16:23