CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- One of the hardest things for Soldiers and their families to endure during a deployment is the separation from loved ones. The physical distance and time zone difference make it difficult for family members to keep in touch and stay connected.
But in Camp Arifjan, the recently deployed U.S. Army Reserve 452nd Combat Support Hospital out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has brought an unusual duo with them: a mother and daughter serving together in the same unit. Maj. Lisa Van Horn is the chief of patient administration at the 452nd Combat Support Hospital and her daughter, Pfc. Jenna Van Horn, is a pharmacy specialist with the same unit.
When the Soldiers of the 452nd Combat Support Hospital first began preparing for their deployment to Kuwait, Jenna was not supposed to go overseas with the unit because she was still progressing through her Initial Entry Training.
"It wasn't until perhaps three weeks before we deployed there was a need to have pharmacy technicians fill some vacant slots that we had, so they reached out to my daughter while she was at AIT," said Lisa.
Lisa also said while it was strange at first seeing her daughter while the 452nd Combat Support Hospital went through the pre-deployment process at Fort Hood, she was excited to know her daughter would have the opportunity to serve with a great team of Soldiers.
Serving other Soldiers in a medical role is not an unfamiliar experience for Lisa, but this deployment to Kuwait is Jenna's first chance to perform her job as a pharmacy specialist and her first time overseas.
"Pharmacy technicians, for everyone it's a pretty important role, because without medications you could get sick and you can't perform your duties so you're kind of just there, you're not helping with your mission here," said. "So getting you those medications is pretty vital to make sure you're well enough to perform your job."
When the mother and daughter duo are not at work keeping other Soldiers health,y they like to spend their free time together: seeing movies, working out at the gym, playing bingo, and having lunch together almost daily, said Jenna.
Lisa and Jenna's time together at Camp Arifjan is not the only distinctive family situation they have experienced on this deployment. On their flight from the United States to Kuwait, their plane made a stop at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and they saw Lisa's brother who is stationed there.
"We got about four hours on the ground before we were wheels up again, but it was a great time," said Lisa. "I hadn't seen him in a couple years and it's funny how the Army works and it actually gave us that little slice of opportunity for family time."
While the Van Horn family's circumstances are not common in military life, they showcase the special opportunities that can happen in the U.S. Army.