ILLESHEIM, Germany— Currently deployed together in Europe, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Noah Day and Spc. Tanesha Day reflect on life in the Army during Month of the Military Child which recognizes the important role our children play within the military community.
When a parent serves in the military, their children serve right alongside them.
With six combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and multiple other training rotations, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Noah Day and his family know a lot about personal sacrifice and what it means to serve.
Noah joined the Army back in 1998, six days after getting married.
“We were young,” reflected Noah, now a UH-60 Blackhawk pilot and aviation materiel officer with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. “I was 19, we were married and we had a kid on the way. So, I decided to be an adult and join the Army.”
He said that while joining the Army was ultimately a great decision for his family, it came with its challenges. Leaving the kids for long periods was never easy.
“When the kids are younger it wasn’t quite as hard,” Noah said. “But, when they get older, not having dad in the picture is difficult on them. Missing life events and relying on mom to take care of everything is tough.”
Spc. Tanesha Day says she remembers her dad leaving for months on end and always cherished the days when he would come home.
“I definitely remember taking him to the hangar in the middle of the night to leave and then nine months later going back to watch him get off the airplane with all his stuff,” said Tanesha, now a U.S. Army 25B Information Technology Specialist with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. “My happiest memories were always when he would come home and we would all be together again.”
Tanesha described the obstacles she faced as a military child but said that growing up this way made her more resilient.
“I liked being an Army kid, but seeing my mom sad while he was gone was difficult,” Tanesha remembers. “I liked moving around, but it was hard to say goodbye to friends after growing relationships and getting close to others.”
“I feel like you learn to be independent going through all this,” she stated. “You don’t have to rely on people because you have always pretty much been by yourself.”
“Moving schools was also hard because it would mess up your credits,” Tanesha said. “That plus constantly having to be the new person was always a struggle.”
“She went to three different schools in three different states during her junior year,” Noah remembered.
“I had just come back from a deployment and we were moving from Fort Drum to Fort Campbell and had to attend a course en route,” he said. “My wife said ‘no, we are coming with you.’ So they came with me down to Fort Rucker.”
“We lived together in a hotel for two months. The bus would pick the kids up for school right there outside the hotel. After a couple of months, we left there to move up to Fort Campbell.”
“None of the schools would put me in real classes because they said I wasn’t going to be there long enough.” Tanesha elaborated. “They just put me in random art and history classes because we left Drum in September and did not leave Rucker until December.”
“So, she really didn’t get established in a school until January,” echoed Noah.
Fast forward a decade or so and the two are now serving together as Soldiers and teammates.
Tanesha said being deployed away from her son has been difficult.
“But having my dad here makes me feel more comfortable,” she said.
“There is nobody else I’d rather be deployed with,” Noah said with the smile of a proud papa.
Both Day’s agreed that celebrating the Month of the Military Child is incredibly important and something that means a lot to both of them.
“Our kids sacrifice so much,” said Noah with a quiver in his chin. “They really do.”
“It is a unique experience,” said Tanesha. “A lot of people don’t understand what it is like to pack up, move and restart every three years.”
Tanesha said her dad has always been an inspiration and that she has always been so proud of everything he has done with his life.
“He has accomplished more than anyone in our family and I look up to him so much,” she said. “Dad takes care of everything.”
Ultimately she decided to follow in Noah’s footsteps and and enlist. Now a parent herself she chose this as a way to carve out a life for her and her son.
“I had a kid and didn’t have a plan for my life, so I joined the Army.” She said as she wiped her eyes. “I honestly didn’t even think I would make it, but now I have been in over three years.
“She grew up,” beamed Noah.
The Army has been so beneficial for me,” said Tanesha.
“She made the hard decision to tell her kid goodbye to make a better life for her kid,” Noah said. Something he knows about all too well.
Tanesha hopes to someday become an officer and she plans to continue to serve. “Even though there are really challenging times, overall the Army has benefitted my life,” she stated.
It was evident during the conversation that the pair have been through a lot over Noah’s 20+ years of service. But by leaning on each other and focusing on the ones they love, their family continues to thrive.
Noah wrapped everything up beautifully by saying, “Family is the only thing that matters in the end.”