By U.S. ArmyAugust 5, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, has reached the half way point in its current deployment to Iraq. Family Members, led by Courtney Sierra, wife of Cottonbaler Commander Lt. Col. Gregory Sierra, along with rear detachment Soldiers and Families, celebrated this milestone with a picnic and afternoon of fun at Fort Stewart's Holbrook Pond, July 30.
"Today, we're celebrating the half-way point in this deployment," Courtney Sierra explained. "We're also celebrating our 'deployment babies,' those babies that(who) were born just before, during, or soon-to-be born while their dads are deployed. We've got a special gift bag for each new mom - one for boys and one for girls."
Two of the new moms took a sneak peak at the gift bags and the tiny diaper displays on the table next to the bags. Patricia Wick, wife of Spc. Derek Wicks, F Co., 2/7 Inf., proudly held her big boy, 7-month-old Liam, as did Heather Johnson, wife of Spc. Michael Johnson, B Co., 2/7 Inf., with her 3-month-old Rachel.
"Each bag contains baby clothes, a tiny quilt or Afghan, powder, lotion - everything but diapers," Sierra said. "We have diapers, but the moms have to tell us what size they need."
Even before the crowd began to gather for the afternoon event, Staff Sgt. Randy Stone, D Co., 2/7 Inf., had already fired up the grill and was soon cooking hamburgers and hotdogs. Other entrees, side dishes and desserts were brought by Family Members, making the event like one big Family picnic.
While the burgers were cooking, children played on the assortment of playground equipment now part of the newly renovated Holbrook Recreation Area. Sergeant Michael Briggs tried to help his 4-year-old daughter Macaya figure out what all the knobs and buttons were for on one of the playground sets, while Tori Chrysler, 13, tried to help Daniel Ortiz, 5, create a shaped bubble at the Bubble Fun Zone. Other children waited in line at the water faucet for a chance to make a water balloon.
A few Soldiers and older children ignored the nearly 100 degree temperature and quickly worked up a sweat shooting hoops on the basketball court next to the pavilion. Specialist Jon Bezzone, B Co., 2/7 Inf., took time to make a few casts in the lake. After only three or four casts, he landed a keeper-size bass, which he didn't keep but released after offering it to his fishing buddy.
Sierra said the 'half way there' picnic was a great way to bring the unit together for an afternoon of fun while reminding spouses they had made it this far with support from each other and that support would continue until their loved one is safely back home six months from now.