Delaware's National Guard and Air Guard Members: Serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait
Delaware’s heroes are not just the ones deployed overseas. The others are holding down the forts at home.
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Beers’ duties include security details that escort VIPs to surrounding areas. Carrying his M-4 carbine, he is the only one of the six Delawareans assigned to the Mississippi Guard unit who sometimes goes “outside the wire.” That exposes him to potential attack from the infamous IEDs (improvised explosive devices), although he usually rides in a 20-ton MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle). He says he has been ordered not to comment on whether he has ever been under attack.
Beers jokes that his wife threatened to break his legs if he ever volunteered again, but he knows her support is unconditional. Says Cherise, “I really miss him, but I would stand behind him if he decided to do it again.”
Vincent Orlando’s wife, Liza, is a major in the Air Force Reserve, with 22 years of
service as a trained combat medic, so she would seem better equipped than most wives to handle her husband’s deployment. On the contrary, she says, “Because of my training, I know what can happen when he’s en route from point A to point B. It’s a different perspective, so you worry a lot more. But you also respect what he’s doing, because that’s what we do, that’s what we train for.”
She misses the man who calls her “General,” or “Princess,” especially at night, “when everything quiets down, even if he falls asleep on the couch. And he makes my coffee every morning. I miss that. And his smile; he’s always smiling.”
According to Capt. Andrew Werner, a chaplain with the Delaware National Guard, the Department of Defense recently has increased its programs for military families. Through the DOD’s Yellow Ribbon Programs, Werner says, “There is support before, during and after deployment in a litany of different areas—psychological and financial counseling, employment assistance, events for families while their spouses are deployed.”
He says most complaints from deployed personnel stem from lack of privacy and home issues. “The home issues are heightened by Facebook and other social media, which today’s military personnel are really into. It’s a morale builder when things are going well, but communications is a two-edged sword. A soldier may see something on Facebook that upsets him, and it’s tough when he’s thousands of miles away.”
Page 5: Standing Guard, continues...