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Opinion: Father’s second deployment harder than first

Bree Crye (right) and her father, Sgt. 1st Class Jon Crye Credit: Courtesy of Bree Crye

Bree Crye (right) and her father, Sgt. 1st Class Jon Crye
Credit: Courtesy of Bree Crye

This time it’s different.

My dad was deployed once before — back when I was in fifth grade. It was right in the thick of Operation Iraqi Freedom. At the time, I wasn’t too concerned. Sure, it sucked that my dad was away. It sucked that he missed my birthday, missed Christmas. My biggest concern at the time was how he wouldn’t be there the weekends I came to visit my soon-to-be stepmom and stepbrother. I barely ever got to speak to him — that was mostly over the Internet, and I didn’t know how to use it yet. I was, at the time, shrouded in a mist of ignorant bliss. I was 10 years old. I had no idea what was really going on, why my dad was away, what it all meant. But this time, I’m older. Wiser. Definitely more tech-savvy.

And that makes this deployment that much harder.

What I thought was months has now turned to days. I was confident that I had all the time in the world left with my dad before he left, but before I knew it, it’s come right around the corner. The countdown has begun and realization is only slowly sinking in. He’s leaving. He will be gone for a year, possibly longer.

He doesn’t talk much about it. I can’t disclose much about where he’s going or what he’ll be doing — but to be honest, I don’t even really know much about it anyway. The only details I’ve gotten so far have been from my stepmom, Lisa.

That’s another thing that’s different — Lisa.

Now that I’m older, she confides more in me. We’re definitely closer than when I was in elementary school. But she doesn’t hide it anymore — how scared she is. And that scares me.

With everything that’s been going on in the news with ISIS, it’s terrifying to think that my dad will be out there. And I have to admit, when it comes to that kind of stuff, I’m woefully uninformed. I tend to shy away from news reports on what is happening in that part of the world. Now that I am older, I understand it more. It’s so much more real than before. I don’t know what’s better: keeping up with what’s happening, or pretending like it isn’t happening at all. 

A part of me doesn’t want to know. I think it would be worse. Harder to cope with his being gone. Infinitely more stressed about all the “what-if’s” and “what-could’s.”

Sgt. 1st Class Jon Crye Credit: Courtesy of Bree Crye

Sgt. 1st Class Jon Crye
Credit: Courtesy of Bree Crye

Next year I plan to move back home instead of staying on campus. I tell people it’s because it’s too expensive, or that I just wasn’t able to find a new apartment, but that is not true. In reality, I’m moving back home to help out around the house. My little brother and sister definitely were not a part of the equation during my dad’s first deployment. My stepmom needs help watching the kids when she’s at work, and more than that, she needs someone to be with her at night, after the kids are asleep, and she starts to worry. Moral support — she needs it, I need it, and moving back home will allow both of us to have that. The rest of our family is in Toledo, so we only have each other close. 

So will the 30 minute commute be rough? Sure. Will balancing class, extracurriculars, watching my siblings and working to pay my own school bills be rough? Sure. It will be one heck of a senior year, but what I’ve learned is that family comes first, and I need to be home.

The hardest part of it all, though, is how much more dependent I am on my father now than when I was before. After the drama of high school and my rocky transition to college, my dad’s become my rock. I call him almost every day, every time I’m stressed out. He’s there. Sure, I’ll still be able to talk to him, but it will not be as often. He will not be able to be there every time that I need him.

So maybe I sound like I’m whining. I know that I am not the only person in the world who has a loved one out defending our country. But I am very proud of my father. I am proud of everything he has done to protect us and keep our country safe. I have so much respect for everything that the military does, for all the veterans that have dedicated themselves to that cause. But let’s also not forget their families. The fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and spouses that hold down the home front. They make sacrifices, too.

5 comments

  1. Bless your dad, you and your family. I hope he has a good deployment and comes home to you and your family safe and sound.

  2. You’re not whining. Yours is a real sacrifice, just like your father’s. It’s also one that many folks do not know about or have to face. You also deserve some thanks simply for writing this piece and letting others know this stuff can hit close to home.

    When I went to Saudi back in December, 1990, I found our unit’s mission (EPW transport) to be mostly a cake walk, but my parents, who weren’t there, had to wonder every day. They probably had it worse than I did!

    Take care and be proud,

    Karl
    Veteran, U.S. Army Reserve, 342d MP Co. (Escort Guard)

  3. Pardon me everyone. Just some housekeeping here:

    It’s 5:21pm and my comment is still being “moderated.” “Give Me a Break’s” comment was “moderated” (if at all) within two hours. Mine is taking over six.

    Will the Lantern please explain why the last six or seven of my comments take many hours and sometimes days to be posted? It is now beyond annoying. I would like an explanation.

    Now back to your regularly posted comments, minus mine, if and when they appear…

    Karl

  4. Beautifully written.

  5. Bree as a vet and a mom of a very accomplished buckeye alum let me tell you why I wouldn’t let you move back home….you need the college experience NOT babysitting kids and adults. I know I know you want to get close to them but you can do that on visits. I remember when Pan Am blew up and my family was worried we flew the next week from overseas on Pan Am!!! I watched too many of my child’s college friends become doormats and crutches for their families instead of a college student enjoying the experience. I NEVER was a crutch for my child even during health problems (bought a new car as gift for getting into OSU). Now my child is back home AFTER graduation and we have a ball (went to Vegas Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam etc about to cruise together). Thank you for caring for a soldier but take care of your YOUNG life!!!!!

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