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March 31st, 2010
09:00 AM ET

A Soldier's Story: Mom prepares for Army life

Editor's Note: From the home front to the front lines, we're following one recruit's journey in our American Morning original series "A Soldier's Story." Today, we have something civilians almost never see – one woman, a wife and mom, getting ready for her first days of Army life.

(CNN) – Right now, women make up about about 14 percent of the active Army. Many of those women are also mothers. As you are about to see, some face special challenges dealing with the realities of military life.

Filed under: A Soldier's Story • Military
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Ashley

    I was reading through a lot of the comments and couldn't help but notice people making the statement of why her husband didn’t join instead of her and why is he ok with her being in the line of fire instead of him. I still can't believe the public's view on women/mothers being in the military. Why is it that everyone thinks that the men have to make the sacrifices and make the money for the family when women are more than capable of making their own?

    I graduated on Apr 8th, 2010 from the same company that she will be going to and I am a married mother of 4 myself and yet I made the sacrifice of leaving my family for 5 months to better not only my life, but my families as well. It was hard, but it was worth every minute I was gone. Not only am I bettering my life and my career, but I am bettering things for my family by offering them things that we couldn't have done prior to me joining the military. Not everyone is cut out for the military life nor does everyone have the drive that it takes to take that step and succeed. So instead of criticizing her joining instead of her husband, support her in her strength to leave her family and make the choice to serve her country.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:17 am |
  2. Lee

    Why would a healthy young man that i saw in this interview be training his wife to go off in the miltary when he should be the one taking the lead. He was sitting their like he was all torn up talking about her sacrifice, when he should be the one making the sacrifice. What i see is not love, because it you truly love your wife and child you should be the one that is putting your life on the line for your family. What are you planning to do with your life while your wife is making sacrifices, are you going to go to school, are you going to get a job. What plan do you have, you should not allow your wife to cry one tear because she is leaving her daughter, it should be you. Be a man and grow up and assume the responsibility of manhood. I think that as your wife matures she will resent you for not being the one to say not you, but let me lead and provide for my family. There is a hero in this picture and it is definetely not the husband, you should be ashame.

    April 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  3. Sean

    Martin, I hope you realize what you are saying. As a former Army Infantryman, we certainly appreciate our brothes in arms in the United States Marine Corps. Bud it's no fun to be shot at I can promise you that. If you choose to join the corps, learn of some of the battles they have fought through. From Khe Sahn, to Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Tarawa and so on. And please learn to spell corps not core. I'm not making fun of you but bro It will be one less thing a Marine DI will "Educate" you on.. Good luck my friend and God bless

    April 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  4. jason

    she is the one with the dream. If its not his dream then I would not want him in the Army anyways.

    April 12, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
  5. Martin Garlinski

    If she makes It In to the army I hope she survives.Oh when I turn 22 Im going to join the U.S Marine corps and im going to be a Infantry man and Im going to be in the active duty and go threw every u.s Marine rank ,Im planing to be in the United states Marine core for 40 years.

    April 12, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Sean

    I must say after watching her video a few times, just to make sure I heard correctly, it does seem that her husband has not found work. He certainly does not have to join the military to prove anything to anybody, but I started working at a "real" job when I was 14 and a half years old. I had to get a work permit (required in Oklahoma at that age) so I could work at Hardee's. I did this because my father told me he would help me get a car, but I would pay the loan note, gas, and insurance or I'd be walking. I also did this while going to school, football practice and other school related activities. I work with several single mothers and a few single fathers that are raising their children for one reason or another. We are federal workers (for the Air Force) and some have another job on the side. Latricia I'm very proud of you for your decision but please, please be sure this is what you want. I'ts no guarantee of a financial security blanket. Military housing requires a long waiting list not to mention deployment. Don't get me wrong, I sincerely hope and pray that you will be satisfied with your decision and I don't mean to sound like I'm being critical against your husband, but in most cases especially in todays world with children it takes two incomes. I hope nothing but the best for you both and your baby girl....God bless

    April 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  7. Sean

    I hope for her sake that she can get ready to deal without having her child around.Their hometown of Columbus, Georgia brings back many memories for me as I went to boot at Ft. Benning, as an Infantryman. I was 17 and homesick as hell the first two weeks, I'm from Oklahoma. I can't imagine what will go through her mind, when she calls home and like her mother said, hearing her child cry for her. All the while the DI's will be "reminding the boots to hurry and get off the phone" we had 5 mins on Sunday during the first phase. When I heard her say in the video she wasn't ready my first thoughts were consider the Air Force, I'm a civillian Air Force jet engine mechanic and I see alot of women in the Air Force who are single mothers and the Air Force has great benefits to help them. Not to say the other branches don't, for I'm sure they do, as they care about their own also. I have to agree with Cann on the judgements being handed down. No matter what the reason he isn't signing up doesn't mean he's week. It was her choice, what about the men out there that are married to women who are firefighters, or cops? I as an Army vet myself, I hope that she strongly considers what she and her husband are getting ready to go through. Maybe if she has time before she leaves, she should go stay with a relative or a friend for two weeks with one 5 min phone call on sunday, I think that would be a good simulation for both of them... But anyway God bless and good luck..Sean

    April 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  8. Emily

    To all the people commenting something along the lines of "THE HUSBAND SHOULD HAVE ENLISTED" ...You have no idea whether or not her is even qualified, or if he tried to or some other reason. And why exactly should the husband automatically be the one who "should" join instead of the wife. It's 2010 not 1950.

    April 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm |
  9. Flo

    First of all its not that easy to join the Army now. The husband might have a law violation that is not waiverable. He might not be able to pass the asvab or drug test or medical. You just cant assume anything.

    April 1, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  10. Vic

    I honor and respect all who serve their country. I wish more people had the courage like she has and step up to the plate to serve their country. As a female soldier, I have completed almost 20 years of active service and have enjoyed it. Please remember, most jobs will not be in direct combat and most people should at least try to go to their local recruiter to see if they qualify.

    April 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  11. Clark

    What kind of man lets his wife and mother of his children join the military, possibly going in to harms way while he stays at home in safety. Pathetic of him.

    April 1, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Nevalan

    I forgot to add that I was married too!

    April 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Nevalan

    While you all are spending time critizing the husband for not enlisting, take another moment and tell us how much time you served. I, myself retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years, and I too had a toddler when I left.

    The military is not for everyone. Perhaps her husband has a medical or psychological condition that makes him ineligible. Perhaps he has something in his past that makes him ineligible. Perhaps he has the best employment opportunity. Perhaps it's just none of your business!

    If you are that troubled by her leaving and not her husband, why don't you step up and go with her. Perhaps this is what she wants for herself because it's her life and not yours.

    April 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  14. Mr. B

    My opinion is that as a MAN, I would be the one to stand up and join the military to secure my family's future. Maybe that seems a bit sexist but I was raised in that atmosphere that a MAN is supposed to provide for his family and especially given the fact that she has a young child, practically a baby, he needs to be the one joining. Their even waving minor scermishes with the law allowing those few who are looking for redemtion a rare oportunity to redeem themselves for this country and a chance to re-invent themselves. Maybe he has a medical condition or a bum leg. I guess that would make it justifiable as to why she's joining and he's not. I certainly wish the family good health and prosperity.

    April 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  15. TarasHO

    I have to agree with Didi...why did she choose the Army? As a prior Air Force Member, and a current Air Force Wife, I question her Army Decision. The Air Force has 8 weeks of BMT. Then they go to their Technical School, but are allwed passes after they reach a certain stage, and then family can come visit. The Air Force does NOT have the 99% chance of deployment, and our longest deployment is 1 year.
    All the above is one of the reason's I chose the Air Force, and would still be in if it weren't for medical reasons that caused my discharge (Asthma).

    I any account, I DO wish her the very best. And I also hope that her worthless hubby decides to take some initiative after seeing what she's been through and try and at least do SOMETHING to contribute to the family.

    April 1, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  16. didi

    It must have been tough for this young family to make the decision for the mom to enter the military. I can't judge the husband if he is not the one who enlisted, miltary is not his turf. With the economy as it is, joining the military is very tempting w/ especially w/ all it's benefits. The young mom has her goal, for herself and for her family. But I am thinking, has she checked out all her other option in terms of choosing the right branch she will be serving? How about airforce? Depends on the job, I think the airforce deploys shorter than the army. I hope it will all work out.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  17. Yvonne

    Many are asking about the husband...could be he's not eligible. There are several factors that may disqualify him...weight, health, criminal record, etc. Further, the military spouse is the toughest job in the military.
    I say, "good for her!" This is a noble and heroic undertaking and we should applaud her and her husband instead of criticizing them for this choice.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  18. John C

    This young lady hasn't the slightest idea of what she is in for. If she makes it thru Basic and that is a big IF ... I predict another " Missing Movement " charge .

    April 1, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  19. Tony

    Her choice. Whatever the motiviation, its hers. If the husband will stay home and raise the child fine. I have a big problems with the low ranking enlisted types with dependent children. Then the articles on the sacrifices these people are making to find someone to take care of small children while they are deployed. Military service in this era is a major responsibility. For the ones with no partner to raise the children, get out.

    April 1, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  20. Theo

    I support her efforts and desires, but in the mother's absence, who is REALLY going to take care of that child, and does the reporter plan to follow up on the young woman when she returns from training?

    April 1, 2010 at 8:07 am |
  21. Cann

    What type of bigots are the lot of you who's first inpulse is "why didn't her husband join?" What is this, some unspoken law that a real man goes out to play Tarzan while Jane stay home? Women and people in general fought for years for equal treatment. The right to go to war and do anything else they want to do. What I don't understand however is this; after all of the struggle to be treated equally and her decision to enlist, why does her story and so many other's need to be highlighted now? Why isn't the title simply "A Soldier's Story" or "Parents in the military" or any number of other titles which can include men and women alike. There are fathers leaving their families behind every day. Way more men than than women anyway.

    April 1, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  22. KM

    I think if see the young lady as doing something to train herself to be self sufficient, then you see the real story. It's not one or the other goes in to the army, it's her personal choice as she thinks she's going to do something better for her and her child. Perhaps her husband is the care giver/house husband


    April 1, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  23. Anthony Chue

    Why isn't the husband enlisting? In this era of human civilization where women are asking for equal rights and equal treatment on par with men, are you sure this question needs to be asked?

    April 1, 2010 at 6:54 am |
  24. Xeno

    Why isn't the husband enlisting????

    March 31, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  25. Ken

    I'm guessing the father can't go in the Armed Forces? Why else would he sit there and allow his wife to carry the load then sit back and "support" her? Love those diamond studs you are wearing from your ears hubby. Mom I wish you all the best in your endeavor.

    March 31, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  26. Sarah

    I don't want to offend anyone here, but I am a prior service-woman of the US army and currently have a 5 yr old child. All I can say HONESTLY is that if you KNOW yourself well enough to know you can't handle being away from your sweet daughter, then do not join. Not only will you be away from her for 3 months for BCT, but you will 99% be deployed and most deployments as of now are around 2 years overseas – Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Personally, it would not be worth it to me to join the Army after having my child – I am so grateful to have him now and not when I was in the service. You will work long hours, will risk your life and be very far from home. It is a bold move, but money is not everything. I joined in hoping for the chance to get a college education and experiences – and the experiences were many, but I had none of my education taken care of while in the service. Each class I signed up for was canceled because work is a priority, then you or your family and whatever time you have left will be very little. Anyway, good luck to you and your family.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  27. Dannielle

    I wish her well. I too left two children with my mother when I joined. I haven't looked back. That was the best decision I could have made for me and them. Now 22 years later as I prepare to retire, I have no regrets. Pray to God for strength everyday. He will get you through it. I wish you the best.

    March 31, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  28. TerryG

    A perfect example of what's wrong with todays Army. This young lady is no more soldier material than is the man in the moon. She's worried about being away from her baby for 3 months but is apparently oblivious to the fact that chances are real good that she will be away from her a whole lot longer than that.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  29. Kay

    While I admire her drive and perseverance for a better life, I cannot help but wonder why HER HUSBAND isn't making the sacrifice to join the Army. It looks backwards. It resembles a disturbing trend.

    As an Army spouse, she would be able to attend college. There are an increasing number of programs for spouses to be engaged in and challenged because we (spouses) are a key player in the military members' careers.

    Her mother is correct in her assessment of the overall situation. It will be hard.

    March 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  30. KW

    I cannot believe her shiftless husband is standing by and letting his wife go off to war; WHY ISN'T HE THE ONE WHO ENLISTED? What kind of man is ok with his wife being in the line of fire, when he could easily go in her place?

    March 31, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  31. Dan T

    The title should be Dad's first days of Army life...

    March 31, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  32. QueenK

    One question the reporter should have asked is why the father/husband did not take the initiative and join the army instead of the mother/wife?

    March 31, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  33. Chris

    My question is why the husband did not join the Army

    March 31, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  34. SeaknightRex

    I am a little confused, what makes a Mom in the military any differnt than a Dad in the military? At 17 years old I completed 20 years of which 13 years was completed overseas. I can not count the number of birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays I missed as I am sure that other military members are experinceing. Just a thought.

    March 31, 2010 at 10:54 am |