Deployed Mom Finds Inspiration From Her Own
(October 23, 2008)
Army Staff Sgt. Tonya Harvey, a material
handling supervisor for the 3rd Infantry
Division's 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th
Brigade Combat Team, holds a picture of her four
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU,
Iraq, Oct. 21, 2008 -- A mother's job is not easy duty,
especially for a soldier mom serving in Iraq,
thousands of miles away from home. That's why
one servicemember looks to her own mother to
help with her four children.
“She is the love of my life. ... I am very, very
close to my mom,” said Army Staff Sgt. Tonya
Harvey, an automated logistics specialist with
the 3rd Infantry Division's 703rd Brigade
Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team.
“Without my mom, I wouldn't be able to do it,
because she is my backbone.”
Harvey is a single mother who said good-bye to
her kids in October and has seen them only once
in the past 12 months. She has three months
remaining before she returns home to them.
By 2 p.m., the days in Iraq turn hot and
steamy, and that's when she performs her favorite duty in
Iraq: calling her children.
“I try to call every day before they go to school,” she
said. Her daily phone calls are her time to give
encouragement and motivation to Tekera, 14, Tekeyla, 12,
Kawania, 10, and Tia, 6. She also chats with them online
every evening to hear about their day and to make sure they
are all right, but most importantly, she said, so they know
she is with them, no matter the distance.
Harvey said she could not serve her country without the help
of her mother, Connie, a single mom herself.
Harvey's children stay in Chauncey, Ga., with their
grandmother, who also took care of them during two previous
deployments to Iraq and while Harvey served in South Korea
in 2004. She has had Tia since the child was 6 months old,
when Harvey deployed to Iraq for the first time.
“When I came back, [Tia] didn't know who I was,” Harvey
said. But by the time she returned from Iraq and Tia was
beginning to get used to her, it was time to move to South
Korea. She took her oldest three children with her and left
Tia with her mother. It was a tough time, Harvey said, and
one of the many trials of being a mother in the military.
Harvey said she realizes her children are getting older, and
her concerns grow as they enter their teen years.
“It's time to be home and focused,” she said.
With their grandmother's help, Harvey's children are
involved with church activities. All the children
participate in the choir, while Tekeyla and Tekera also are
on the church's dance team. In addition, Tekeyla is on the
cheerleading squad, Tekera runs track and Kawania plays
football and basketball. Harvey's ex-husband is stationed in
Charlotte, N.C., so her children see him often.
In Iraq, Harvey serves as the material handling supervisor
in Company A's Supply Support Activity platoon. She manages
four soldiers from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. to ensure operations
run smoothly during the mid-shift hours. The SSA receives
and stores equipment and supplies for more than 120
supporting units throughout the Vanguard area of operations,
from bottled water to packaged meals and other equipment.
No matter what she does or where she goes, Harvey said, the
support and strength she gets from her mother inspire her to
Photo by Army 1st Lt. Carolyn Frazier
Special to American Forces Press Service
Army 1st Lt. Carolyn Frazier serves in the
3rd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team Public
Comment on this article