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Military

By USMC LCpl. Kelvin Clark

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Spouses, Families Show Marines Love From Afar
(May 25, 2011)

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Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (5/17/2011) -- When a service member goes on a deployment, many things go through his mind while he's support the grand mission: is my family thinking about me and supporting me; does my newlywed wife still want to be with me when I come home; will my children remember me after seven months? For some deployed Fightertown Marines, those questions are able to be answered by none other than their own family member or spouse.

Allison Davis utilizes video teleconference in the Marine Aircraft Group 31 main conference room to speak to her deployed Marine husband May 10, 2011. Davis and her Marine are going through their first deployment together.
Allison Davis utilizes video teleconference in the Marine Aircraft Group 31 main conference room to speak to her deployed Marine husband May 10, 2011. Davis and her Marine are going through their first deployment together.
The Marines and sailors with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 held video teleconferences with their spouses and family members at the Marine Aircraft Group 31 main conference room Tuesday.

The Thunderbolts have been deployed aboard USS Enterprise since January. The only methods the service members have of communicating with their loved ones is through e-mail, letters and the occasional social network. The opportunity afforded them another means of consultation.

“These conferences were set up by the chaplain on the (USS Enterprise) and I for every Tuesday; families and spouses are allotted 20-minute time slots with their Marine and sailor,” said Monica Greer, VMFA-251 family readiness officer. “During lots of deployments, service members don't
have the capabilities to view their loved ones. This opportunity is extremely beneficial for the spouses who participate with the program.”

For some of the families, this is the first time they have seen their warrior since they left Fightertown in January.

“I was very nervous yet anxious to see him because I didn't know what to expect, but when I did, my daughter, Katelyn, and I were overwhelmed,” said Rhonda Butler, wife of a Thunderbolt Marine. “To see him and talk to him again was exciting. I felt very privileged to have had that chance. I am so glad these VTCs are put together.”

Some of the Marines and sailors have families waiting on them back in the rear. However, not all service members are quite established. Some of them are in new relationships going through their first deployment together and trusting their love will be what it takes to get them through the first of many tests the military will offer.

“I had no idea something like these VTCs were even available for us. This was my first time utilizing them, and I was pretty excited about it before I even walked into the room,” said Allison Davis, wife of VMFA-251 Marine. “We e-mail everyday to each other, but because of his location and complications (onboard an aircraft carrier), we don't get to speak as often as we'd like to. These conferences are great morale boosters for both the service member and the family. I was sad when I walked from the screen because it was over, but I am so glad I did it.”

According to Greer, families can expect to participate in a Return and Reunion Workshop June 11. There will also be a workshop for children and a banner-making for the families.

Article and photo by USMC LCpl. Kelvin Clark
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Copyright 2011

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