One of the most challenging parts of deployment for many Soldiers is being
away from friends and Family.
Soldiers and Family members alike often lean on others who share a similar
experience during long periods apart.
One 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Family is using their
shared experience to make deployment just a little bit easier.
Capt. Andrea Wolfe and her son, Spc. Kameron Wideman, both assigned to Brigade
Support Medical Company, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd ABCT, deployed
recently from Fort Hood, Texas, to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, for nine months in
support of U.S. Army Central.
Left - Capt. Andrea Wolfe holds her 2-year-old son, Kameron, in this
undated personal photo. Kameron is now 20 years old and serving in
the Army alongside his mother ... Right - Capt. Andrea Wolfe, senior
brigade physician assistant, and her son Spc. Kameron Wideman, a
behavioral health technician, on March 18, 2017 during a nine month
deployment together with both assigned to the Brigade Support
Medical Company, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from courtesy photo by U.S. Army Capt.
Andrea Wolfe and U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Leah Kilpatrick)
Wolfe, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, began her Army career as an enlisted lab
technician 24 years ago.
“I had two sisters who were in the Army,” Wolfe said. “I followed them in. In a
family of nine, we couldn’t afford college, so I had to do something to be able
to get some kind of college education, and that was the way.”
As far back as she could remember, she wanted to be a nurse.
“It’s just something I wanted to get into to help people,” she said.
That aspiration propelled her through her career, taking advantage of
educational opportunities in an effort to make her dream a reality.
“I tried to get into the nursing program,” she said. “When I was a lab tech
instructor in San Antonio, I put in my packet three times for the nursing
After 17 years of enlisted service and multiple attempts, the frustrated
sergeant first class decided to try something different.
“So I put in a packet to the [physician assistant] program, got picked up the
first time, so I figured that was my calling, and I’ve been doing that since
2009,” she said.
Meanwhile, she was raising a Family. Her son, Kameron, was born in 1996 at her
first duty station in Fort Lewis, Washington. Brought up in a devoted military
household, it was no surprise when Wideman enlisted in the Army, Wolfe said.
“I was good in school, but I didn’t take it seriously enough, but the Army was
always my fall-back plan,” said Wideman, behavioral health technician. “I
initially wanted to join just so I could help people. That’s why I got into the
But what started out as a “fall-back plan” won Wideman’s heart. He said while
deployed, he plans on taking classes and completing the prerequisites to submit
a packet for the Army Medical Department Enlisted Commissioning Program, as
Between the two of them, they’re tending to the physical and mental well-being
of the Soldiers deployed to Camp Buehring. While she maintains her focus on her
job and taking care of the Soldiers, the mom in her can’t help but feel some of
the same concerns stateside parents feel about having a child deployed.
“As a mother, you still have that deep down concern of what if something happens
to my baby. What am I going to do?” she said. “But I can’t let him see that,
because I need him to focus on his job and what I need him to do, and that’s to
provide mental health, which is something that is very much needed in this day
Wideman said he enjoys having her right down the road.
“I’m blessed,” he said. “I’m blessed to have her with me.”
Although Wideman is young in the Army, having only served two years, he is no
stranger to the deployment experience from a Family member’s perspective, as his
mother, father and stepfather are all active duty.
“All three of my parents have deployed at some point,” he said. “It was tough as
a little kid saying goodbye to your parents. When you’re little, you tend to
have a big imagination. You’re thinking, ‘Oh no! I’m probably never going to see
my parents again,’ because you’re little, and you’re in your own head about it.”
But the experience of being the kid who was left behind didn’t prepare him to
actually be deployed himself, he said.
“I still didn’t really know what deployment was,” he said. “It was like this
random place that my parents were going to for like a year and then coming back.
I didn’t really know how to picture where they were.”
Thankfully, he had a source close to home to answer his questions.
“I had the normal questions like, ‘How are we going to be living,” and me being
a Millennial, ‘Is there going to be Internet,’ and things like that,” he said.
Wolfe and her husband, 1st Sgt. Andrew Wolfe, a company First Sergeant at Carl
R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas, help mentor Wideman through
his Army career with advice and guidance.
Echoes of the same drive, motivation, dedication and discipline that exemplify
Wolfe’s career path are evident in Wideman’s.
“We cross paths every now and then,” she said. “I don’t see him all the time. I
let Kameron be Kameron.”
“We are passionate about the military,” Wolfe said. “This is our Army. My
husband is a first sergeant, and I used to be an E-7 before I switched over, so
that leadership is instilled in both of us, and that comes out in the way we
raise our kids – the leadership, the discipline, the morale, the ethics,
everything. This is the way you’re supposed to live.”
Wolfe often finds herself giving the same advice to her Soldiers that she gives
to her son.
“Get all you can out of the military, because it’s going to get all it can out
of you, and that was my insight coming up,” Wolfe said. “I don’t know how many
colleges I went to, because I needed classes. I went to school all the time, and
I was just taking advantage of the opportunities that were out there. That’s
what I tell all my Soldiers coming up in the military. You have to take
advantage of it. No one’s going to give it to you. You have to go and get it.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Leah Kilpatrick
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