Lance Cpl. Dane M. Horst
Jet Stream Staff
The everyday life of a service member’s spouse and family can grow increasingly difficult once their Marine or sailor deploys. Whether it be for the first time or the tenth, if the family does not have people they can depend on when their spouse is deployed, time apart can be difficult, but the families of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 are finding ways to combat separation… especially when it is most difficult – during the holidays.
The families of deployed Sweat Hogs and the Marines of the MWSS-273 remain-behind element gathered at the Fightertown Officers’ Club Sunday for a Christmas party and to celebrate the half-way point of MWSS-273’s Iraq deployment.
“This event is important to all of the families because it lets them know that the Marine Corps still looks out for them, and the unit is concerned about their welfare,” said Master Sgt. Sean Nolan, the Sweat Hogs’ remain-behind element acting sergeant major.
The Sweat Hogs take care of each other like a big family; it is what the Marine Corps is all about, Nolan explained. These celebrations are good opportunities for families to be part of the squadron.
“Events like these are helpful because you get to meet other spouses who are going through the same deployment you are,” said Jennifer Robinson, the spouse of an MWSS-273 Marine. “It is comforting having the other spouses there for advice, and knowing some of them have been through this multiple times before.”
The unit’s Key Volunteer Network is made up of MWSS-273 spouses who serve as a communication link between the command and the families, as well as providing them with support, information and resource referrals, according to Heather Stone, the MWSS-273 KVN coordinator.
“Part of the support we offer to the families is helping to coordinate family gatherings such as the holiday party and half-way mark of the deployment celebration to bring the families together, recognizing the important role they play in the squadron,” Stone said.
Married Marines or sailors are part of a team with their spouse and when the service member deploys, the spouse who remains behind carries the burden of responsibilities of maintaining their household and taking care of their children, Stone explained. This allows the service member to focus on his or her job while on deployment.
“Being involved with KVN helps the deployment go by faster for me,” said Rindy Cole, the lead key volunteer for the MWSS-273 engineering company. “The most important thing about having a deployed spouse is keeping busy and having a positive attitude about the situation or, knowing that the deployment will end and you will see him again.”
Separated for more than three months and Thanksgiving behind them, the spouses of MWSS-273 stand prepared to celebrate one of the largest holidays of the year, all the while knowing a new year is upon them and reuniting with their loved ones is just a few months away.
“My children and I are looking forward to my husband and the rest of the Sweat Hogs returning safely home after the deployment,” said Shanette Booker, a MWSS-273 spouse. “Now that the deployment is halfway over, it’s all down hill from here.”