Communication Key for 45th Families

Thursday, August 18th 2011, 7:38 pm
By: News 9

Darren Brown, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Each time a military service member is deployed, it brings certain challenges to their family.  The absence of a loved one is hard enough, but the constant worrying about their safety can be difficult to deal with. 

Families of Oklahoma's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team have dealt with more than their share of grief over the past few weeks.  The unit lost more soldiers in the last two weeks than it has in the last ten years.

"It affects every minute of every day of your life," said Shelly Torres.  Torres' son Chaz Everett is on his first deployment with the 45th.  "You constantly listen for any news that might come, good or bad."

Torres's laptop is always on, waiting on a Facebook post from her son.  But today's instant information is almost a double-edged sword for her, especially when she gets bad news from Afghanistan.

"When you hear about that, and then I don't hear from Chaz for a couple days, you really worry more," Torres said.  "Because you think 'Oh no, and I haven't talked to him.'"

Her friend Kayla English shares her apprehension.  English's husband, J.D., is deployed in Afghanistan as well.  English is due to have her first child in a few weeks, and she's not sure her husband will make it back in time to see the birth of his son.

"It's very bittersweet," English said.  "We haven't even been married a year."

Like Torres, English keeps a communication lifeline within arm's reach at all times.  Her cell phone, with her husband as screen saver, is never out of her sight.

"I've kinda figured out the time frame where I should get my phone call," said English.  "And I make sure that my phone is very close."

English and Torres both agree that the support of other 45th families is essential to their struggle with this deployment.  And their military family, though not blood-related, is close to their hearts, especially when there's news of a fallen soldier.

"You're glad it's not yours, it's not your family member, it's not your friend," English said.  " But then again you can't be glad at the same time, because it's still part of the 45th, it's part of that family."