Photographer Honors Military Moms' 'Double Duty'

Tuesday, December 9th 2008, 5:43 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Mothers across the country are making an important sacrifice by serving in the military.

One local photographer wants to capture these moms who she says are on "Double Duty."

The photographer has begun with a few women stationed at Tinker Air Force Base. Her plan is to compile a set of soldier mom photos in a book.

There's something special about seeing a woman in uniform, with her child by her side. That's what local photographer Anna Marie Garcia said she saw one day.

"She picked up her 7-week-old baby, full uniform, and it was just a sight to see," Garcia said. "Right then and there, I was like, I gotta shot that, I gotta show someone what I see."

So far, it's inspired her to snap a few hundred pictures of women like Sergeant Jaqueline Alexander. Alexander is the mother of 10-year-old Jacob. Because she's in the Air Force, she's had to be separated from her little boy for more than a year altogether during various deployments.

"They kinda forget what's not right in front of them," Alexander said. "You see them building connections with other people while you're gone, and you miss them. It's just not the same, it's not a vacation.

Lieutenant Kinder Blacke was apart from 8-month-old Reggie for only a matter of days recently, but still, it's time she said she can't get back.

"It was hard," Blacke said. "That was the longest I had been apart from him, and at the end when I came back and saw him, I was like, ‘Who are you? I don't even recognize you anymore'."

It's a challenging job to be a soldier 24/7, and a mother 24/7. Although it inevitably means time apart from their kids, these military moms are allegiant.

"But, they take really good care of us," Alexander said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything else. They take care of all of his needs and mine, and he has some special ones too."

"Double Duty" is the name of the project -- a book of photos that will aim at capturing moments when soldier moms are trying to be tough and soft at the same time.

"The women are not just strong, they're making a strong family, you know, they're just so special," Garcia said. "I don't know how they can do it, but they do it."

The photographer is hoping the project will attract attention and get more military moms involved in the photo shoots.

View the photographer's Web site