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The Army Wife


part 1 2 3

Just a week later, though, Jeannette finds herself struggling to cope.

"It's Friday, February 18th. I'm on the computer and I just got a message from the colonel over in Iraq that one of our guys was killed," Jeannette says into the recorder in a shaky voice.

"I just looked at the official letter and just was in shock and just stared and thought to myself something I could never utter to another person, and that is, will the next one ... will" - her voice catches and she takes a deep breath. "Will the next round hit my husband, hit my soldier? But then I just - I've been looking for him everyday online, on the instant messenger or get some e-mails or something, and I just send him messages everyday. But they're having trouble with their computer, and I keep saying, 'Honey, honey,' and typing in, 'Where are you?' And, you know, I'm patriotic and I'm supportive of our president and I'm supportive of our military, but right now, my true feelings are that I've had enough. I've had enough of this war. This family needs their daddy. I need my husband. I've had it with him being gone."

"Today is Friday, it is Good Friday, the 26th [of March], and my husband is coming home on Easter morning at sunrise," says Jeannette. "Right now, I'm just making muffins for my clan, but later we'll be making cookies and stuff for the soldiers for when they get off the plane."

Josiah playing basketball.
Photo by Christopher Sims.

Jeannette has almost made it through her husband's second deployment to Iraq. This time, she was a single mother for four months. Josiah, her 13-year-old son from her first marriage, did help with his little sister and brother.

"Sometimes I clean up their messes," says Josiah, "or if she just needs time, if she's had a stressful day or whatever, I usually take the kids and watch a movie or something, do something with them so that it'll give her time to relax."

Josiah shoots baskets in a park near his family's home on Fort Bragg. He has dark hair and wears a purple football jersey. He plans on a career as an NFL quarterback, not a soldier.

Josiah's step-father, Sgt. Clinton Mulligan, came home from Iraq once before, a year ago, after spending seven months there with his field artillery unit.

"Last time when he came back from the deployment, I used to take judo and it's at a police training center," says Josiah. "And when he got out of the car, he heard them at the range, 'boom-boom-boom,' and he was like, in the mode, he snapped into it. He thought someone was going to, you know. But yeah, we'll just try to get back to normal and, you know, hope things are all right. Hope he doesn't have any, like, mental problems about thinking about the war or whatever; just try to get him to think more about home and family."


Continue to part 3