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NEWS | Oct. 11, 2011

Keeping Guard families connected: Deployed mom supports daughter half a world away

By Army Spc. Trisha Betz 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division

CAMP VIRGINIA, Kuwait - Army Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Mccann, senior human resources non-commissioned officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 134th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls," knows all about the enlisting process in military.

Mccann - a former recruiter of eight years; Melrose, Minn., native and member of the Minnesota National Guard - has put in hundreds of service members.

"I've seen a lot of young men and women that felt like my daughters and sons join the military, but when you actually send your own child off to training it's a whole new set of feelings," said Mccann.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted thousands of Americans to step up and serve their country - including Mccann's 8-year-old daughter.

"Mom, if you have to go to war, what are you going to do with the baby," said Maria Mccan, at the age of 8 on 9/11, after watching the World Trade Center go down. "When I get bigger, I'm going to help."

As soon as Maria turned 18, she enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard as a services apprentice. She plans on becoming an intelligence officer through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at North Dakota State University.

Although Maria enlisted last winter, she was put on a waiting list to go to Air Force Basic at Fort Lee, Va., and did not leave for basic training until August. She is scheduled to graduate Oct. 14.

Jennifer is currently deployed to Kuwait with the 134th BSB in support of Operation New Dawn and was not there it to send off her daughter to basic training.

"I've taken hundreds of privates to MEPS and dropped them off for that final shipping and to not be there to see my own daughter and get that phone call that she has arrived is just excruciating - a better word would be devastating," said Jennifer.

Even though Jennifer can't be at home for every Sunday to receive a phone call from her daughter she tries to stay connected with her daughter through other means.

"The only communication we've had is through letters which have taken three weeks to get a letter from her at basic training. So as she is just in week seven, I've got a letter from week three," said Jennifer. "That's been a challenge."

Although the Maria does not have Internet access while in basic training, Jennifer has found comfort in the Air Force Wing Moms and Air Force basic training Facebook pages.

"All the moms from my daughter's flight are on Facebook, and when they get their phone calls from their daughters on Sunday, they all post what's going on, who their wings are and what they talk about," Jennifer said. "They've taken me in and shared all the information the girls are saying, so God bless Facebook."

Although it has been hard on Jennifer to be deployed while her daughter is at Airman basic training, she still supports her daughter wholeheartedly half a world away in Kuwait.

"You should always stand behind your loved ones, no matter what your personal opinion is of the military," Jennifer added. "Because we are all volunteers giving of ourselves and we should be very thankful for our sons and daughters that are willing to sacrifice so much to include their own life."



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