September 21, 2008 (by SrA Chad Strohmeyer) - Members of the 14th Fighter Squadron deployed to Central Command area of responsibility on September 21st as part of the Global War on Terrorism.
USAF F-16C block 50 #90-0819 from the 14th FS is seen parked in a hardened shelter at Balad AB on June 15th, 2007. [Photo by MD]
Although deploying puts additional pressures on military members, it also puts a great deal of strain on the families left behind, according to 1st Lt. Kevin Danaher, F-16 pilot with the 14th FS
"It's a bittersweet feeling," said Lieutenant Danaher. "I want to go to the fight and serve my country, but at the same time, I don't want to leave my wife by herself."
The 14th FS
is deployed for the second time in less than two years; therefore, the strain on families will be even higher, said Lieutenant Danaher.
"My wife has already decided that she wants to go home to her family while I am gone," said Lieutenant Danaher. "So that should take some stress off of her."
Members of the 14th FS are not the only Misawa troops deployed this holiday season. Members of the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 35th Maintenance Squadron are also deployed in support of the 14th FS. They will provide the necessary maintenance to keep the squadron's jets airborne. However, they too are leaving loved ones behind to deploy.
"Deploying is never easy on a family," said Master Sgt. John Barber, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "It is always a good idea to sit down with your family and discuss any problems that may arise".
The Air Force has always made it clear that family is a big priority, said Sergeant Barber. Therefore, when members are downrange, they have a variety of ways to stay in contact with families. Keeping an open line of communication is essential to maintaining healthy relationships with families at home, he added. Prior to deploying, Sergeant Barber discussed with his wife a strategy to keep in touch while away from home.
"Our main source of communication will be e-mail," said Sergeant Barber. "If that fails, there are morale calls, and I have even heard of a system where you can pay for minutes every month."