Thursday, November 21, 2013

Six Illinois babies wait for dads’ return from Afghanistan

Click photo for screen-resolution imageIllinois National Guard

PEORIA, Ill. (11/19/13) - Five little girls and one boy were recently born while their dads were away serving their country. In December, those six babies will finally get their dads back from Afghanistan.

"We are all just ready for them to be home," said Sarah Willey of Decatur, Ill., the Family Readiness Group leader and wife of Illinois National Guard 1st Lt. Brian Willey. "A lot of kids are ready to have their dads back."

Sarah gave birth to a daughter, Ariea, while Brian has been deployed. Ariea is one of six babies born during the 2nd Battalion, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion's deployment to Afghanistan.
Anticipating the Soldiers' return, spouses and family members of the Peoria-based Soldiers gathered for a family reunion event at the Hult Center in Peoria, Ill., Nov. 16.

"The event focused on working through any issues the family members might foresee when their Soldier returns," said Mari Richardson of Athens, Ill., the 65th Troop Command Brigade Family Readiness Support Assistant.

Spouses and family members had a question and answer session with the 238th Commander Maj. Clarence Pulcher of Morton, Ill., via the Internet.

"He told them how excited they were to return home and how well they have done while deployed," said Richardson.

Approximately 60 Soldiers with the 238th mobilized in January 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and are expected to return in December when Brian will meet his daughter for the first time.

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