An Army Mom’s Deployment Day: June 11, 2011

The line-up of duffle bags as soldiers ready for deployment from Ft. Carson.

Saturday was deployment day for many Army families from Fort Carson.  The site of the duffel bags lined up on the side of the parking lot was unsettling; I knew each one represented a family that was about to say good-bye.  I didn’t count the bags, but estimated that close to 300 soldiers left for a year-long deployment in Afghanistan–my son was one of them.  Although this is Josh’s third deployment, it was the first time that I was with him on the day of his departure.

We started at the company command location on post and while the soldiers stood in line to draw their weapons, which they carry with them the entire trip, the families waited outside.

Families and thier loved ones spend precious minutes together prior to the call for formation and a year-long deployment in Afghanistan.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting most of the men in my son’s squad and some of their wives.  Several of these couples are experiencing deployment for the first time.

Tracie Ciambotti takes a walk with her son, Josh, before his third deployment since joining the Army.

Next, we went to the gymnasium parking lot where families huddled close together, taking every opportunity afforded to them to get one more kiss or another hug.  Every direction I looked, I saw a family savoring every minute they had left together.  One soldier knelt down as his young daughter inspected his weapon; another held a newborn baby while his wife and two daughters clung to him; many soldiers posed with their families for that last photo.

A call to formation was ordered and the troops immediately responded, each one taking his place in the line-up as role-call began.    As each name was shouted out that soldier proceeded to the gym entrance, made sure his back pack fit into the required box for the carry-ons, and then disappeared into the gymnasium.

The call for formation.

Soon they emerged from the other end of the building and rejoined their families.  Josh’s squad gathered in one area as we waited for the moment we all dreaded–the final role-call.

That call came and each soldier reached for the final hugs and kisses, grabbed his weapon and back pack, and headed for the building as his name was called.  My son said, “Okay mama, I gotta go” as he reached down for our final hug.  I said, “Take care, I love you and will be praying for you every day”.  He replied, “I know Mom, love you too”.  After Josh and Alison shared their final embrace, he headed into the building.

Alison’s Facebook post Saturday night said, “There are no words to describe the pain of watching him walk into that gym. May our countdown start now!”

Tracie’s son Josh hugs his wife Alison.

Tracie Ciambotti is the Co-founder of Military Families Ministry (MFM) and mother of an Army sergeant. Her previous blog contributions:

Deployment Week: A Mom’s Realities

Deployment Week: Packing, Pictures and Prayers

A Day to Honor Mothers: They Serve in Many Ways

How Do You Define True Patriotism?

When War Gets Personal

An Army Mom Connects Military Families and Churches

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