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Face of Defense: Mother, Son Prepare to Deploy to Kosovo Together

By Army Spc. Lindsey M. Frazier
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind., May 15, 2008 – Many mothers sit at home and wonder what their deployed son or daughter is doing, hoping everything is all right and waiting for the next phone call. Some might see a mother deploying with her son as a great thing, but what onlookers might not think about is what is left back home.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army National Guard Spc. Roschell Eaton and her son, Spc. Jason Hutchins, both from 3175th Military Police Company, train at Camp Atterbury, Ind., for their upcoming deployment as part of Kosovo Force 10, Multinational Task Force East. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Lindsey Frazier
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army National Guard Spc. Roschell Eaton of 3175th Military Police Company from Warrenton, Mo., knows this scenario all too well.

Eaton’s younger son, Devlin, a high school senior, is staying with his grandmother while she deploys with her elder son, Spc. Jason Hutchins, also an MP in the 3175th.

The mother-son National Guard duo from Troy, Mo., is in mobilization training here for their upcoming deployment as part of Kosovo Force 10, Multinational Task Force East. KFOR 10 is the 16th rotation in an ongoing peacekeeping operation to provide a safe and secure environment for all of Kosovo.

Eaton and her sons have never been apart; it has always been the three of them. She has raised the boys on her own since Jason was a toddler.

“We’re best friends,” Eaton said with a sigh. “But sometimes you have to leave the ones you love to do what you love.”

Eaton served eight years in the Navy before joining the Missouri Army National Guard. She began missing the camaraderie that she had in the military when she would watch Jason come home in his uniform, and in 2006, after a 12-year break from the military, she decided it was her time to get back in.

“While I was in advanced individual training, my mom called me and told me she joined the Guard,” Hutchins said. “She talked about joining, but I didn’t think she really would.”

In addition to being military police in the same company, mother and son were in the same platoon before the deployment started. And they’re not the only military members of their close-knit family. Devlin, the younger brother, joined the Army National Guard last year and completed basic training the summer before his senior year. He will continue on to AIT for military intelligence as soon as he graduates from high school this month.

“It’s really cool having my mom in my unit; it made us even closer than we were before,” Hutchins said. “The part that is hard is leaving my brother behind.”

The hard part, Eaton said, is that she won’t be home to be Mom. She said she has always been a mother first, but being a mother has to come second, since the Army is now first, she acknowledged.

As she expressed her pride in being a mother, she paused, turned her head to the side and looked away. Taking deep breaths was all she could do to keep the tears from falling. The moment hit her as she thought of not being there for the special moments in her younger son’s life.

“He graduates high school this year, and there’s prom,” she said softly. “I want to be there for the big things and the little things. Devlin says he understands. He said that I was there for his basic training graduation, and that meant more to him than anything.”

Eaton smiled as she regained her composure. With a big grin, she said, “My boys and me are a tight trio.”

Knowing both of her sons are safe, and not sitting on the couch wondering about them, is the best thing she could ask for, she said.

(Army Spc. Lindsey Frazier serves in public affairs at Camp Atterbury, Ind.)

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