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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Coy Hixson, Angella Smith

Mother, Son Share Thanksgiving in Iraq

By Senior Airman Josh Moshier
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq, Nov. 27, 2006 — Servicemembers often cite missing family as one of the main hardships of deployments.

For a mother and son here, missing family might not be quite as difficult for the duration of this Air Expeditionary Force rotation.

Staff Sgt. Coy Hixson, 732nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group postal worker, deployed here in October from Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. That meant he would reunite with his mother, Angella Smith, a Kellogg Brown & Root tool-room attendant, who's been deployed here since September 2004.

"I was very excited," the sergeant said. "I volunteered for this assignment to be close to my mother. It had been five or six months since I'd last seen her. I got here on a Thursday, and we met up that Sunday."

Despite some initial apprehension, Angella was equally excited.

"It's been motivational for me," she said. "When he was about to come, I was scared for him. But when I saw him, I was happy he was here. Now we watch out for each other."

Having his mother close by means having someone to share the Iraq experience with, Coy said.

"It doesn't matter if I have a bad day or a good day at work," he said. "I have a shoulder to lean on or someone to be happy with me."

According to both, the best part of each day is when they get together for lunch and talk about family. Spending Thanksgiving together was an extra special treat for the two.

"This is the first Thanksgiving we've spent together in six years," Angella said. "Not too many mommas get to have Thanksgiving with their son in a war zone. I wouldn't miss it."

Last Updated:
11/27/2006, Eastern Daylight Time
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