Tag Archives: spouse

Strength, courage on the home front

By Staff Sgt. Nicholas BreamSgt Bream and the 387th ELRS
96th Logistics Readiness Squadron

I was afforded the opportunity to share a heartfelt story of my experience while I was deployed on convoy duty in Iraq. The Learning Channel (TLC) came to my house before I arrived home and recorded the strength and courage that it takes my wife Nicole and three children, Amanda, Joseph, and Jessi to carry on everyday life while I am deployed.

The Learning Channel wanted service members who were deployed and had a special family event they wanted to share. In my case, when I was deployed in 2008 on convoy duty, Nicole gave birth to my son Joseph in Germany with only her friends by her side as I was on mission and could not be there with her. It was almost six months before I got home and the only way Joseph knew me was through a webcam and the sound of my voice. But as soon as he saw me he knew exactly who I was. And then in March of 2011 she gave birth to my daughter Jessi while I was not due back for another six weeks. I sat back and thought to myself “Wow.” I can’t imagine what it must be like to do that by herself and still take care of our other children and attend college full time.

Amanda and Nicole enjoyed watching shows about military members reuniting with family members after a deployment. One evening Amanda asked me via webcam if “Mommy and Daddy could surprise her like that when I came home.” I was excited to be able to surprise her like she wanted and to be able to share it with other people. After a few months of going back and forth with ideas we finally decided that we would make the show about my daughter getting her Girl Scout “Strength and Courage” badge awarded. Amanda helped out Nicole in every way that a 6 year old could. Amanda stepped up to take my place helping around the house, picking up the living room and folding laundry.

From that point on I handed the planning over to Nicole and the Girl Scout leader Elizabeth to work with the production crew. They set it up to be recorded at my home in Florida during a Girl Scout meeting. They invited a local fire fighter to talk about how much strength and courage it takes to do his job. After talking about that for a few minutes he then moved to introduce me, saying how it took more strength and courage to do my job overseas in hostile environments.

They all worked it perfectly so that when I got home from the airport all I had to do was walk in the door and surprise Amanda and her Girl Scout troop. She had no idea I was coming home yet and she was in total shock that her dad was the one to award her this achievement. After I surprised Amanda, Nicole had a surprise for me — getting to see my daughter Jessi for the first time in person since she was born. Up until then I had only seen her via webcam and pictures Nicole sent me. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to finally hold her.

I have deployed two times, and both times they have been for more than six months. Every military member, myself included, has to be ready at a moment’s notice to pick up and go somewhere else for duty. Whether it is for one day or 12 months we are not the ones who have it hard. It’s the family and loved ones we leave behind who are expected to carry on daily life without us.

Photo: Airmen with the 387th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance flight deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation New Dawn from September 2010 to April 2011.

Blog Spotlight: Boots in the Doorway

*Occasionally, Air Force Live puts the spotlight on individual blogs written by Airmen or their family members. These blogs provide an unofficial glimpse into the various aspects of Air Force life. Opinions expressed are those of the bloggers and are not endorsed by the US Air Force.

For Cheryl, home is wherever the Air Force sends her and her family.

So far, the California-native has lived in Mississippi, Kansas, Texas, Florida and Arizona, all in support of her active-duty Air Force husband, who is currently deployed for eight months. As a stay-at-home mother of two children, she shares her experiences in her blog, Boots in the Doorway, writing candidly about the ups and downs of life during a deployment.

“The airport allows military families  to go to the gate so that they can spend a little more time together which we were very thankful for,” she wrote of sending her husband off on his deployment. “On our way 2 different people stopped Chris to thank him for his service. I always get choked up when that happens because it means so much to hear that from people. It reminds me how proud and special all our military are and that our journeys tend to be a little different then civilians in so many ways that can’t be explained.”

Since then, she’s shared everything from class field trips with her daughter to preparing care packages for her husband, all while reflecting on what it means to serve from the homefront when it literally feels like half her heart is in Iraq. 

“I never know what is going to spark that emotion in me that can break me down in a instant,” she wrote recently. “Sometimes its driving by his work or seeing his uniform hanging in the closet, finding his favorite hot sauce hidden in the fridge, his razors in the cabinet or that song you hear on the radio.”

Recently, Cheryl got a happy distraction via a spouse incentive flight at her base on a KC-135 Stratotanker, where the ladies got to watch an F-15 refuel in the air. She was able to take photos and a short video clip of the flight for her blog.

“We took turns taking tons of pictures and watching the action,” she wrote. “I HIGHLY suggest you take the opportunity if it comes available to go on a spouse flight. They were happy to do it since they want the spouses to be excited about the Air Force so we encourage our hubby’s to stay active.”

To read more about Cheryl’s experience as the Air Force wife of a deployed Airman, visit Boots in the Doorway.