Military deployment gets tough on families
York Daily Record
YORK, Pa. -- Each December, Sgt. Jeffery Lander ventures out and buys his family a Christmas tree.
He secures it to the car and, later, carries the holiday mainstay into his Hellam Township house for his wife and children to enjoy.
Fortunately, Lander will have enough time on leave this year from the Pennsylvania National Guard to once again buy his family their tree.
However, Lander will spend most of the rest of the year stationed with his unit in Kuwait.
On Friday, Lander was among the more than 300 soldiers who took part in two separate Pennsylvania National Guard departure ceremonies at Fort Indiantown Gap. They will soon be deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Lander's mission in Kuwait will mark the fourth time he's been deployed.
While on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, he deployed once to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq, said Shannon Lander, Jeffery Lander's wife.
Still, this most current deployment marks the first time that Lander's service to his country will take him away from his children, Christopher,1, and Allison, 4.
"They are young and he's going to miss a lot," she said. "You have to try to mentally prepare for the fact that it will be on you. You just kind of do it and power through."
Soon, Shannon Lander will switch from part-time to full-time at St. Jacob's United Church of Christ Child Care Center in York New Salem.
Even though she will soon shoulder all of her husband's duties around the house, don't think of Shannon Lander a single parent.
"I have family that is very supportive of me," she said. "When it gets tough, I lean on my support system, which is family and friend"
Being a military wife, the questions Lander hears most often are, "Are you OK? Is there anything I can do?"
"Those are very hard questions to answer," she said. "Military wives are very strong. Don't ask what you can do to help. Just do it. If you know a military spouse needs their grass cuts, just step up and do it. Don't wait for them to ask for help."
The Pennsylvania National Guard honored these units during a deployment ceremony Friday at Fort Indiantown Gap:
--- Troop C of the 1-104th Cavalry Squadron and Company D of the 228th Brigade Support Battalion -- part of the 55th Heavy Brigade Combat Team.
--- Company B of the 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion.