Some moms of 1st Infantry Division soldiers have adopted some new kids.

With their sons and daughters due home from Iraq any day now, the e-mail support group of about 70 Big Red One mothers who call themselves the “Family of One” wanted to keep supporting troops in the Middle East. They had formed last year through a 1st ID Web site and boosted not only each other, but their soldiers through a hard one-year tour in Iraq.

Enter the Marines.

On Jan. 17, Barbara Holman and Donna Cranston, two 1st ID mothers who volunteer frequently at the United Service Organizations lounge in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, were greeting troops there headed to and returning from Iraq.

A group of 120 Iraq-bound Marines from the Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4, an EA-6 Prowler squadron from the 2nd Marine Air Wing in Cherry Point, N.C., got stuck overnight when their plane didn’t arrive.

Holman and Cranston felt badly that the Marines were confined to their hotel for the evening, their last night in the United States before a seven-month tour. So they bought enough beer for each Marine to drink one in his hotel room, then got up the next morning to give them gifts and a goodbye hug before their early departure the next morning.

“I was flabbergasted with the outpouring of support,” said Sgt. Maj. Terry Kraker, the squadron’s senior enlisted Marine, via e-mail from their duty post at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

“I have been in the Marine Corps for over 27 years and have been to a lot of places. I have never received this kind of support on my way out the door.”

The women gave Kraker a Big Red One patch to keep on his desk. And they agreed to “adopt” the squadron, with one family sending care packages and notes of encouragement to each of its 60 single Marines.

Holman said it took little time to find families to adopt the Marines from among the Family of One e-mail group, her friends and co-workers in Texas.

“The spirit is contagious,” Holman said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. “Our Family of One is proud to ‘defect’ from supporting our returning 1st ID and move on to the Marines.”

“These Americans are one of the reasons we are going to Iraq,” Kraker said. “Our motto is ‘Semper Fidelis,’ meaning ‘Always faithful,’ and we will do just that. We are now a part of the Family of One.”

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