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It is truly shame on the U.S. Forces Korea command that they have not given special consideration to making exceptions to furlough of USFK emergency essential personnel for people who have volunteered to stay in the Korean theater as logisticians in support of the warfighter in the event of war. As such, they will be in harm’s way, subject to predations of the North Korean army.

Many of these people are also civilian veterans of multiple deployments to Southwest Asia, sharing the hardships and dangers of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some have histories of working for decades for the Army and participating in deployments dating back to Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

It is unfortunate that such loyalty and devotion have not been reciprocated, although it is within the power of the theater commander to request Department of the Army exception to policy, as has been done for those currently deployed in Southwest Asia.

Although they and their families are disappointed, I am confident that those who serve in these positions still feel honored to do so and will continue to do so with pride and loyalty, knowing they will continue to make an important contribution to USFK’s warfighting effort.

George Williams

Pyeontaek, South Korea

Happy to have Dad at home

When many think of military dads, they envision men serving in uniform who leave their families behind to defend the freedoms of those less able to do so in places like Iraq, Afghanistan or Africa. But there is another class of military dads — many unsung heroes at home who often go unrecognized. Men like my dad, who left the military behind with the realization that he could best serve his country by enabling his wife to defend our freedom and that of others in far-off places. These “Mr. Moms” recognize that their best contribution to our nation is stay home and raise productive members of society.

It took confidence for my dad, the quintessential Marine — 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, intimidating infantryman — to make the choice to be “Mr. Mom” 18 years ago, but our family and community have reaped the benefits of his decision and sacrifice.

For military families change is constant: new country, school, church or friends. I don’t recall a day in my life when my dad wasn’t there for us, when my mom deployed for six months while I was only 5 months old, or for 13 months to Iraq when my brother and I were older.

Over numerous deployments we would see the sad faces of women on military bases waving goodbye to their husbands. My dad always made these long separations seem like an adventure for all of us. He was always the calm port in the storm for my mom, my brother and me. When my mom deployed for 13 months to Iraq, he found himself leading the spouses group in the squadron as the family readiness officer because my mom was the commander. He loved it. He also finds his work with special-needs students at my high school rewarding.

My dad epitomizes selflessness; he is positive, caring, giving and always finds a way to say yes. He has never cried a tear but has wiped plenty of ours. He has taught us about determination, hard work and honor. He stays out of the limelight but enables the rest of us to shine.

My mom calls him the man behind the woman. His support enabled her promotion from private to eventual selection as a colonel in the Marines. It is to my dad that I attribute my acceptance to Stanford University. My 15-year-old brother is also poised to do great things, all because of him. My dad’s favorite saying is “family first and always.”

From all of us military kids, a heartfelt “thank you” to the “Mr. Moms.” Happy Father’s Day and Semper Fidelis.

Morgan Mahlock

Stuttgart, Germany

Enjoyed driving military folks

I have been employed as a bus driver for several excursions and school buses in the Stuttgart, Germany, area for more than 40 years. After the following school year, I will be entering my pension. For this reason, I would like take the time to express my gratitude toward the members of the U.S. Army and their families for giving me the opportunity to follow a family tradition. It has always been a great pleasure to return every school year to find familiar and kind faces, and friends among their parents and teachers.

I shall keep the members of the U.S. Army and their families in my prayers and I also wish the students the greatest of success in pursuing their ambitions.

Erwin Burkett

Stuttgart, Germany


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