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Staff Sgt. Marcus Fuller and his son Zachary chat Tuesday during lunch at Baumholder Middle School and High School. School officials organized a deployment day at the school to give families extra time together before the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division deploys to Iraq this spring.

Staff Sgt. Marcus Fuller and his son Zachary chat Tuesday during lunch at Baumholder Middle School and High School. School officials organized a deployment day at the school to give families extra time together before the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division deploys to Iraq this spring. (John Vandiver / S&S)

Staff Sgt. Marcus Fuller and his son Zachary chat Tuesday during lunch at Baumholder Middle School and High School. School officials organized a deployment day at the school to give families extra time together before the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division deploys to Iraq this spring.

Staff Sgt. Marcus Fuller and his son Zachary chat Tuesday during lunch at Baumholder Middle School and High School. School officials organized a deployment day at the school to give families extra time together before the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division deploys to Iraq this spring. (John Vandiver / S&S)

Sgt. First Class Deoraj Baldeo spent the afternoon at Baumholder Middle School and High School Tuesday with his daughters Melissa and Tiffany and their friends. Parents also were allowed to sit in on classes as part of a pre-deployment event at the school.

Sgt. First Class Deoraj Baldeo spent the afternoon at Baumholder Middle School and High School Tuesday with his daughters Melissa and Tiffany and their friends. Parents also were allowed to sit in on classes as part of a pre-deployment event at the school. (John Vandiver / S&S)

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The soldiers were back in school, waiting in the cafeteria line, carrying lunch trays and sitting through class.

“It’s good to see high school hasn’t changed so much,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Fuller, with 1st Battalion, 35th Field Artillery Regiment.

It was deployment day Tuesday at Baumholder Middle School and High School, where parents of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division got to spend part of the afternoon with their children.

For Fuller, that meant trading jokes over pizza with his son, Zachary, and friends.

Baumholder soldiers will be deploying once again this spring, leaving behind family members for a tour in Iraq that could last up to 15 months. They returned from their last deployment in Iraq in the fall of 2006.

“One of the things we wanted to do was pull the school and the community together,” said Principal Danny Robinson.

Edith Sistrunk, a special-education teacher and chairwoman of the home/school partnership program, said that in addition to giving families time together, the event also is intended to foster closer ties between the school and families.

“Since we’re going to have a long deployment, it’s important to touch base. We felt this was a way to open up the line of communication and make people comfortable,” Sistrunk said.

Sgt. 1st Class Deoraj Baldeo, of the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, seemed to blend right in with the lunchtime crowd as he chatted with his two daughters and their friends.

“It’s good to have lunch with the kids and see them in their own environment,” said Baldeo.

Zachary Fuller, a high-school freshman, said it was a bit strange having his dad in school.

“It’s nice. I can’t run around a whole lot, though,” said Zachary, who confessed he was on his best behavior.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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