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Families, friends say farewell to deploying Army Reserve soldiers


February 7, 2018 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

First Lt. Jacob Brewer, foreground, talks to his troops and encourages them to stay connected to their families while overseas during a farewell ceremony at the Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center on Feb. 2.

Army Reserve soldiers of the 477th Transportation Company and their friends and family gathered on Feb. 2 for a farewell ceremony.

The local soldiers are set to deploy in the near future and met at the Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center.

There are a variety of soldiers ready for deployment, from those who have experienced it before to others who will experience their first time overseas as part of the military.

Specialist Maria Barajas is a stay-at-home mom who has been part of the Reserves for 10 years now, but this will be her first deployment.

Back when she first started with the U.S. Army Reserve she said she didn't know what she was getting into.

"At first it was tough adjusting to the way the military runs, but now I love it," she said.

She will serve as a cook and has received a lot of training over the last few months for her deployment.

"Just being out there and getting all this training done has definitely prepared us," she said.

Her troop also includes her younger sister.

"My family is taking it hard because I have a sister who is also getting deployed," she said.

Joseph Dearmas is also heading out to his first deployment. He started with the Reserves almost a year ago.

"I needed something to stabilize me so I could start a family," he said.

Dearmas said that he has just recently gotten married.

"We were engaged before I joined the military, but we finally got around to it," he said. "We weren't going to do that until we felt comfortable going through with it," he added, so the stability that the Army service has brought him helped him.

He's currently in school under an HVAC repair apprenticeship and will be an HVAC technician for the troop.

"I'll be working with the AC units over there," he said.

As a third-generation military service member Dearmas said he's prepared to be deployed. "I'm ready to go," he said.

Others like 1st Sgt. Merle McLain, part of the command staff for the troop, have a long history in the U.S. Army.

McLain has spent nearly 30 years in the Army and will be on his third deployment as part of this troop.

His last deployment was more than 13 years ago though.

"It's a new experience for the kids ... my twins were 15 months old when I got on the plane the last time," he said.

He said he stayed with the military in part to work with the youth.

"Our young people today sometimes have a really bad rap. They're not this, they're not doing that. But I get to work with some of the best young people every time I put on this uniform," he said.

He encourages soldiers under him to stay connected as possible to their family in the U.S.

"It's so hard not to get wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff and forget what is going on back home," he said.

Many also have problems with 'putting their lives on pause' he said.

"You really struggle with the fact that in some respects a lot of them believe they are putting their life on hold to go," said McLain. "We've got college students who are not going to college the next couple of quarters. We've got people putting careers on hold, and then there is the separation between your family and friends on top of that."

First Lt. Jacob Brewer, part of the command staff for the troop, is following in many of his family's footsteps.

"All my grandfathers, my brothers, we've all served in various branches," he said.

This will be his second deployment where he has been part of the command.

Christopher Andersson

Locals Benjamin Moore, right, Rozlyn Moore, center, and Winter Moore meet in the halls of the Marysville Armed Forces Reserve Center on Feb. 2 after a farewell ceremony.

"It's a great opportunity. When you become an officer it's really about the soldiers and you want to do the best you can for them," he said.

Brewer, who has a wife and a stepson, said that navigating the family situation is one of the most difficult parts of being deployed.

"Every family member is going to miss their soldier or their airman," he said. "You have to communicate to your family that this is something you want to do."

For Brewer that also meant coming to empathize and understand his wife as well.

"For me, personally, the most difficult part was trying to understand where the family is coming from. I had a hard time understanding what is so difficult about being at home," he said.

"Then you realize, they're doing everything and it's stressful when you have three cars and they all break down, and you can't take any of them to get an oil change and you have kids going to school ... back home everything kept going," he said.


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