Moms have double duty

Some mothers wear combat boots with pride

Some mothers wear combat boots with pride

May 14, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY


She's only 9 years old, but Anastasia - everyone, she says, calls her Ana - Martinez wants to join the military and knows exactly who should help guide her through the process.

"I wanna work in the Army. I want (my mother) to be my recruiter," Ana said recently as she sat at her kitchen table, finishing her math homework when she wasn't exuberantly talking to a visitor.

On Mother's Day today, mothers will receive cards, flowers and trips to favorite or fancy restaurants.

Some are happy just to be home.

Two area women who are in the military already have missed holidays, school functions and other events during their years in uniform, but both will be able to spend today with their families.


Nationwide, there are 69,287 mothers on active duty, out of 1.4 million active-duty personnel and 50,090 mothers in National Guard and U.S. Reserves units, out of 1.2 million total troops, said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, spokeswoman for the Department of Defense.

Those women include Ana's mother, Staff Sgt. Amy Fasulo, an Army recruiter who works out of the Maryland Army National Guard armory on Roxbury Road south of Hagerstown, and Staff Sgt. Kelley Peggs, 29, with the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard based in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Peggs has two children, David Peggs Jr., 6, and Kimberly Peggs, 8.

David Peggs Jr. is in love with his mother's camouflage uniform.

David loves it so much, in fact, that he has his own child-sized U.S. Marine Corps uniform, which he frequently wears to school, as well as unit squadron patches his mother obtains from pilots and gives to her son. While Peggs said it's possible her son might follow in her footsteps with a military career, she hopes both he and her daughter will go to college.

Kimberly is less likely to join the military, her mother said she believes, and unlike her brother, probably wouldn't wear a camouflage uniform now.

"Not at all, not unless it has pink in it," Peggs said.

Sitting recently in a conference room at the 167th base, Peggs was unable to suppress a smile when asked about her children.

"They're good kids," Peggs said. Both are outgoing, smart and play soccer, she added.

Peggs has been with the 167th for about three years, and previously served with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, which she joined immediately after high school.

She now works in airfield management, which requires that she inspect foreign airfields to ensure they comply with regulations for takeoffs and landings.

2 a.m. calls from Spain

In January, Peggs volunteered to go to Spain to work in an area that typically is where troops make their last stop before heading to Iraq, she said.

Peggs was in Spain for 70 days. She and her children exchanged handwritten letters once and talked on the phone almost daily, provided the phone lines were working.

"I talked to them before they went to school in the morning," Peggs said, noting that the time where she was stationed in Spain is six hours ahead of the time here.

If they wanted to talk at night, Peggs said she would wake up about 2 a.m.

Her son usually didn't talk too much - when Peggs was in Spain, he would ask his mother if she had seen any bulls - but her daughter talked more, Peggs said.

While she was in Spain, Peggs' best friend since middle school - Chanda Keesecker, also a member of the 167th - helped out, taking Kimberly to buy the equipment she needed to play recreation league soccer after Peggs faxed her paperwork listing the required items and clothing.

Keesecker and her husband also sometimes take the children on outings.

While Peggs is a single mother, she is not raising the children by herself.

"The biggest thing is I have a wonderful large family, so they are always with family. I never have to worry about them. I know they are being taken care of," Peggs said of her children. "I can't say enough good things about (my family)."

Not only do family members, including Peggs' parents, take care of Peggs' children, family and friends handle matters the way Peggs wants them handled, which she said is important.

"You can't really concentrate on your job if you don't know things are being taken care of," she said.

She now lives with her parents outside Hedgesville, W.Va., but said she hopes to buy a house of her own. Before heading to Spain, Peggs rented a home in Martinsburg, but it was sold to someone else while she was overseas.

Not yet had 'The Talk'

Peggs said she hasn't sat David and Kimberly down to talk with them about what could happen should she be deployed to a combat zone.

Other people, though, have questioned her about being a mother in the military, she said.

"They know it's something I feel I should do. It's my duty," she said. "I think that they understand people in the military are individuals that feel that is their duty, to (serve) their country."

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