For the families, the worrying begins

Hagerstown, Maugansville residents among soldiers deployed Friday

Hagerstown, Maugansville residents among soldiers deployed Friday

May 27, 2007|By KAREN HANNA

WASHINGTON COUNTY-Of all the fears of a military wife, the worst is discovering a strange car outside and watching people in uniform walk to the door.

Amanda Bussard said she tries not to think about it, but she said she worries how her daughters will deal with their father's deployment to Iraq.

"The worst part is saying, 'Your daddy's not coming home today, baby,'" said Bussard, 23, who talked by phone Thursday, the day before her husband, Sgt. Steve A. Bussard Jr., was scheduled to appear with his unit at a deployment ceremony in Frederick, Md.

About 120 soldiers with A Company, 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment were shipping out with the unit, according to 1st Lt. Wayde Minami of the Maryland Army National Guard.


Bussard, of Maugansville, said she believes her husband's second deployment - they married just before he shipped out for the first time in January 2005 - will be both easier and harder. When he first left, they had one daughter; now, they have two.

Sgt. Bussard's mother, Tina Bussard of Hagerstown, recently celebrated Mother's Day and her birthday with her son. She turned 50 Saturday.

"It's still the same worry: You don't know if they're going to run over an IED ... because they're .. they're going to go house to house probably," said Bussard, who admits she was against her son's decision to join the military.

"Nobody wants to see their kids go and be in harm's way," she said.

Bussard said her nephew, Pfc. Richard G. Harvey of Hagerstown, also is a member of the unit.

While her daughter-in-law said she tries to focus on positive thoughts, Tina Bussard acknowledged Wednesday she sometimes was stricken with anxiety the first time her son was at war.

Sometimes, she said, she even drove to her daughter-in-law's house to make sure the military's casuality-notification team wasn't waiting out front.

"I'd just ride out and see if there was a vehicle waiting on her to come home ... because they can come any time, day or night. It's just constant worry," Bussard said.

Despite her unease, she said she's proud of her son, who joined up in high school, then re-enlisted while in Iraq.

"He's military. That's his job," Tina Bussard said.

Amanda Bussard said she was working on a project with her daughters, 5-year-old Madison and 8-month-old Gabrielle, to create pillows with a picture of her husband's face. The pillows play recordings of his voice, she said, and they also have taped him reading bedtime stories aloud.

Amanda Bussard said she plans to take "a million pictures" while her husband is gone. She said the deployment is scheduled to last 12 months, including time for training.

Bussard said she tells Madison her father takes care of monsters.

"That's the main thing that we tell Madison - that Daddy's going to go fight the bad guys, so nobody will ever hurt you," Amanda Bussard said.

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