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Never Alone

By Shannon Holifield

We were stationed at Holloman in the early 70s. The squadron was being mobilized and sent to some far away place called Viet Nam. The base commander was a prudent fellow and encouraged all families to move into base housing. We did.

Dad was gone, mom was in charge, my little 4 year-old brother was now “man of the house.”

One afternoon I remember mom crying; she told me that she was sick of not getting through. She started calling other wives and soon, they were at our house. Wives and kids. The ladies talked and we were sent outside. It became a normal course.

One afternoon, a jeep pulled up to the house and the BC and a chaplain got out. I watched from the window as they walked up to the house. They spoke to my mom for a few minutes and then mom came in. I remember holding my breath (we knew what this meant). She said, “I need you and your brother to go next door and stay there until I get back”.

We didn’t ask questions, we went.

This went on daily. They would come, mom would leave and we would go next door. Sometimes she was gone for hours and always when she came to get us, it looked like she had been crying, but there was always a smile on her face for us.

At some point I think I realized why they were getting her, as the group that came to the house would get smaller and the kids in class would be taken out.

It wasn’t until years later that mom talked about it though. She told me that she was going to the houses of wives that were being told their husband was not coming back. She hated the task, but she said she would be damned if those women were going to face that time alone.

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