Military Families (03:33)
Army Reserve Specialist Samantha Marie Van Fossen says goodbye to her family. A volunteer, professional military force is engaging in the longest period of sustained combat in U.S. history; long term impacts on military children are unknown.
Gruba Family (03:56)
In DuPont, Washington, Staff Sergeant Leo Gruba prepares for his sixth deployment assisting in reconstructing Iraq. His wife Serena Marie, a nurse, is expecting their second child. He has learned to share the traumatic aspects of war with her.
Preparing for Deployment (02:32)
Serena Marie discusses telling her six year old son L.J. about his father's time in Iraq. Military men and women talk about their spouses' support. Secretary of Defense Deputy Assistant Rosemary Freitas Williams says families also serve.
French Family (03:50)
Colonel Jeffrey Wellington French and his wife Katherine are high school sweethearts. Their children were born in Alaska, Georgia, and New York. The children reflect on constantly changing schools and having to make new friends.
Toll on Children (05:09)
Katherine French unpacks quickly to make each new home comfortable. Sarah, Annemarie and Kyle recall saying goodbye to their father when he was deployed to Afghanistan. Dr. Patricia Lester identifies a relationship between cumulative deployments and child stress symptoms.
Holliday Family (03:52)
Commander Master Chief Veronica Cochero Holliday has served for 19 years. She recalls her parents' reaction to her enlistment. She and her husband Michael have three children; he discusses being a stay-at-home father.
Missing Mommy (04:09)
Veronica's children struggled to understand her absence due to a naval career. She was able to stay on shore and be involved with her youngest daughter. Military spouses discuss making sacrifices for their partners' careers.
Postponed Deployment (04:08)
Serena Marie is experiencing pregnancy complications. Leo's commander tells him to delay deployment until the baby is born; he finds it challenging to stay behind without his soldiers. Experts discuss conflicting loyalties felt by service people.
Lee Family (04:00)
Sargent James Christopher Lee entered the U.S. Army after being a journalist. Lisa McSwain Lee joined after teaching high school biology. James was soon deployed to Afghanistan.
Injured in Combat (04:22)
James describes being hit by a rocket propelled grenade in Afghanistan; he nearly died. Lisa recalls being notified by her commanding officer and reads a letter she wrote to him.
Afghanistan Veteran (03:49)
Lisa stayed with James at Walter Reed; he has had 23 surgeries for wounds from a rocket attack. During rehabilitation, he focused on returning to his unit.
Combat Bonds (04:19)
General Ray Odierno discusses balancing the army and family. Jeffrey French has always wanted to lead a battalion; he compares the responsibility to parenting. Katherine supported the families of his soldiers. There were ten casualties during deployment in Afghanistan.
Leadership Challenges (03:52)
Five soldiers in Jeffrey's battalion were involved in the illegal deaths of Afghan civilians. He and Katherine tried to protect their children from the media coverage as he came to terms with being ultimately responsible for the incidents.
Petty Family (04:39)
Staff Sergeant Renner Petty Jr. and Technical Sergeant Sherrika LaShay Petty met while deployed in Kyrgyzstan. Sherrika was diagnosed with CML; she considers her daughter Kylie a miracle. They discuss challenges of dual military parenting.
Noble Family (04:08)
Healthcare and education benefits help recruit a volunteer military. Vermont Air National Guard Senior Master Sergeant Peter Noble runs a plumbing business and reports for duty once a month. He has mostly been deployed on humanitarian missions.
Military Career Decisions (03:26)
Peter's daughters worried during his deployment to Afghanistan. He promised them he would not serve another long term tour but wants to commit to three more years in the Vermont Air National Guard, to reach his ranking goal.
After the Vietnam War, officials shifted capabilities to the Guard and Reserve. With protracted conflicts in the Middle East, they have been deployed often—putting strain on families. Peter becomes a Chief Master Sergeant with his family's support, fulfilling a lifelong goal.
Family Sacrifices (06:06)
Leo enjoys time with his newborn son before deployment. Serena Marie prepares mentally to function as a family without him. Spouses talk about trying to stay optimistic about their loved ones' safety.
Gonzalez Family (05:12)
Misty Sue Gonzalez' husband Ramiro has been in the Marine Corps for 18 years. He has missed the births of two of their three children. His son Alex discusses his father's deployments; he will return in a few weeks.
Homecoming Challenges (04:55)
Ramiro returns from deployment to Misty and their three children. During the first few weeks, he feels out of place; they experience marital tension. He regrets not communicating more while overseas.
Returning to Domestic Life (02:06)
Service men and women discuss challenges of relearning to relate to their families and finding a routine. Post-deployment periods are the most stressful on military families.
Faris Family (03:45)
Special Operations Command Sergeant Major Chris Faris and his wife Lisa share their marital challenges. He asked her never to pressure him to choose between career and family.
Accepting Death (03:40)
While deployed to Somalia, Chris believed he would die. From that point, he had to distance himself from his family in order to function psychologically. Lisa reflects on the decision to marry a man employed in a high risk profession.
Disconnect between War and Homelife (05:13)
During the 2005 surge in Iraq, Chris' task force began losing soldiers. The stress strained his marriage and he became verbally abusive to Lisa and their daughters. He felt they failed to understand his situation or respect his combat experiences.
Leading by Example (06:17)
General Martin Dempsey discusses the dichotomy between the combat "family" and the home family. Chris decided to share his experience of marital difficulties so that younger service men and women could work on their own relationships.
A Fresh Start (05:31)
Misty and Romiro are moving to Japan; Romiro has been promoted. They discuss how their relationship has improved since he returned home. James and Lisa talk about how James' impending deployment will affect their relationship progress.
Retaining Military Families (03:40)
Kyle French explains his decision to follow in his father's military footsteps. Service men and women and military spouses introduce themselves. General Dempsey emphasizes the importance of home support for the U.S. Armed Forces.
Credits: The Homefront (00:30)
Credits: The Homefront
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