Arizona Army National Guard Deployment a Test for Soldiers and Families - Tucson News Now

Arizona Army National Guard Deployment a Test for Soldiers and Families

By J.D. Wallace, KOLD News 13 Reporter

Hundreds of men and women with the Arizona Army National Guard First Battalion, 285th Aviation Regiment have already been living like soldiers in Fort hood, Texas, but they're about to begin one year in Afghanistan.  What is a test for the soldiers is also a test for their families.

"It is really, really tough and I wish that my little Thomas and Alex and Catherine know that I love them and I think about my wife every minute," Staff Sgt. Joel Mann said in Fort Hood back on January 10th.

"My husband is a really soft spoken person and handles boys a lot better than I do, especially when Thomas is concerned.  He has more ways of connecting with Thomas than I do," said Nathalie Mann, Joel's wife, in Tucson on Wednesday.

Thomas is Joel and Nathalie Mann's eight year old son, and Nathalie says he's autistic.  A copy of our news stories with Joel are important to her because she thinks they're important to Thomas.

"I can see seeing Dad on TV helped out, because he's able to sit down," Nathalie said about Thomas.

But Thomas isn't the only one who can use some comfort.  Nathalie worries what might happen once Joel returns.

"Especially at night when the children are asleep.  That's when you say, 'What if?' What if they'll need him more in Iraq and decide to send him there?" Nathalie said.

It would mean more sacrifices.  Joel, a Tucson Police sergeant, has already been away from his job since May to train for his assignment.  Nathalie can only work part time as a paramedic firefighter so that she can tend to Thomas.

The 23rd anniversary of her marriage to Joel is Thursday.

"If I could, I would go for him, so he wouldn't have to, but I have to support him and it's what he wanted to do and he has to do," Nathalie said.

About 450 men and women with the 1-285th Armed Reconnaissance Battalion could go to Afghanistan at any moment.  The military doesn't like to give out specific dates for security reasons.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Parents make heartbreaking decision over son with autism

    Parents make heartbreaking decision over son with autism

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:10 AM EDT2017-05-24 15:10:16 GMT
    KMOV has chosen not to identify him by name or show pictures of what he currently looks like. (Credit: Wallens)KMOV has chosen not to identify him by name or show pictures of what he currently looks like. (Credit: Wallens)

    A parent's love knows no bounds. But what happens when you truly believe your child is going to harm himself or someone else? One family tells News 4 they made a heartbreaking decision about their son with autism, all because they felt they had no other options. 

    A parent's love knows no bounds. But what happens when you truly believe your child is going to harm himself or someone else? One family tells News 4 they made a heartbreaking decision about their son with autism, all because they felt they had no other options. 

  • Pregnant teen blocked from walking at graduation

    Pregnant teen blocked from walking at graduation

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 2:45 AM EDT2017-05-24 06:45:22 GMT
    Wednesday, May 24 2017 2:45 AM EDT2017-05-24 06:45:22 GMT

    The school principal says the student and her parents signed a covenant, vowing the teen wouldn’t have sex.

    The school principal says the student and her parents signed a covenant, vowing the teen wouldn’t have sex.

  • Graco to recall 25,000 child car seats

    Graco to recall 25,000 child car seats

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:29 AM EDT2017-05-24 10:29:58 GMT
    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:50 AM EDT2017-05-24 15:50:05 GMT

    The seat webbing may tear, not adequately restraining the child in a crash, according to testing by the Naitonal Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

    The seat webbing may tear, not adequately restraining the child in a crash, according to testing by the Naitonal Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Powered by Frankly