Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Band of Brothers

Today's guest blogger is Marti Kubena who writes "The Kubena Family" blog.  A military spouse, Marti talks about that intangible bond that Soldiers forge when serving in combat together.
When we went to take family pictures, neither Bryan nor I planned on actually being in any of them. But they wanted to do several shots of the baby that required us to hold her.

This is probably my favorite picture of Georgia from the session. We ended up buying this picture, but our copy is zoomed in enough that you don't see Bryan's Texans jersey.

Before he took the pictures, the photographer asked Bryan to take off his watch and bracelet. The watch, sure, but he said NO to taking off the black bracelet.

It is just one of those rubber bracelets that you see for many different causes these days. But it was given to him by one of his buddies in Iraq. And the Soldiers gave them out to the other Soldiers that they felt honored to be serving with. To be at war with. And then it became a reminder of the guys from Bryan's unit that were killed in battle during that deployment. For Bryan, and his buddies, it's a reminder of Sgt Cody Legg.

And he does not take it off.

He has not taken it off for two and a half years.
I'm so used to it that I don't even notice it anymore. The kids know not to play with it. He rarely wears his wedding ring, but he always wears this little black bracelet. And I don't mind that at all.

As cute as Georgie is, I love this picture for more than just her.

I love that Bryan said "NO" to pushing aside the memories of his buddies, even for a few moments.

For more information on deployment, visit Army Well-Being: Deployment Cycle Support.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ten Years Later ... An Army Mom's Reflections

Today's guest blogger is Karen Estrada, MS,  with the"Military Health Matters!" blog. 

Not only does Karen focus on military health, working with Milhealth's Directory of Military Health Information, Resources, and Research, but she's also a military mom.  She has one son in the Army and has experienced first-hand the life of supporting a loved one in the armed services.

Read here as she describes what she's learned in the past ten years since her son first entered the service.

“Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door, who is it for? All the lonely people, where do they all come from, all the lonely people, where do they all belong?”

Today is the 10th anniversary of OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom). Ten years? Where did the time go? Ten years ago my son, freshly 18 was finally hearing his last name barked out during formation by his DI). Think back, those of you who are military moms, parents, spouses… could you have imagined ‘now’ ten years ago?

So what have you learned?

I learned how to color my own hair, that yelling at the TV can be therapeutic, that I can cry at any McDonalds in Fayetteville, NC (Ft. Bragg), I’ve learned that I can’t fix everything, I’ve learned sometimes all I can do is hold my daughter-in-law’s hand quietly while she weeps, I learned what a capable, strong woman she is.

I've learned how to pack a ‘mean’ care package, I’ve learned that my cell phone “is” part of my body, I learned how to pronounce the names of places I'd never heard of before, I’ve learned how to exist on less than 3 hours sleep at times, I’ve learned to pray a lot more… and I’ve learned God doesn’t ‘really’ make deals with us (even if we think so). I’ve learned how to make the kind of friends you feel you’ve known your entire life.

I’ve learned to become more outspoken, and I’ve learned when I need to keep my mouth closed. I’ve learned 101 witty responses to well-meaning but clueless questions, I’ve learned to accept hugs from total strangers, I’ve learned not to be upset over insignificant things, I’ve learned reverence. I learned how to be a compassionate leader.

I’ve learned about ‘deep in the gut’ sorrow, I’ve learned how to talk with someone who’s lost their child, about tragedy and death, I learned about ‘that deep sigh of relief', I’ve learned its okay to cry on my son’s shoulder before he leaves, that I don’t have to ‘suck it up’….

After four deployments, I’ve learned how to pace myself, the worry and anxiety. Okay, well, I’m still learning that one.

What have you learned? What are you still learning?

~ Karen Estrada, MS “Milhealth” Proud Army Mom!

SFC Juan Hernandez, Mortars. 2-505 PIR, 3rd BCT 82nd Airborne. Ft. Bragg, NC
Lyrics, Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) 1966.

For more information just for Army parents, visit Army Well-Being: Army Parents.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Guest Bloggers ... Report for Duty!

We are hosting guest bloggers at Army Well-Being and would love to include YOU.  If you are a blogger (or just have great stories to tell), let us know!  We accept entries from US Army Soldiers, spouses, Family members, support organizations, and troop supporters.

Most importantly ...

We focus on news, information, stories, and tips that are helpful for US Army Soldiers and their Families.

If you have a story to tell that fits that criteria, we want YOU!  Read on for more details.

Guest bloggers must:

  • be the original author of the posts (no duplicates of other stories/posts)
  • provide information/resources relevant to US Army Soldiers/Families
  • agree to have a post duplicated on the Army Well-Being blog
  • agree to have their blog (or website or Twitter account) linked on the Army Well-Being blog
  • provide a photo to include with the blog post (preferably a personal photo)
Are you interested in sharing some of your Army stories?  The best blog entries also fit some other basic criteria:

  • Between 500 - 1000 words
  • Free of grammatical and spelling errors
  • Written in first person (I experienced this ... I have a story to share ...)
  • Personal account of Army life
  • Educational and interesting to Soldiers and Families 
Here's how it works:
We would post your entry on our blog then link back to your blog. We would also feature your post through our Facebook page and Twitter account.
For an examples of guest postings, see these great posts:

 If you are interested, please send us the URL links you think would be most relevant along with one photo for each posting. You can also email us your post in a Word document with a photo attached.
Thanks for considering this opportunity ... we love to tell the Army story and appreciate YOU for your service and sacrifice.

Please email us at, "like" us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

And as always, visit us online at