When I think of duty, I think of what we are told to “do”. Some action that society, morality, or some person in a superior position commands us to perform. Today I learned that buzzing in the background of every action that duty requires are all the other things we might want to be doing, places we may wish to be…people we wish to see. For every decision a service member makes to do their duty, there are many other dutiful things that they forsake in service of our country. And some of those things buzzing in the background of a dutiful service member are the people they love, who support them, and carry on without their immediate help, struggle through the difficulties life brings, and hope and pray to see their loved ones home safe and sound. I believe that these family members risk “everything” for their country too because a loved one can truly be “everything” to a young family. And that is what this story is about:
Jonathon Woloshuk, a Wisconsin native and Packers fan, found himself on duty, deployed in Afghanistan while his wife Molly, was pregnant with their soon-to-be-born little girl Olivia. Duty kept them apart during the birth, But why don’t I let him tell you the story in his own words:
“My full name is Jonathon Woloshuk. I have been serving with the United States Army for 7 years. I am an Infantry Captain, originally from Greendale, WI. My wife’s name is Molly, she grew up in Racine, and my daughter’s name is Olivia.
Following my Officer Basic Course, I was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (in Anchorage, Alaska) as a Platoon Leader where I deployed to East Paktika in Afghanistan for 12 months.
Following that assignment, I was moved to Fort Bliss (in El Paso, Texas) where I am currently a Company Commander in 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment.
I came down on orders to deploy for my second (9 months this time) tour to Afghanistan in May 2013. My wife and I found out she was pregnant after finishing a month long training event at Fort Irwin, California. She ended up getting pregnant about 6-8 weeks before I was to deploy. My primary job this time in Afghanistan was to secure a border crossing site in Northern Afghanistan on the Uzbekistan Border that was an alternate exit point for equipment being moved out of the country (the primary point was on the border of Pakistan). I was also in charge of shutting down a Combat Outpost that housed about 120 US Military and approximately 200 civilian contractors.
I was able to participate in most of my wife’s appointments and the ultrasounds with Skype as we had pretty good internet services at my outpost (unlike my first tour, where I was at a very tiny, outlying outpost on the Pakistan border that had limited mail and no phones nor internet).
I was also able to participate in my daughter’s birth on 8 July 2014 via Skype as well, which was a wonderful experience comparatively (obviously as you know it would have been much better to be there in person). It was actually good timing too, as we had to tear down our internet and phone services about a week later as we got ready to close the outpost.
I got to meet Olivia for the first time besides talking to her on Skype on 14 September 2014 when I
landed on Fort Bliss. It was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was pretty difficult missing the birth and some of the other parts of my wife’s pregnancy, however there were several other Soldiers in my unit that either had a child very early on in the deployment or had a new born when they left, and I can definitely say coming home to a 2 months old that was just becoming her own person was much better than coming home to a walking talking 1 year old like some people did.”
As a Father, I know the excitement of getting to see your kids after being overseas. But I have never been in the military, and have never had to miss one of my children’s birth. To me, this story just highlights the sacrifices that our service women and men and their spouses, children, parents and grandparents make in service of our country. May we be ever grateful for those sacrifices, and to Jon and Molly, congratulations on your beautiful daughter Olivia! To ALL our service men and women, THANK YOU! We thank your families as well! All of you do your duty each day, prioritizing the freedom that keeps your families (and all of us) safe for the time you would wish to spend with them and all the other things you would like to dutifully do.
OK Packernation, say a quick “Congrats” to Captain Woloshuk and Molly on their beautiful baby Olivia. And also a quick “THANK YOU!” to service men and women everywhere around the globe! Or, if you have time, send a special message in the comments section below!
We hope all our Veterans have a great day and that we will never take for granted the freedom they protect.