Deployment can be tough on families

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer

It could be Thursday, Friday or even Saturday, but after more than five months, Jennie Halfmann knows her husband is coming home from deployment soon.

Msgt. Robert Halfmann is one of approximately 300 Cannon Air Force Base airmen returning this week from Iraq, base spokesperson Sgt. Brandon Seals said Tuesday. The majority will return Thursday, he said.

After more than 17 years married to an active duty man, Jennie Halfmann said she has become used to him being away. She knows what to expect, she said.

“(I’m) excited — nervous, I just can’t wait to see him again,” she said.

She and 14-year-old daughter Courtney plan to celebrate missed birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and anniversaries with him when he returns, she said.

“We’ve just got to get it all into one day.”

There will be some differences this time, she said.

Nearing retirement, the couple had their dream home built in Portales and she had to move in by herself while he processed for the deployment. Two days later he was gone, she said.

“This is the house we had planned and built all our lives and he had to leave — I’m just so used to (deployments), I expect it anymore,” she said.

Deanna Parton was also anxiously awaiting the return of her husband, who has been deployed since September. He is expected to arrive tonight.

She and her 4-year-old son John were planning dinner complete with a chocolate cake, she said.

“(John) misses him terribly. He’s so excited, he’s totally psyched. He’s tired of mom,” she said, laughing.

In four years of marriage, it is the second time her husband Senior Airman James Parton has gone on a long deployment.

“Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder (but) it’s tough because that’s when everything bad happens,” she said, explaining carpet crews were at her home Tuesday afternoon pulling up water damaged carpet from a flooded washing machine.

Overall, deployments are just a part of life she accepts, she said, though there is some adjustment involved.

“The (T.V) remote’s not going to be mine anymore. All of a sudden I have to include him in all my plans. The deployments, they don’t bother me — I’m pretty independent. I was by myself before him,” she said.