As he puts the phone down, he turns to his wife as Staff Sgt. Mike Waggoner and tells her, "well, I guess the rumors are true". On the other end of the line was his commander out of Oskaloosa telling him that he was to receive his order to deploy to Afghanistan in July of the following year. This was a stunning but not fully unexpected call. His response said that. Staff Sgt. Waggoner began to think of a million different thoughts, but not for long. His wife's cellphone rings. Her call seems eerily the same. As she puts the phone down, she turns to her husband as Sgt. Teri Waggoner with news that she too has received her orders for deployment. Now what, they both think?
The remainder of the weekend for the Waggoners in Nebraska was a blur. Mike felt it gave both he Teri an opportunity to be around family and not focus much on the news they'd just received, no matter how difficult that might have been. It's hard to imagine both husband and wife receiving orders within minutes of each other to deploy. I'd be surprised if anyone else can top that "deployment news" experience. Perhaps that's a story in itself. "Try And Top How I Was Notified For My Deployment".
After returning from Nebraska, the Waggoners turned to the matter at hand. How were they going to make this work for their family? "Where would the girls go, would they go stay with their grandparents? All sorts of thoughts were racing through our minds", Mike said. Then four weeks later some other news came. This time of a much different variety.
During Staff Sgt. Mike Waggoner's monthly weekend work in Oskaloosa came word that someone else would be taking his place on the call up list. Waggoner, who was scheduled for his 20-year retirement in January in 2011, would stay home. His back-up would go instead. The strategy needed to be altered, now, at least one of them would be home for the girls. For Mike and Teri, for the girls, for relatives, for friends and for church family it meant they could work towards providing some sort of normalcy. So for roughly the next six months they planned as much as possible.
Mike's full time job as a bus driver for the Johnston School District meant travel to and from school for Melissa, Tiffany and Morgan in Ankeny would be of the greatest concern. Once that was addresesed, then extra-curricular events needed to be considered. Melissa wanted to play volleyball and Tiffany had sights on honor choir. One by one, tasks were "game planned". But quickly the date for Teri's departure grew close. July 30th was here before they knew it.
|(L to R) Tiffany, Morgan, Sgt. Teri, Melissa and Mike prior to the Storm Lake departure|
"That's when I went kind of numb", Mike reflected. "It felt real but not with alot of certainty. There were alot of tears, me, the girls, everyone." To help ease as much of the pain as possible, a good part of the Waggoner clan went out to eat at a Storm Lake restaurant. Hours later, Mike and his three daughters arrived home. Drained. The journey had begun, ready or not......
WHEN MOM DEPLOYS-PART 2
School begins, Holidays, And More......