Parents of Bay Area servicemen and women deployed overseas know their sons and daughters could be called into action in Afghanistan or any of the other hotspots in the Middle East at a moment’s notice.
The video and images coming out of Afghanistan over the past three days have many parents of Bay Area troops on edge.
“Unless you’re in that situation, you just can’t understand it,” said Darby Johnson.
Johnson is the mother of two infantry Marines. She formed a support group on Facebook three years ago called “Military Mommas of Marin and Sonoma County,” after both of her sons enlisted and were deployed at the same time.
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“Within hours of posting the group, I had moms calling looking for support and friendship and information,” she said.
After 13 U.S. service members were killed in the suicide bombings at the Kabul Airport last Thursday, hundreds of moms reached out to the group for support and information.
They included a Bay Area mom of another Marine, who was actually serving at the gate where the bombings occurred just hours before the attacks.
“About 15 minutes after she got the text from her son saying ‘I’m okay’ she received two calls from other moms, saying they had had the knock on the door the night before,” Johnson said.
Many concerns are weighing on military moms daily.
“Knowing my son could be called up at any time, it’s a little different now,” said Beth Cheatham.
For Cheatham, her worry now is what will happen with all of the U.S. military equipment left behind and in the hands of the Taliban or maybe even ISIS. Her 19-year-old son is on a transport team with a Marine’s logistics group.
“When my son is driving in a combat area, he has to be able to say that’s a foe or that’s friendly,” she said.
Members of the moms group are there to listen and maybe offer some positive information or a calming voice.
Cheatham told NBC Bay Area Sunday that it’s already helped her find peace in knowing what this service means to her son, who always wanted to be a Marine and a fireman.
“He wants to be there and stand up for his country. So as his mom, I’m going to support him,” she said.
The moms and their children offering solace and sensitivity to one another as they too do their parts as parent patriots in service to one another and their country.
“I can’t imagine a life of not being a military family. I can’t imagine my kids not serving. I can’t imagine a life where my kids didn’t do their part,” Johnson said.