For Sgt. James Stone, New Year's has a whole new meaning. Monday, Fort Stewart's Third Division got orders they'll deploy in a matter of days, and he'll say goodbye to wife Carol and daughter Christina. With possible combat in the Middle East, he's determined to focus on business.
"It's not something to start thinking about," he said. "You'll get depressed about leaving if you do stuff special."
During Desert Storm a decade ago, when soldiers deployed, families packed up and went home. Since then, the Army has done more for families to make the Fort Stewart community their home. With troops facing dangers in combat, leaders of the Family Readiness Group want the soldiers' last concern to be their families. That helps the Army win wars and keep its soldiers.
"Soldiers look to spouses and significant others when making their decisions to stay in the Army," said Susan Wilder of the Family Readiness Group. "So you enlist soldiers, but you reenlist families."
Carol Stone says she'll stay at Fort Stewart to run their house and help younger spouses adjust to time apart.
"That's your support, cause they know what you're going through, cause they're going through the same thing, so you need their support," she said.
Carol says peace of mind about family is the one weapon soldiers get from home.
Of course, no one at Fort Stewart or Hunter can confirm where these soldiers are going or exactly when. But we know the Third Division is the rapid deployment division, and knowing their reputation for desert fighting and the problems with Iraq, they probably don't need snowshoes.
In the last two months, we've talked with soldiers and spouses and they're very businesslike. There is enormous pride knowing they're the problem solvers for the world.