WTOC Teams Up with Army for Satellite Reunion

Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Stidley appears on a monitor at WTOC.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Stidley appears on a monitor at WTOC.

SAVANNAH, GA--Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Stidley, stationed in Iraq, got the chance to speak with his wife and daughter in real time. WTOC teamed up with the Army so Stidley and his family could see and talk to each other via satellite.

It's the moment daughter Sarah and wife Janine Stidley have been waiting for for a long time.

"I just want to say I love you, and I'm proud of you and miss you," said Sarah.

This is Sgt. Maj. Stidley's fourth time in Iraq since 9/11. When this tour ends he'll have spent just about four full years away from his family.

"There are times I feel alone," said Janine. "He's my best friend and I miss him, you know, for those little things."

But today the waiting to see him ended.

"It was like Christmas and see all the presents under the Christmas tree that's how it was," said Sarah. "I was giddy and happy."

And so was Stidley, grinning from to ear to ear as he said five little words: "Hey baby I love you."

Sarah is the oldest of three and misses her dad tremendously.

"It gets harder the older you get, and I was younger when he left the last couple of times," she said. "I didn't understand it was a war and it's dangerous."

Having her dad on the other side of the world isn't keeping her from making him proud. She is a star student and was recently featured on the cover of Junior Scholastic Magazine.

"She does very well at school, can't be more proud of her," said Sgt. Maj. Stidley. "She is on the high honor roll and I credit her mom for most of that."

"I'm extremely proud of all three of my daughters," said Janine. "They are such little troopers, they have been through this, they are great."

After about a half an hour, it was time to say goodbye.

"I love you, see you in 25 days," said Janine Stidley.

"You take good care of the girls give them a kiss for me," said Sgt. Maj. Stidley.

"You take care of yourself," said Janine.

The long-distance visit maybe be over now, but the memory is one the Stidley family will not forget

"It was very nice to see him, he really looks good," said Janine.

They'll get to see him again very soon, this time in person. Next month, he'll be home for 18 days.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley, bkelley@wtoc.com