Four siblings plan for deployment to Middle East

Posted 3/12/09

Because Brian's wife, Pamela, had to have a Caesarean delivery, he was allowed to stay home to take care of her and the baby.

But two of his brothers, Stacey and Steven, and a sister, Natalie, are training in Guernsey in preparation for a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Four siblings plan for deployment to Middle East


{gallery}03_12_09/hiser{/gallery}Brian Hiser and his wife, Pamela, hold their newborn son, Jacob Andrew, as they prepare to leave Powell Hospital on Tuesday. Jacob will be 6 weeks old when his father leaves for a year-long deployment to Kuwait in support of the war in Iraq. Tribune photo by Ilene OlsonJacob Andrew Hiser made his debut in the world on Saturday, March 7 — the same day his father, Brian Hiser of Lovell, was supposed to begin a three-week training with the National Guard at Guernsey.

Because Brian's wife, Pamela, had to have a Caesarean delivery, he was allowed to stay home to take care of her and the baby.

But two of his brothers, Stacey and Steven, and a sister, Natalie, are training in Guernsey in preparation for a year-long deployment to Kuwait. Brian will join his siblings on April 19 or 20 when they leave for additional training in Texas, and when they ship off to Kuwait a few weeks after that.

The four siblings from Lovell will deploy with combined Wyoming Army National Guard units from Lovell and Worland, which will provide protection for convoys to and from Iraq.

After the Guernsey training, and before their deployment, Stacey, Steven, Natalie and Brian hope to finish remodeling their parents' home, a rental duplex and the recently-purchased Cattleman's Motel — two of them while working other jobs as well.

It's an ambitious schedule, to say the least. But they know if the projects aren't done by then, it will be least another year before they can get back to them.

The Hiser family, which consists of parents Roger and Janice and their 13 children, is no stranger to military service. Dad Roger served “five years, nine months, 26 days, eight hours and 14 minutes” in the Marine Corps in the 1950s. He served 14 months of that time in Korea during the war there. He also served 12 years in the Marine Reserve.

An older brother, William, was the first of the Hiser children to join the Wyoming National Guard. He and twins Steven and Stacey deployed to Iraq in 2005.

Brian deployed in 2004.

An older sister, Teresa, served in the National Guard about the same time and also was deployed to Iraq.

Their reasons for joining the National Guard are as individual as the siblings, who are four of the five youngest children in the Hiser family.

Brian, 24, “joined to prove I could do it.”

Steven and Stacey, 28, signed up to help them pay for college educations.

Stacey attended Northwest College last fall, working toward the pre-requisites he'll need to enter the nursing program when he gets back. He plans to take online courses while he's deployed as well.

For Natalie, 26, joining the military was a lifelong goal.

“It's something I had always wanted to do,” she said.

Because they're active in sports and physically fit, Steven, Stacey, Natalie and Brian agreed that basic training wasn't the horrible experience for them that others often describe.

“They break you down, then they build you back up,” Steven said.

The siblings consider being deployed at the same time a good thing.

“Being together, you don't have to worry about the others. You know what they're doing,” Brian said.

Besides being able to support one another, they are members of the local unit, the 920th Forward Support Company out of Lovell, and have a built-in support system, Steven said.

Since three of the siblings have been deployed before, they know what to expect, at least where the weather is concerned.

“Just a lot of heat — up to 140 degrees, and 120 degrees in the shade,” Brian said. “Then, during the winter, it's 90 degrees in the day and 30 degrees at night.”

William experienced the most homesickness during his deployment, his siblings said, because he left a wife and a 10-week-old baby at home.

This time, it's Brian's turn. Little Jacob will be about 6 weeks old when his father leaves for his year-long deployment — and more than 1 year old when Brian returns.

Pamela said she's glad Brian was home for the baby's birth, but “I'm going to miss him a lot” after he deploys. Still, she added, “I'm proud of what he's doing.”

The twins and Natalie all are single.

Roger said he supports his children's decisions to join the National Guard.

“They have to live their own life,” he said. “I can't live it for them. I've always told them, whatever they do, they need to do their best.”

Roger said he's impressed with the unit commander, who he believes will put the safety and welfare of the soldiers first.

Roger said he's not worried about his kids as they head to Kuwait and Iraq.

“More people are killed by drunk drivers than in the war,” he said. “I expect them to come home safely and well, and that's the way it is.

“I am more worried about the politics than the actual battles,” he added. “Sometimes, with political aspects, people lose sight of the fact that there are men and women bleeding for them.”

But, Roger noted, “Mothers' (feelings) are different.”

This family's mother, Janice, said it's hard not to worry as she thinks of sending four of her children into harm's way. Their past deployments were under relatively-safe conditions, with Steven, Stacey and William assigned to help rebuild infrastructure, and Brian providing protection for the interim government.

“This time, I'm not sure,” Janice said. “You never know where they are, and (enemies) might decide to test the new Obama presidency.

“It never gets easier,” she concluded. “But they made the decision to join the National Guard in high school. There are benefits, and this is just one of the prices you pay for those benefits. At least they will be over there together.”

As they plan to deploy, Steven, Stacey, Natalie and Brian say they are thankful they're going together and with members of the same community.

“We all know each other. We grew up together,” Steven said. “I think that's going to help us out. We'll be with all of our buddies. A lot of them have been through a lot together. It would take a lot to take that apart.”

But they realize the close bonds they have with each other and members of their squads and platoons carry possible emotional pitfalls as well.