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Deploying moms support each other, squadron family

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jennie Chamberlin
  • 624th RSG Public Affairs
When Senior Airman Khrysallis Santos volunteered for a five-month deployment, she knew she would have to prepare her two young daughters as well. 

Santos, a single mom and a reservist with the 44th Aerial Port Squadron based out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, said that while getting ready to deploy can be overwhelming, the key to a successful deployment is careful preparation and garnering support from your family and friends.

"My girls and I are really close, so whenever I go away I have to prepare them months in advance," said Airman Santos. "I tell them that by sacrificing the little bit of time with me, they're serving their country too. I try to give them the sense that they're part of something bigger."

Legal paperwork, talking to the children and to the children's schools, and making sure finances are in order are all part of the pre-deployment process.

Airman Santos tried to call her daughters every day when she was away, and relied upon her parents to care for the girls while she was gone. While she said it was difficult to be away from her family, she said she found support in her squadron family, including Tech. Sergeants Monica Santos and Michelle Quichocho, other 44th Aerial Port squadron members and single mothers who volunteered to deploy.

Sergeant Santos, said that the support of her family is what allowed her to volunteer for a deployment more than once. Sergeant Santos left her school-age daughter and young grandchild in the care of her adult son and daughter and her parents.

"I've taught my children to be very independent, and they take care of everything while I'm gone," said Santos.

Sergeant Quichocho, who has an adult son, said though he worried about her deploying, she explained to him that she felt it was important for her to have the experience that comes with deploying. Sergeant Quichocho said she felt deploying gave her the opportunity to learn her job inside and out.

Sergeant Santos agreed, and said that the fast-paced work environment of deployment helped her learn her job efficiently.

All the mothers said that deploying as a group made all the difference during deployment, and that people took notice. 

"People used to say to me, 'wow, you guys from Guam are always together," said Sergeant Santos. "We'd eat together and hang out together, and if anyone needed to talk or anything, we were there for each other."

"The chamorro culture is really about family," said Airman Santos. "We all take care of each other."

The mothers also share a commitment to their aerial port mission and look forward to deploying again.

Airman Santos said of her squadron, "We really love what we do, and we're really good at what we do." 

"We'll go and we'll go and we'll keep going as long as they need us to."