By Suet Lee-Growney
During the few hours left with his Family, 1st Lt. Pablo Arroyo, 18th Field Artillery Brigade (FA Bde.), XVIII Airborne Corps, holds his son, Leo, 1, as the little boy high-fives his father and giggles.
Leo is too young to understand the breadth of a nine-month deployment, but his mother Jordan, who was beaming at her Family and soaking up the final memories together, did.
“It’s going to be hard staying back with the kids, but this is what we signed up for, so we knew it was going to come eventually,” Jordan said. “I feel good about it. I’m proud that he’s going.”
Jordan, who grew up as a military child and in the National Guard, said though she’s not a stranger to having to adapt to constant change and understands the culture of the military lifestyle, going through it as a mother and wife is not the same. Pablo, who had a similar upbringing, shared her sentiments.
“Experiencing my mother’s deployment, it’s a very different adjustment seeing it from this point of view (as a father and husband),” Pablo said. “Seeing my mom leaving me, and now it’s me leaving my kids.”
However, like many Army Families, resilience and readiness arethe center of their household. Jordan said as a Family unit, they had the opportunity to spend time bonding, communicating and connecting, particularly during the Christmas holidays. Hours before parting with her husband, she spoke and managed her son and 3-month-old baby daughter, Aña, without losing composure. The strength she exuded helped her husband focus on his duty and mission. Pablo said he’s proud of his wife.
“I’m not really worried about her at all; she’s really good,” Pablo said. “I’m just ready to get over there, get into the correct battle rhythm.”
Maj, Anthony Allen, 18th FA Bde., XVIII Abn. Corps, said within the unit, only Headquarters and Headquarters Brigade is deploying to Central Command Area of Responsibility (CENTCOM AOR) to assume the mission of Operation Spartan Shield in mid-January.
Over the course of a year leading up to the deployment, the brigade has gone through a full execution of tables and multiple field problems to train for the mission. Allen said they participated in three field training exercises, two warfighters and a culminating exercise called Arctic Anvil in Alaska.
During the season of temporary separation, Pablo will miss many important milestones with his wife and children. But the couple have worked up plans to stay bonded despite the distance and time difference.
“I love taking pictures of the kids,” Jordan said. “(Aña) gets a month picture (taken) every single month so we will send him that. And just so I can update her baby book so when he comes home he can look through and see what happened throughout the months that he was gone.”
Jordan also has a YouTube channel and plans on starting a series for their children to speak with Pablo called “Hello Daddy.”
“The kids can get on and say things like ‘Hi Daddy,’ and talk about different things that happened that week,” she said.
Apart from focusing on her kids, Jordan will take this time apart to grow as an individual.
“I definitely want to start working out more, keep my mind off him being gone all the time and I’m hopefully going to be in a (Licensed Practical Nurse) program in the end of the year,” she said.