10 Country: “Little Military Surprise” - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: “Little Military Surprise”

March 18, 2002

Tifton-- The possible war with Iraq continues to strain families of service men and women , often separating members by thousands of miles, and not knowing if or when they will see their loved ones again.

History can repeat itself, on the home front even with the cries for war, where the sounds of a baby haven’t been heard for almost 25 years.

“They are a lot heavier than they use to be,” said Hal Speich of his grandson. But modern day babies have many of the same food choices, like Tootie-Fruitie desert, and the age-old meal time challenges.

The Speich’s got one of those life-changing phone calls as the talk of war got louder. “Yeah, he was a surprise,” says Marge Speich, temporary mother for 10-month old Ian, and a grandmother.

Her husband, Hal, a substitute daddy and granddaddy who finds a baby in the house shows how times have changed. “I don’t have the strength that he needs,” Hal admits. And he sleeps on the sofa, so he can hear if the baby cries during the night.

The Air Force transferred young Ian’s mother from McChord Air Force base in Tacoma,Washington to Charleston Air Force base in Charleston, South Carolina to prepare for war.

While she works hundreds of miles away from Ian, Ian finds his mother’s voice always close by. ‘Ian, mommy loves you.”

His dad works exceptionally long hours at the Tacoma Air Force base. Military daycare dried up for Ian as workers left Tacoma to go home, while their loved ones prepared to fight. Ian got transferred, not by the military but by his family, to South Georgia where he can see his military mom more often.

“Moms have a little more connection with children,” said Hal.

His re-location makes a lot of people happy. “We alternate with his other grandparents,” said Marge.

The Speich’s wanted more time with Ian, but he lived thousands of miles away on the West Coast. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy cause we had said we had wanted to spend more time with our grandson,” Marge says.

Creating their own war stories, as they look forward to telling Ian how the military made it possible for him to bring so much joy when so many military families feel such sadness.

posted at 10:25AM by dave.miller@walb.com