Families, friends, and Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, came together April 23, for a Spring Fling family picnic at Uchee Creek.
About 60 families from the “Speed and Power” gathered at the event, including Soldiers who didn’t deploy with the unit and are serving with the rear detachment.
“We exceeded the number of families expected,” said CPT Kwesi Ramsey, the battalion’s rear detachment commander. “We held a family Christmas party and had a tremendous showing at that. This is our second get-together.”
Ramsey has deployed eight times in his military career and will be uniting with the unit before their return in October.“I enjoy life as a Soldier and being here gives me the opportunity to see the other side,” he said.
“I get to see firsthand what the families go through — what it’s like to be a single parent, being the only one taking the kids to school, to sports. The spouses have a tough job.”
Andrea Ashe has been part of the battalion for nearly six years. Her husband, LTC Robert Ashe, the battalion’s commander, is on his third deployment with the unit after serving as their executive officer and operations officer.
“The spouses are really just awesome,” she said. “Setting something up like this is great. It lets the kids run and play while the spouses can sit and just meet the other wives.”
Ashe said there are many Soldiers and spouses new to the unit and the picnic is the first time they are meeting with other battalion wives.
“It’s important to do things like this,” she said.
“These wives are going through these hard times and they’re doing it without their husbands. We are helping each other get over that hill.”
“Not having the companionship of my husband is the hardest part of this deployment,” Karrie Martinez said, as she and her friend Tami Romo blew bubbles with four “Panther Battalion” children. “Getting involved and staying active helps pass the time.”
Martinez’s husband, PFC Rodney Martinez, serves with Romo’s husband, 1LT Guillermo Romo, in B Company, 2nd Bn., 69th Armor Regt.
“This deployment is easier than our previous deployments,” she said. “I think we were better prepared.”
Ashe said the Spring Fling event is the last scheduled event of its kind for the duration of the deployment.
The spouses can look forward to being able to spend the next scheduled event on the arm of their husbands, she said. The unit is planning to hold their battalion formal in November.
In the meantime the spouses can rest assured they are taken care of and know there is always support they can turn to.
“The families take care of each other,” Ramsey said. “Just like the Soldiers overseas get together every day, so do the spouses. And we (the rear detachment) are here 24 hours a day for them if they need anything.”