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Tampa Bay area military families call for support after deployment

Posted at 10:30 AM, Jan 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 14:46:40-05

TAMPA, Fla. — While troops deploy overseas, local military families are weighing in.

"Honestly what went through my head was how proud I was of him and really anyone that serves," said Megan McLemore, who lives in the Tampa Bay area.

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On New Years Day, she said her 22-year old cousin, Justus, was deployed out of Ft. Bragg. She said he was newly married a month ago.

"Everyone in our family is just praying over his safety and really just everyone that’s been gone, but that’s really just all of a sudden it hit us," she said. "We had no idea he was leaving until he got the call and he was gone."

The US deployed around 700 soldiers earlier this week and Friday said it was deploying nearly 3,000 more out of Ft. Bragg following the killing of Iran's Qasem Soleimani.

"As moms we always worry about our children deploying and going in harms way. But if you talk to our children they will tell you they’re excited, that’s why they joined, that’s why they serve and that’s their mission," said Barbara Mcgreal.

Mcgreal is the president of the Blue Star Mothers of America Greater Tampa Bay FL3. The organization focuses on support for military families, compromised of mothers of those serving or honorably discharged.

"We have moms whose children have deployed. I have spoken to a few of them today and yesterday and they’re extremely fragile. Some of them it’s the first deployment of their children so it’s a scary time a scary place you know the what ifs, but the blue start moms we support each other," she said.

Mcgreal's son serves in the Air Force.

"We just really want the community to embrace our soldiers, celebrate our heroes and support them," she said.

"Surprisingly the job is much easier for the service member while they’re deployed if they could just focus on their mission and not have to worry about what’s happening back home," said Col. (ret) Mike Wieczorek, who echoed a message of supporting troops families while they're overseas.

McLemore said the support is needed any time.

"Regardless if we’re in a war time or not we really need to keep the families that are left behind and try to serve them as much as we can," she said.