Family stays strong through multiple deployments
When Marion Wheaton’s only son told her he wanted to join the Army the Woodland mother knew she needed to be strong.
"It was his choice," Wheaton said. "I see my role as a mother to be supportive of my child, and if this is the path that he has chosen, then we’re here to support him."
Cody Wheaton, 26, is an executive officer in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He returned in April from a four-month deployment in Afghanistan. An Army captain, Wheaton expects to return to Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment in October.
"He has just gotten back and he’ll go again," Marion said in a telephone interview Friday. "There are three companies in the battalion and they’re in a rotation."
With Memorial Day just around the corner, Marion said she thinks about her son "all the time."
"We’re just really proud of what he’s done," she said.
Wheaton spent much of this year’s deployment in one of the world’s most dangerous regions, fighting near Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan.
"They go out there for four months at a time," said Cody’s father, Woodland resident Bob Wheaton. "The only real transportation they had was helicopter and foot stuff."
Though stateside for now, his son’s elite unit "is still on high alert," Bob said in a telephone interview Thursday.
"I’m as proud as I can be about his commitment and his belief that he is doing the right thing," Bob said. "It’s critical I think the whole world has changed a lot."
Bob has not seen his son since Cody returned in April from Afghanistan. The men plan to spend Memorial Day at the Indianapolis 500.
Cody has seen multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan since he enlisted a few years ago.
"I know more about Afghanistan and Iraq now than I ever thought I would," Bob joked.
His son is currently based at Fort Lewis, Washington, where Cody works closely with U.S. soldiers who are stationed abroad.
"They are the main stateside liaisons for resources that are needed for the deployed company," Bob explained.
Meanwhile, Marion said she hopes the many sacrifices made by soldiers will be remembered this Memorial Day.
"It’s really different to have your child in that walk of life, than any other walk of life. When he went this last time we had no contact information, we didn’t know where he was. It’s just very different," she said. "It’s important not to forget what it is the military stands for and to appreciate that we have the freedoms that we have in our country today because of the sacrifices of people. Our neighbors, our friends, everyone has probably had someone who has done military service in their lives. We just wouldn’t be able to live the lifestyles that we live if we didn’t have people who sacrificed for the rest of us."
And support from their families is crucial for soldiers deployed overseas, she stressed.
"If there are other parents out there who have children in the military, I hope they extend the level of support to their soldier that we always try to extend to Cody," Marion said. "I just think that is really, really important. Whether they’re young, married people or they are single like Cody is, I think it’s just so important that our military know that we are thinking about them, especially when they are deployed."
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