Captain Cindy Mefford
Captain Cindy Mefford of Gretna was
the personnel officer for the 110th Medical Battalion during its mobilization and deployment to Iraq
and Kuwait as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2003
to August 2004. The battalion's mission was to provide command
and control for ground and air medical evacuation units in the
area extending from Baghdad to southeastern Iraq and into Kuwait.
Cindy was responsible for accounting for all personnel, sometimes
numbering hundreds of people, as well as transferring Red Cross
messages and overseeing morale activities. The single greatest
lesson she learned from her deployment was that "we live
in a privileged and beautiful country."
objects were loaned by Cindy Mefford
While Cindy was deployed, her
husband Brian cared for their two young sons, Nicholas and
Michael. One of the greatest challenges was "being away
from my young sons and still trying to be a part of their lives."
Not surprisingly, Brian stated that the single greatest lesson
he learned from Cindy's deployment was "I don't want to
be a single parent."
flags, which made an appearance during World War I, are still
being used today. The stars on
the flag indicate the number of people from that household serving
during wartime. Blue stars stand for those currently serving
and yellow stars stand for those who were lost in the line of
duty. This flag was hung in the Mefford household during Cindy's
Cindy Mefford, on hearing of her impending
Scared and sick to my stomach when we heard the rumor. Then
resignation when we actually got the order. We knew [she and
Brian] it was coming so we both turned our fears over to the
Lord. It helped relieve some stress.
Cindy Mefford on how her children coped
with her deployment:
Before I left I taped myself reading books and singing bedtime
songs so they could hear my voice. When I left, my oldest son
[age six at the time] told me to "just go" because
he couldn't stand to see me crying. They coped by spending a
lot of time with friends and family, who gave them extra hugs.
Excerpts from letters Cindy Mefford wrote to her sons,
Nicholas and Michael.
Daddy give you the big book so you can learn about the country
Kuwait? Did Daddy show you where that's at? Mommy is doing ok-she
just misses you both so much! And I don't know when I can come
home-I just know it will be a long time.
Mommy is trying to get settled in. I'm unpacking my duffle bags and sorting all the
equipment I won't need . . .How is school going? And soccer practice?
When is your first game? I wish I could be there for it. I DO
NOT like being away from you two. I miss you 2 so much! Mommy
should be able to call home about one week from now. I love to
hear your voices!
is Mother's Day and I will be thinking of you two all day
. . . Mom got your pictures of the flowers-thank you! We love
to see flowers over here since we only have dandelions. You picked
out very beautiful flowers. Tonight at chow they gave all the
moms a rose. I chose a peach colored one.
Cindy Mefford on coming home: I was excited and thrilled to come home but
worried about the transition back to civilian life. My youngest
son [age three] would not come to me right away-that hurt.
On her biggest challenges and adjustments
after coming home: Learning
how they [her family] did things now. Breaking bad habits, like
eating at McDonald's a lot, when I had to start going to Guard
drills again-they would get scared when I put on the uniform
(thinking I was leaving for months again-not just a day).
Just one of the improved bunkers used when
there were threats of bombing or rockets.
Once our camp finally allowed food vendors
to come on site, this was one of them. It was like a food court-but
outside or in small buildings. Not sure what kind of meat it
was-I stayed away from that stuff.
In the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) treating
sick call patients.
One-thousand-man warehouse that used to
house Bradley fighting vehicles. This is where we stayed the
first two weeks upon arrival in Kuwait to get acclimated. It
was men and women together.
The abandoned building on the other side
of our barracks. Maybe a morning golf outing. We had set up our
own "golf" course with plastic cups as the holes and
someone made flags. All we used was either a sand wedge or chipping
iron that someone had brought with them! You could only play
early-at dawn-otherwise it was too hot.