Single-parent dads deal positively with deployment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Carlos Diaz
  • U.S. Central Command Air Forces
Many would agree that parenting is one of the toughest tasks a person can do. If being a parent is difficult enough, try coupling that with a demanding military career and being a single parent. That same task just got a little harder to accomplish.

According to Air Force Personnel Center figures, there are approximately 1,220 male single parents currently deployed in the area of responsibility.

Four men at Balad Air Base, Iraq, who fall into this statistic, are Master Sgts. William Newman and James Morbach, Tech. Sgt. Wayne Sinclair and Senior Airman Brian Miles.
Some of these men have shared custody, while others raise their children all by themselves.

Sergeant Morbach is the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, is the custodial parent of his two children, Kyle, 9, and Alyssa, 5. He shares custody with his ex-spouse, and states he's become very good at time management.

"Every day requires me to have a backup plan," the 34-year-old father said. "If I'm running late from work, I need to have a place for the kids to go.

"I have a very good professional relationship with my children's mother, whom makes working out disciplinary issues and deployments a lot easier to deal with," he added.

Sergeant Morbach said his children are doing extremely well in school and they're happy, fun-loving individuals.

"I contribute that to the professional relationship I have with their mother; it sure makes life a lot easier."

Airman Miles, who's assigned to the 510th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, has found some difficulties in leaving his infant son behind.

"It's been very difficult, but that's just part of the contract I signed so I have a responsibility to fulfill," he said.

In Airman Miles' absence his mother is taking care of 10-month-old Brian.

"My son's mother is supportive," Airman Miles said.. "She's a blessing, and I'm so grateful.

"We don't argue, there are no big custody issues or any of the typical problems that come with being single parents," Airman Miles said.

For these single fathers, having a sense of accomplishment and worth being deployed gives them the inner strength to deal with the separation from their children.

"I'm doing this job to make sure they'll have the choice to do anything they want when they grow up," Sergeant Newman said of his daughters Amanda Rose, 16, and Samantha Jane, 14.

"I want them to know the feeling of freedom in a world that's safe from terrorism," he said.

As a first sergeant, Sergeant Morbach firmly believes he has the best job in the Air Force. He states the job helps him deal with the separation factor.

"I build my strength by helping others," the 15-year Air Force veteran said.

He said he's able to pull strength and support from other first sergeants.

"I'm not afraid to ask for help when I need it," he said.

"Most importantly, though, I use my children as my motivation for being here," the first sergeant said.

Sergeant Sinclair attributes good old-fashioned patriotism to giving him the determination he needs. He emphasizes the freedoms that American citizens enjoy.

"We're trying to give some of those freedoms to others," he said. "Since 9/11 we've found that we're not as safe as we once thought. By us being over here, we're helping to ensure our children are safe," said the 41-year-old father of Brittny, 13, Austin, 12, and Quinn, 10.

Sergeant Sinclair uses the conveniences of modern technology to stay in touch with his children.

"I call them every other Saturday, and we e-mail each other about six times a week," the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group biomedical equipment repair technician said. "I send them pictures of myself so that they can physically see that I'm OK."

Sergeant Sinclair's children often flood his inbox with e-mail messages like:

"I still have the teddy bear you gave me. He's the closest thing I have to you to give bear hugs to. Please, come home soon," wrote Brittany.

"Hey daddy, I miss you a lot and did you see the Super Bowl? I love you and miss you," his son, Austin, wrote.

"I love and miss you daddy, and could you send me another big hug?" Quinn asked.

Airman Miles, a weapons system graphic technician, is a father who wants to lead by example.

"I never concerned myself with anything that didn't revolve around me," he said.

"Now, I live for my son and that's important. Everything I do in someway is for him so he becomes a great young man who's responsible, respectful, hardworking and positive - all these things must start at home," he said.

If home is where the heart is, then these four Airmen can't wait to get there.

"I've already planned things to do and places to go with him when I return," Airman Miles said.

Sergeant Morbach definitely looks forward to donning his baseball cap and coaching his son's little league team when the season starts. He also plans on taking both his children on a well-deserved vacation.

Sergeant Sinclair is speechless.

"Words can't describe how anxious I am to see my children," the 17-year Air Force member said.

"I would give up my next breath," Sergeant Newman said about seeing his children again.

For these four men, being military parents is a rewarding experience.