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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
MCA workers return to family, home

By Art Powell | | March 18, 2010

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Seven workers from Maintenance Center Albany returned Monday and Tuesday to the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in Albany, Ga., following deployments lasting from four to 13 months. They were deployed to provide maintenance support for mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles in Iraq and Kuwait.

For one loved one waiting for the airplane to arrive, it wasn’t the first time.

“He’s been gone for a year this time, and he’s been in Iraq for 24 of the past 26 months,” said Cynthia Parton, as she waited for Larry Parton to arrive. “We’ve had to adjust and it’s been difficult trying to take care of everything for him.”

The four MCA employees arriving Monday included Parton and Bradon Beecher, James Sanderson and Damechea Hill.

For Cynthia Parton, hurdles to communications with Larry Parton included spotty telephone service from the overseas theaters, and the eight hour time difference.

“I would be at work when he was off and vice versa, so it made contact a little tougher,” she explained.

MCA has procedures in place to prepare workers, and their families, for the rigors of deployment.

“Before he deployed the first time, they met with the families and provided contact information,” she said. “They gave us phone numbers they said we could call day or night. Luckily, I never had to call, but it was nice to know there was somebody you could reach.”

After Larry Parton arrived and greeted his family members, he said he went overseas to find out “it’s a small, small world.”

“I found people who lived close to my home, who I didn’t know when I left,” he said. “I went 8,000 miles and met some people who lived just down the road from me here at home.”

Beecher, from Leesburg, Ga., had been deployed five months, and felt MCA had done a good job of preparing workers and their families for deployment.

“It felt good, they gave my wife pretty much everything she needed,” he said. “I talked to my family everyday when I was deployed.”

Deployments of MCA workers have become frequent over the past two years, and the process for preparing the workers and their families has evolved.

“The process is more defined now, and it’s been proven that it works,” said Sal DeMichael, manager, Forward Operations Branch, MCA. “It still takes 10-12 weeks to process them, but it’s easier on the families and us at the Maintenance Center.”

The three MCA Department of Defense civilian-Marines who returned Tuesday were Timothy Sherrill, Leslie Robert Gay and Eric Clemens.


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