By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
Staff Sgt. Gweneda Oliver had to stay at Fort Hood when her unit, the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, deployed to Afghanistan this summer.
Oliver had abdominal surgery that required three months of recovery time, so she watched the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment and her soldiers go without her.
She and more than 50 other late deployers left Fort Hood Nov. 5 to join the brigade in Afghanistan.
Late deployers are soldiers who leave after the main body of a unit has arrived in theater.
Flights like last week's depart monthly as officials continue to send soldiers to the deployed units.
The brigade, which deployed in June and July, will send out fewer and fewer soldiers each month before reaching a cut-off date in the spring as the unit's homecoming nears.
This is Oliver's second deployment. The first was with the 25th Infantry Division from 2005 to 2006.
It has been tough being apart from her soldiers, she said, but they've kept in touch and she's ready to rejoin them.
Deploying late in the year will be difficult for many because the holidays are coming up, Oliver said.
The toughest part for her is leaving her husband of 13 years, Everett Whiting.
Oliver, who has been in the Army for 14 years, said the key to blending marriage and life in the Army is patience, love and understanding.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547.