Two-week-old Owen Mockabee has a lot to celebrate. Not only is he the third generation in his family to be born at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, but his birth marks the fifth generation in his family to reside at Fort Hood and call Killeen home. As military families know all too well, having a hometown can be quite rare.
Great-great-grandmother Vivian Hosick, originally from Indiana, and her husband, retired Master Sgt. Gerald Hosick, started the trend in the 1970s. After meeting while Gerald Hosick was on rest and recuperation leave, the couple traveled around the world, from Vietnam to Germany and across the U.S., eventually deciding to make Killeen their permanent residence in 1975. Gerald Hosick retired in 1978, after spending 32 years in the military and raising five children.
“No matter where we went, we always came back to Fort Hood,” said Donna Jean, the Hosick’s second child and great-grandmother to baby Mockabee.
She met her husband at Killeen High School and eventually he joined the military as well. They traveled to Fort Campbell, Ky., and Germany, too, but the Army kept bringing them back to Texas.
Their daughter and Owen’s grandmother, Debbie Jean, was the first in the family to be born at Darnall, in 1969. The family made Killeen their final stop in 1980, when Debbie Jean was 10 years old.
Following in the footsteps of her mother, Debbie Jean also met her husband at Killeen High School and gave birth at Darnall, to her firstborn, a daughter, named Mallory Mockabee (nee Brown) in 1989.
Her second daughter, Shelby Brown, was born on Christmas Day, 1992.
And baby Owen makes five. He was born to Mallory and Stephen Mockabee on Sept. 12. Stephen is a specialist for 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
“We all had wonderful experiences at Darnall,” Donna Jean said. Mallory Mockabee was eager to give birth at the hospital based on her mother’s and grandmother’s positive feedback.
Though much of the family resides in Killeen and neighboring towns, aunts, uncles and cousins are spread across Texas. Twice a year, the family gathers at a hotel in Copperas Cove to celebrate the holidays together. For Easter and Thanksgiving, they meet at their family church, Grace Lutheran, in Killeen.
“We all get a great big (hotel) room to share,” Donna Jean said. Being close to their tight-knit family is the single thing they love most about life in Killeen.
Not only was Owen born on the birthday of his paternal grandmother, Betty C. Brown of Georgia, who died seven years ago, his birth marked a milestone for his midwife, too. He was the 1,000th baby delivered by Darnall midwife and nurse Kristyn Leftridge.
She gifted the family a basket of goodies to commemorate her career landmark, including a photo shoot with fellow nurse and photography hobbyist Autumn Hill to memorialize the five living generations.