By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD – The biggest highlight of Frank Munoz's year was probably his wife's return.
Warrant Officer-1 Brenda Munoz and more than 300 other soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade were welcomed Monday afternoon following a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
Frank has been a single dad – with help from his mom, Cheryl Johnson – to the Munoz's two children for the last 12 months. It's been tough at times, he said, especially as 11-year-old Aderica got older. There are certain things dads aren't so good at explaining to their adolescent daughters, he joked as Aderica embarrassingly shook her head nearby.
Boys, thankfully, aren't in the picture yet, Frank said. And even if they do emerge, he wants them all to know he is very protective of his daughter. Very.
Despite the challenges, it's the help from his family and the support of Aderica and 5-year-old Deandre that have got him through the last year.
Cheryl moved to Killeen to help Frank and will soon depart for Hawaii where she will once again step in to help her daughter's family through a deployment.
Frank, Brenda and the children will celebrate Brenda's return with a trip to Disney World.
The Munoz family just bought their first house and will move into it soon. Frank said he's looking forward to Brenda decorating it.
Aderica is ready to ride bikes and take walks with her mom. Deandre is looking forward to Brenda's pancakes. Both his parents are good cooks, he said diplomatically, but Aderica insisted that mom's cooking was much better.
Frank and Brenda met in Germany when they both were soldiers. They got married in 2003, a year after Frank got out of the Army. This was Brenda's first deployment to Iraq, although both have served tours to Bosnia and Kosovo.
A family needs communication to survive deployments, Frank said. He credited communication and learning to be flexible for his success.
"If you don't do those things, it won't work," he said.
Frank said he would also take time upon Brenda's return to show her how much he appreciates her.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547.