On The Home Front: Army Couple Cherishing Every Day Before Husband Heads Overseas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/13/03 - Fort Hood

On The Home Front: Army Couple Cherishing Every Day Before Husband Heads Overseas

   "I'm not worried about the bad guys over there, we'll take care of them, you're more worried about your family over here." That's how Lt. Colonel John Thomson explains the state of today.

   The love is in their eyes. It's tinged with concern. Holly Thomson cherishes every day now, her husband, John, waits to deploy to the conflict that seems like a certainty.

   John: "There's not one soldier that I know that wants to go to war. But [we're] prepared... very confident. We've got the best equipment in the world... best soldiers in the world."

   John's a Lieutenant Colonel in the 4th Infantry Division. It's a group that has swelled to some 33,000 soldiers. His orders: help get the soldiers and the equipment from the four corners of the U.S. to the front lines.

   "The first couple of days, we were wondering, 'How in the world are we ever going to do this,'" recalls John of the first order to deploy. They were sending not just the troops, but 14,000 pieces of equipment. It's on it's way, and he will be too, when that call comes. That call that will take him from Holly and his two sons -- the youngest just 10 months old. The oldest is six years, in school, with a lot on his mind.

   Holly remembers: "[The oldest son] asked me, if [Dad} was going to be going to that place where they were having a war. Gosh, that was tough."

   After all, children don't always understand.

   "I said a little prayer for the right words, and I told him that 'Yeah, he'd probably be going over there.'" said Holly.

   John's been there once before. He knows what war is like. The Robert E. Lee graduate was a captain in Desert Storm. Holly at the time was a Bullard school teacher. A long distance relationship developed with the students -- and with Holly. Soon after the war, the relationship became for life.

   "We got married, and I took her back to Germany and left her at the house, and went on a training exercise for six weeks. I left her in a country where she didn't speak the language." John recalls.

   They've moved around several times. But settled at Fort Hood, there are so many spouses going through the same emotions.

   John says: "We've been apart before. The interesting part about this one is that you don't know how long, and the danger factor is a little higher."

   Holly says: "I have two kids who are looking to me for strength, and a husband who needs to know that things are going to be OK at home."

   Holly prays John will come home soon, with the job done.

   "I'm very proud of John. This is what he signed up to do. And I think he's very good at what he does," she says.

   John adds: "It's not a game. Coming in second place doesn't work. A tie doesn't work. You just get one chance to do it."

   Reported by Morgan Palmer at Fort Hood.

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