Soldier, Mother Recalls Year In Iraq - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Soldier, Mother Recalls Year In Iraq

Life in the Iraqi desert can often be difficult for soldiers stationed away from home for months, even years. Just ask Army Staff Sergeant Ivette Allen.

The Tyler mother was stationed away from her family and says she's lucky to have made it home to watch her children grow up. "You appreciate life more," said Sergeant Allen. "I mean the water, the trees, just getting in your car, going to the store. I mean you just look at life so different."

While in Iraq, this 45-year-old mother of three was in constant danger. "We were walking and just out of nowhere, we heard a hissing sound and the next thing we knew, a rocket had landed on the ground. All we could see is the flares and oh my God it scared me." "All I could say is dear Lord up in heaven thank you, thank you, thank you for not taking me because if it would have gone off I wouldn't be here today talking."

Even more difficult to cope with than the attacks was the distance from her teenagers at home. "My daughter, we would just keep focus, keep in contact. My son got in a little trouble and didn't want me to know about it. He said, 'Mom I didn't want you to know about this. The fact you were in Iraq, you were in a hostile environment, I didn't want to worry you.' Oh, it just did something to me."

Ivette said her time in Iraq forever changed her and life will never be the same for this soldier, mother and wife. "It changes you. My kids we have always been close and just coming back you appreciate them more. The soldiers that do go to that country, it's not to say you're coming back. All we can do is pray and hope."

Sergeant Allen will complete her service in May but plans to extend her duty and become a retention officer. She said it is possible she will have to return to Iraq.

Maya Golden reporting.

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