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On being soldiers and fathers

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By Bria Granville

Many men can be fathers, but not all can handle being in the military and maintaining a family.
Families with fathers in the military must endure a great amount of fear for the one serving, but appreciation for what they are doing.
The children who live the uncertain military lifestyle can become more resilient as they must patiently wait for mom or dad to return.
With Father’s Day approaching, we recognize and celebrate the some of those fathers who are not just known as heroes to the many Americans they help protect, they are also known as dad.

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Charlie Jones
Colonel Charlie Jones had served in the military for 36 years and has been a father for just as long.
“Being in the Army I’ve missed more birthdays and family events,” Jones said.
“ My wife had to be mom and dad.”
Jones’ children grew up with their father in and out of the home because of his career. This is the case for many military families, so children must develop a tough skin to deal with the absence of a parent.
“They have to go through the heartbreak of departure, but also the joy of homecoming,” Jones said. “I’m just grateful my wife and kids appreciate it and tolerate it.”
His son, Charles Jason Jones, even followed in his father’s footsteps in joining the Army.
Unfortunately, Charles Jason was killed in 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Jones, now at the end of his career, focuses much of his time on his 6-year-old grandson, trying to spend every chance he can get with him.
For the past two years Jones had also spent much of his time building a memorial to honor fallen national guardsmen in Kentucky. Of the 18 killed, two were from Anderson County, one being his son.

John Black
Never satisfied with a regular job, John Black, chose the military for the fast-paced environment it provided.
“It’s never the same, that’s why I like it,” Black said of his service.
Enthusiastic to serve, Black voluntarily went on two tours, one to Iraq from 2004-2005 one more recently to Afghanistan in 2012.
“I would go back in a heartbeat,” he said.
Black has spent around 29 years in service and the past 16 as a father to his teenage daughter Taylor.
The first time he left Taylor was too young to understand the gravity and significance of what he was doing, he said.
On his most recent tour she was 15 years old and more capable of knowing the dangers.
“I didn’t like that he was gone, but I knew when we slumped he was OK,” Taylor said.
Despite her father’s enthusiasm for the job, it still wasn’t easy to have him gone.

Bria Granville is the photography intern for The Anderson News. She can be reached via e-mail at bgranville@theandersonnews.com.