Manila brothers serving in Iraq
The Roberts brothers, Bradley and Jason, have been deployed to Iraq. They are the sons of Kent and Wilma Roberts of Manila.
Jason, stationed in Hawaii with the U.S. Air Force, left for Iraq on June 26.
Bradley, stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, will leave for Iraq within the next two weeks.
Mrs. Roberts admits that she is concerned, and with both boys going overseas at the same time, it doubles the worry.
Bradley is a 2001 Manila High School graduate and Jason is a 2002 Manila High School graduate.
"Growing up Jason always said he was going to join the Air Force. He has been in the service for a year and a half. He has been to Korea, Japan and is stationed in Hawaii. Bradley served four years in the National Guard. He joined the National Guard when he was still in high school. Several months ago he decided to join the Army and was sent to Germany," Mrs. Roberts said.
When Mrs. Roberts found out that Jason was going to be in Baltimore, Md., overnight before going overseas, she and her son, Paul DeHaan, and his wife, Jennifer, made a fast trip to spend a few hours with him.
"We had not seen him in over eight months and the long trip was worth it to get to visit before he left," Mrs. Roberts said.
Paul and Jennifer live in Newport where he pastors a church. They have a son, Noah Conner, who is nine months old.
Mrs. Roberts' parents, Raymond and Marilyn Britt, are former Manila residents and now live in Osceola where Mr. Britt pastors the Church of God. Her brother, Gordon, lives two blocks away. She said she depends on family and her grandson to keep her spirits up and keep her busy while her sons are so far away from home.
She has talked to Jason once since he arrived in Iraq. She also has had several e-mail letters from him reminding her to stop worrying. He is in the Baghdad area. She is not sure where Bradley will be located once he arrives.
"It would be nice if they are close enough to see each other," she said.
Bradley was trained as a mechanic and has been transferred to the infantry. Jason is an engineer.
"I understand that the people serving in Iraq need some relief. Many of them have been there a long time," she said. "Both boys have good attitudes about going. As a matter of fact, Jason said he would rather go than have a person with a family and children have to go."
Like other mothers, Mrs. Roberts is hoping for a quick end to all of the fighting.
"I want to ask for everyone's prayers for my boys and all of the others serving in Iraq," she said. "I am proud of all of my sons. My dad said in one of his sermons that all three of my sons are in the service, one in the Army, one in the Air Force and one in God's service."
If any of their friends from home would like to write, their addresses are:
Michael B. Roberts, A Co. 54th EnBn, Unit 27560 Box 868, APO, AE 09139; AIC Jason Roberts, 407 AEG/ECES, APO AE 09358.