SALT LAKE CITY — Utah families are making tough sacrifices to serve our country, and it's especially hard on the kids. Roughly 10,000 Utah families have endured lengthy and repeated deployments over the last dozen years.
James Calaway just got back from his sixth deployment, and the heartache lingers when dad's off at war.
"It's hard, it's scary," said 11-year-old Paige Williams.
Paige could hardly wait for her father to get home so she could run and jump into his arms. Then she broke her leg, and that plan fizzled, but she's just glad to have him home. The sadness is gone.
"I talk to my friends about it," Paige said. "What kind of things to talk about? Just when I was sad, they cheered me up, and that's about what we talked about."
Her dad, a munitions expert stationed at Tooele Army Depot, spent the last six months embedded with the army in Afghanistan.
"It's kind of awesome, and at the same time sad," said Tyler, Calaway's son.
Tyler says that's the internal conflict he feels when his dad is deployed.
"He could die," Tyler said. "And another, he's pretty much saving our rights as Americans."
That thought helps carry him through his father's deployments.
"My wife and I have made a lot of sacrifices to make sure they have a good life and everybody else does as well," Calaway said.
The Calaways know the deployment drill better than most. His wife, Barbara Calaway, is a recruiter with the Air Force.
"I love it, and it's important," Calaway said. "It's a calling just like anything else is."
Calaway made a promise to his wife that he's home for two years this time before he deploys again.