For 12 years, she was there for Fort Hood, Texas, troops going to and coming from deployments to combat zones with her engaging smile, words of comfort and, always, that great big hug -- maybe a half million of them.
Now, an online petition has been started requesting the Defense Department to rename the place that served as her second home -- the Fort Hood Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group terminal (A/DACG) -- for Elizabeth Corrine Laird, aka the "Hug Lady."
About 18,000 sailors spent more than 60 percent of the year away from home during fiscal 2016, exceeding the Navy’s own guidelines for keeping its crews well-rested and reducing strains on sailors’ personal lives, according to a Congressional watchdog report. And the Navy says the actual figure is likely even higher.
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese
Deployments are a fact of life for most military families. While each one is uniquely challenging and no two deployments are the same, some experiences are universal. Here are some of my deployment observations that I am confident my fellow military spouses understand.