Minnesota military family adapts, endures Middle East deployment apart

Army Sgt. Mai Vue, a human resources specialist with the Minnesota National Guard’s 147th Human Resources Company, currently deployed to Kuwait, says even though they’re a half a world away, she is getting support and strength from her family.

“They are assisting my spouse with my children since daycare is hard for my spouse and work,” said Vue. “With me being gone, it’s challenging for my spouse…”

November is National Veterans and Military Families Month, a time to celebrate and recognize the strength and sacrifices of veterans and their families.

The 147th HRC deployed to the Middle East to support missions that enable successful deployment and redeployment of units throughout the area. They have the task of personnel accountability to ensure each service member that comes into the country is properly accounted for and that their personal and operational readiness is optimized for the mission at hand.

Vue spends most of her day giving briefings and out-processing personnel who are returning to the United States or elsewhere. While she is keeping busy, her family is never far from the Coon Rapids native’s mind.

Back home, her husband Lee is looking after their two daughters: Fiora, age 7; and Starlene, age 5. It’s helpful that Lee is a former Marine, so he understood the challenges leading up to the deployment, but there are still challenges.

Vue’s mother Julie, along with her sister Pa Lee and brother Xiong Lee, help take care of the kids when Lee is at work. They adjust their schedules regularly to accommodate Lee and the kids. Knowing her family is supported makes it easy to enjoy calling home.

“I like calling home sometimes and hearing my kids talk to me or video call me. It reminds me that I need to do great things here on deployment and come back to my kids no matter what,” said Vue. “They are my bundle and joy, and I wouldn’t trade the world for it.”

She says the kids sometimes fight back tears, but she reassures them with the promise that she will be back home soon. In the meantime, she will continue to do great things with the support of her family back home.

“I hope this helps people understand that being a mom is hard on deployment but there’s always two missions, your mission on deployment and your mission to go back home.”

Bob Brown
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs