- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

Makayla was only 13 days old yesterday and slept right through having her picture e-mailed to her father, a National Guard airman who was deployed overseas on Feb. 21.
"He called every other morning because he knew I was going into labor soon," said new mother Rashelle.
"When I didn't answer the phone, he called me at the hospital. I was in the middle of labor."
Makayla, now weighing 7 pounds and 8 ounces, lay quietly in her mother's arms yesterday as the digital camera-phone photographed her and the e-mail buttons were pressed.
Makayla and Rashelle's pictures were among hundreds of photographs of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children sent instantly and free from Andrews Air Force Base, courtesy of the Sprint telephone company.
Deployment locations and last names of most family members were not disclosed for security reasons and to prevent harassment or attacks on families at home.
About 200 members of the District of Columbia Air National Guard 113th Wing were deployed almost a month ago in support of the war against terrorism, which may accelerate into a war on Iraq.
"The majority of them are overseas," said Guard public affairs Capt. Sheldon Smith, who could not be more specific.
"They're having enough problems being separated from their families," said Gen. David Wherley, commander of the highly decorated 113th Wing.
The Guardsmen are living in tents. Part of their problem is boredom and adjusting to a different way of life with other Guardsmen as their families, said Connie Moore, of the Family Resources Support Office at Andrews.
"But, they are missing you, their real family," Mrs. Moore said.
Mrs. Moore was speaking to more than 100 family members. They came mainly to have their pictures sent, but there were cake and refreshments, bowls of all-day suckers and candy for children, crayons and coloring books, and a carpet with a neighborhood map with little cars to be pushed along its roads.
Five employees of the phone company were at the auditorium entrance. Each held a tiny, stainless-steel cellphone. After family members signed up, they posed, the cell phone was aimed, and a 2-inch window showed that a picture had been made.
The photo was shown to the family and sometimes the pose was repeated. Then, the operators typed e-mail addresses into the phone, pushed another button, and, they said, the photograph was in the e-mail of the Guardsman thousands of miles away.
"It's wonderful," said Claudette Lamming, holding 13-month-old Spencer. "I'm a funeral director, and I see people buried every day. These pictures are important."
Suzie and Ricky Miller had their arms full with Maria, 15 months, and son R.C. as their photos were snapped for transmission to Suzie's father, a veteran of 20 years in the Air Force.
"Single parenting can be very difficult," said Mrs. Moore.
"That's why I'm here," said Skip Mills, 58, a retired postal employee living in Rockville, as he helped daughter Dana keep track of Juliana, 2, who wanted more crayons and coloring books, and Ryan, 1, who just wanted to walk.
Mrs. Moore said the Guardsmen had known for weeks that they would be deployed. "The state of anxiety had gotten so high," she said, especially after snow fell and covered roads and runways.
Then, the orders for deployment came, she said. "Everybody sighed with relief and started to cry."
Sue had a special picture to be sent to husband Ray. She held it up, a camera-phone snapped it and sent it along with some snapshots of Sue.
The photo was of their pet dog, Picabo, said Sue, who also is employed at Andrews.
"Ray enjoyed them," she said.

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