LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a pinch, Angela Carey could order her daughter back to her bunker.
For instance, in case of a mortar attack.
Both serve with the 39th Infantry Brigade in Iraq: Sgt. Angela Carey is a front-line medic. Her daughter, 19-year-old Spc. Courtland Ball, is in training. Sgt. Carey had been in Camp Cooke, north of Baghdad, for about two months when Spc. Ball landed there in early June.
“I’ve asked her, ‘Do you ever have to pull rank?’” said Sgt. Carey’s husband, Martin Carey. “She says, ‘No, no, I’m a mom. But I always could if I needed to.’”
Relatives left behind in Little Rock say being together has made a difficult situation easier for mother and daughter.
It’s the first time in a combat zone for both.
“They’re happy. They’re not happy about being over there in the situation, but they’re happy they’ve got somebody there to lean on,” said Sgt. Carey’s daughter, Chandra Albright, 21.
Jeremy Ball, Spc. Ball’s husband, said his wife relies on her mother for support.
“Her mom just being over there is pretty much the only way she can make it through,” he said. “Being able to see her helps more than anyone can imagine.”
Sgt. Carey, who has three daughters and a 6-year-old stepson, joined the National Guard nine years ago. The weekend work made her feel she was doing good, her husband said.
Mr. Carey said Spc. Ball saw the change in her mother and sought the same for herself. She joined the National Guard when she was a junior in high school.
“I think being in the Guard gave her grounding, discipline and a belief in herself,” he said. “She’s a different person. She’s grown and matured immensely.”
Mr. Carey said he feels better knowing his wife is helping her daughter adjust to Iraq. “You have such a steep learning curve there. You learn things so fast,” he said.
Mother and daughter live within walking distance of each other, and often meet to watch movies or eat together. Mr. Carey said his wife worries about her daughter in their daily phone conversations.
“My wife’s a mom and she doesn’t want her daughter put in danger,” he said. “It may be OK for her to do it, but she doesn’t want her daughter put in the same kind of danger.”