- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - One of the 60 Iowa Army National Guard soldiers leaving on Mother’s Day for a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan is a mother of four.

The Des Moines Register reports (https://dmreg.co/21L4Uj4 ) Jessica Hoenicke expects that leaving her kids and not being able to be with them every day will be the most difficult part.

“I worry a lot about them, but I think that’s just the mother in me,” she said. “That’s going to be the hardest part, is leaving the kids - not knowing every day where they are, what they’re doing, how they’re changing.”

Hoenicke has deployed before, so she knows roughly what to expect but she wasn’t a mother during that previous deployment.

Hoenicke is part of the 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion based at Camp Dodge in Johnston. The unit will provide logistical support in the areas of transportation, maintenance, water purification and fuel distribution.

Hoenicke is one of nine women in the unit. At least three of them are mothers.

While Hoenicke is gone, the kids, ages 3 to 12, will be cared for by her husband, her mother-in-law and friends. Hoenicke’s husband, Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Hoenicke, is an instructor with the Iowa Ordinance Training Regiment at Camp Dodge.

“It’s going to be tough. She does a lot. We split roles and work as a team, so I’ll have to take on all that and just do it the best I can,” Jacob Hoenicke said. “We are sad, but at the same time we know what she signed up for for her country. It’s our duty.”

The couple will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary apart on May 14. But email and video chats will help. And Jacob Hoenicke said the kids are already planning to send care packages regularly.

Their family includes two older girls - Dezi, 12, and Giana, 10 - from Jacob’s previous relationship. Nine-year-old Cayden is Jessica Hoenicke’s son from a previous relationship. And 3-year-old Jocilynn.

“I’ll probably have to help out more,” Dezi Hoenicke said.

Just before the deployment, the family made a point to make extra trips to the park and ride their bikes together to make memories.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com

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