CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Cpl. Joseph Schank, a small arms repair technician with Marine Air-Ground Task Force Support Battalion 11.2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), is familiar with missing monumental occasions in his young daughters’ life due to his responsibilities as a Marine. He and his wife of three years have learned to communicate over long distances and support each other in crucial decisions without Schank’s physical presence.
But now, Schank has experienced a first in parenting. His second child, a son named Leland, was born while Schank was deployed in Afghanistan. Missing birthdays is one thing, said Schank, but missing the birth of his son was admittedly harder.
“Being deployed and knowing that you are having a child is hard mentally and emotionally, but knowing what I get to come home to is what keeps me together,” stated the native of Sandusky, Mich.
Thanks to a strong internet connection and video chat capability, the father of two was there to support his wife when their son was born. While he recounted the story, Schank seemed calm and collected, something he attributed to the fact that this was their second child and his wife was peaceful during the birth.
However, when discussing what he would tell his son one day about the experience, Schank became more animated, especially when talking about the pride he has for his wife, particularly at this time.
“I’m going to tell him [watching his birth] was an amazing experience that a lot of other military members don’t get to do,” he said.
He continued by explaining his pride in his wife and her ability to go to school full-time and be a mother to two young children while her partner is deployed to Afghanistan. “It takes a strong-minded, strong-willed woman, and that is what my wife is,” Schank concluded.
“I would like to thank her for being the best wife, mother, student and friend anybody could ask for.”