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Family prepares for dad's deployment

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Dec. 29, 2011 at 6:29 a.m.

One-year-old Reagan Daughtrey looks into her father's eyes. Daughtrey is being re-activated by the Navy and heading to the Middle East.

Adam Daughtrey didn't want his family to focus on his leaving during the holidays.

So he tried to keep things as normal as possible, including making Christmas cookies with his children and having a pancake breakfast with them.

On Monday, he will leave for Kuwait for one year.

"I'm kinda nervous about going over there," he said.

The 35-year-old Victoria native will be on his fourth tour since he joined the Navy in 1996. The air traffic controller 2nd class will work as a custom border agent with the Army. He described his stint as multi-service support.

He will also be stationed in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The father of six has explained his line of work to his children and the risk involved.

"They know what the military is all about. They know the difference between living and dying," he said.

Daughtrey said his belief in God and heaven gives him a peace of mind.

"I'm not worried," he said. "I'm just hoping my family is taken care of."

His children will have to adjust as well.

At 7, William Daughtrey will be the oldest male in the house in his father's absence. He knows he must respect his mother and take care of his siblings.

William wanted a military outfit to be like his dad.

"I'm going to wear this on career day," said the Aloe Elementary School second-grader.

To pay homage to their father the Daughtrey children will wear their matching military uniforms on Monday, his departure day.

Daughtrey's 6-year-old son, Thomas Daughtrey, said he considers his dad a hero.

"He's going out of the country so the whole world doesn't have to fight the terrorists," Thomas said.

Daughter Tiffany Daughtrey is going to miss everyday life with her dad.

"I'm going to miss him tickling me," she said.

The 10-year-old fifth-grader also enjoys playing Nintendo Wii with her father.

Another daughter, Alexis Holmberg, 8, said she would probably cry when her dad leaves.

"When he comes back, I'll be good," she said.

Not all of Daughtrey's family has come to terms with his departure.

Gail Huth, Daughtrey's mother, is not thrilled about her son leaving. But she respects his choice.

"I adore him," Huth said. "He's over there fighting for our rights."

Huth said her second oldest son of five children always wanted to be in the military. She said she raised him to do anything he puts his mind to.

Huth, a grandmother of 15, has faith Daughtrey will return.

"He's coming back to us, I know he is."

Instead of saying goodbye, Huth said she plans to tell her son "See you later."

The family member who will take it the hardest is not old enough to speak.

Daughtrey's 1-year-old daughter, Reagan, is a daddy's girl who cries every time he walks out the door.

"If daddy doesn't put her to bed, she doesn't sleep," said Shannon Daughtrey, Adam's wife.

Shannon was devastated when she heard her best friend was leaving her side. She said she will miss his hugs the most.

"When daddy deploys, my heart deploys," she said.

The Daughtreys will not be together to celebrate Shannon's 41st birthday on Jan. 8 or their fourth wedding anniversary on May 30.

In 2006, Daughtrey had to leave the service because of family responsibilities as a primary caregiver.

His wife said she fully supported his decision to go back to the military.

She said it's going to be an adjustment, but it will be OK.

Shannon left her job as a project safety manager to spend more time with her children.

To keep busy, she will volunteer more at her children's school.

To stay in touch with their dad, the Daughtreys will talk through Skype.

Huth got a computer for her grandchildren so they can talk on Skype and so Daughtrey can watch them grow up.

Daughtrey said he's going to miss the milestones in his children's lives, especially Reagan's first steps. But he hopes to catch a glimpse of the events on the computer screen.

Daughtrey said he's been trained to work in the Middle East.

"I'm doing this to support my country," he said.

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