Navy Reservist Barry Doll left his family and insurance business this year to serve in Afghanistan. The lieutenant was among 147 sailors from Kitsap County who worked overseas (they were deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Guantanamo Bay, Bahrain, the Horn of Africa, and numerous islands in the Pacific) as individual augmentees. Thirty of them attended the seventh annual “Heroes’ Welcome” ceremony put on by Navy Region Fleet and Family Support Center on Friday at the Bangor chapel. This event is supported and attended by the Bremerton Navy League.
Guest speaker Capt. Maureen Pennington, executive officer at Naval Hospital Bremerton, has grown with the IA system. She got the spouse’s perspective when, as a young officer, she stayed home with a young son while her Navy SEAL husband deployed. Both parents were deployed when she served on the hospital ship USNS Comfort. Fortunately, her parents were able to keep their son for eight months.
By the time she deployed with the Marines to Iraq, the services had realized the benefits of training together first. “When you go into a situation like that, you have to know what you’re doing,” said Pennington, who said on that deployment she became a leader who needed to take care of everybody she worked with.
Her third deployment was a year in Afghanistan with the Army. While there, her daughter’s best friend was killed in an accident. She needed her mom. “I couldn’t go home,” Pennington said. “It’s something that would bother me my whole life, but that’s our mission, that’s why we wear these uniforms.”
The 30 individual augmentees at Friday’s ceremony, including 16 from the hospital, received certificates of appreciation, spouses got letters of appreciation and families were given American Hero quilts and other gifts.
Read the full Ed Friedrich Kitsap Sun article