That means thousands of families — spouses, children and siblings — were separated from their loved ones — some without notice. Many of them are from the Immediate Response Force of the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Melissa Morales, 18, told CNN her twin sister, Cristina, was back home visiting in Victorville, California, when she was notified Friday she would be deploying Wednesday. Victorville is about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Morales said her sister joined the Army last summer and is now stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia. This will be her first deployment.
“As her twin sister, it kind of hurts. It stings,” Morales said on her sister’s deployment. “Yeah, I’m obviously sad, but she made me and the rest of family realize it’s what she signed up for.”
Morales tweeted photos of her sister on her personal account Friday.
“Pray for my sister and every other soldier that has deployed,” she wrote.
Morales did not want to publicize her tweet on CNN. She said she tweeted it because of the #WWIII memes to show “there’s real people risking their lives for this war.”
While the memes are funny, she said, reality hit when her sister received the deployment notification.
Wife says the worst part is when she can’t say goodbye
“It just happened so fast,” Shumard, 42, said. “It happens whenever it’s going to happen you can’t control it, so I think the worst part of that is when you don’t get to say goodbye.”
She is in San Diego with her daughter for a medical procedure, the affiliate reported. She relied on friends in Fayetteville — near Fort Bragg — to care for her other children since her husband had to leave right away.
“To have your partner be gone and not be able to prepare for it, it’s just really hard,” she said.
Some military spouses reach out to other families
The spouses who are more experienced with last-minute deployments are reaching out to those who need help.
Deployed Love started at Fort Bragg three years ago, organizing holiday parties and outings. They are now a community ran by volunteers who reach out and bring families together while their loved ones are deployed overseas, according to the organization’s Facebook page.
“Definitely I’ve seen a big growth in our community, there’s been a lot of people reaching out, asking questions,” Johannes said. “Fortunately we have a lot of volunteers who have been there, done that and we have lots of answers and experience to give back to them.”