Service & Sacrifice: Family bears burden of war

If you are 13 and your dad is headed for war you can sum up your feelings in one word.

"Sad," said eighth grader Daniel Bean, his voice trailing off.

Daniel and his 11-year-old brother Andrew sat down recently on the steps of their front deck just days before their dad set off on a year-long deployment to Afghanistan with the Tennessee National Guard 1-230th Air Cavalry Squadron.

"He is an awesome dad," said Andrew, who is in the fifth grade.

Even at their young ages, the two boys understand what it is like to send their dad off to war because they have lived through it before.

"I had some rough times," said Daniel. He explained how during their dad's last combat deployment a couple of years ago the family would use a computer to video chat in the evening so they could all sit "together" at dinner.

"I think we are at a 50-50 ratio right now for anniversaries and I've only been in 16 years," said Staff Sergeant Bean who has served three overseas tours. He is a full-time aircraft mechanic for the Tennessee Army National Guard. He may be headed to join the fight in America's longest war, but he told 10News his wife Rachal will have the tougher job while he is away.

"Yes, I think she will. She will definitely have the more difficult job," said SSG Bean.

For her part, Rachal told 10News she knew what she was getting into when she married her military husband. She said she will lean on her church for support and on her family. Some days she said it is important to call in the grandparents so the boys can get a break from their mom.

"I'm sure there will be days that they hate me with a passion. A lot of times it is the parent that is left behind that gets the brunt of the emotional roller coaster you go through," said Rachal Bean.


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