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How would you feel if your teenager wanted to follow you into a war zone?
January 10, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Girl Decides to Skip College So She Can Serve With Her Mom in Iraq

Posted by Lindsay Mannering on January 10, 2013

tankSome mothers and daughters bond over a shared interest of science fiction novels, or making big Italian meals, or their hatred of shoe shopping. But for Sgt. Marilyn Gonzalez and her daughter Spc. Jessica Pedraza, their bond comes from something a little more unusual -- the two served together in Kuwait and Iraq in 2010 after being called up from the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

Well, that's not exactly what happened. Sgt. Gonzalez was ordered to deploy, but her teenage daughter wouldn't let her go alone.

Spc. Pedraza was determined to accompany her mother to the Middle East, so she put college acceptances on hold and even learned how to be a truck driver, since those were needed, and not supply specialists.

Sgt. Gonzalez says she was "so angry" when she found out her daughter wanted to deploy ... but when they got to the desert, it sounds like all was forgiven. Gonzalez went about her duties all while finding time to sneak into her daughter's bunk and make her bed; she also admits to trying to steal hugs from Jessica whenever she could and that they exchanged verboten "I love you"s over the radio.

I can't imagine being 19 and following my mom into a war zone, not only because it's a war zone, but because at that age, I wanted as much independence as possible. I admire Spc. Pedraza's dedication to her mother and to her country. What she did seems extremely selfless and it appears the risk of her mother's ire and the risk of her own life paid off. She explains:

I think that we have the mother and daughter bond, and we have a soldiers' bond. There's just nothing more you can ask for.

Now that they're both back (and still in the Mass. Army National Guard), I hope Pedraza has picked up where she left off and is pursuing a college eduction. With her invaluable military experience and proven sticktoitiveness, there's nothing that can get in her way.

That said, I do hope she's responsible for making her own bed these days.

How would you feel if your teenager wanted to follow you into a war zone?


  • goddess99
    January 10, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    I can't answer this because I would Never be in the military or war zone. I would be hugely disappointed if my dd wanted to do that.

  • MistressMinerva
    January 10, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    I would never join the military or put myself in a situation like that.

  • MichelleMc
    January 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I am beyond proud of my son for having joined the Army already. He has a leave date in June. He is going into the Infantry & could very well be doing that. He will get the GI bill & invaluable military experience. I love that he wants to serve his country, to give to others & his understanding of giving of himself to others is growing up in its own.

    The lame what if he dies drives me up a wall. Virginia Tech, heck even The recent school shooting should show us that we never know what can happen to our children. Sending them to elementary is no for sure. They can get in a car accident tomorrow, they can do over the country drugs, they can get in a school bus accident they can be in a school shooting. They can go to college & binge drink, get hazed, get shot, get raped. They can get hit by a car, go to a store & be killed in a robbery. When it is their time, it is their time.

    But instead of the "NOT MY CHILD". and it should somehow be someone elses child that protects all of our freedom. I am proud & thankful it is my child that will defend & protect our freedom. He will learn & grow. He will see the world, and then once he has actually grown some, he can then choose the path he wants to go. He can take the time to actually go to school, with school paid for with a stipend. He won't have to have student loans & debt. When he goes for a Job, he will have Eagle Scout. Veteran Preference & a college Degree. Talk about preference.

    He will be following his father & we couldn't be more proud of him, though we never pushed or chose it. He chose it since age 3 & never waivered.

  • saltycoqui
    January 10, 2013 at 8:46 PM
    Wow. That's a special relationship. I wish them well.
    But I still can't believe she would make her daughter's bed!?

  • Janet
    by Janet
    January 11, 2013 at 3:15 PM


    Quoting goddess99:

    I can't answer this because I would Never be in the military or war zone. I would be hugely disappointed if my dd wanted to do that.


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