Photo Information

This summer Ashley K. Geoco will give birth to Cameron. The father, Lance Cpl. Tom Geoco, from Peoria, Ariz., a radio operator with Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, will be deployed to Afghanistan and will miss the birth of his son. The Geoco Family isnt alone. More than ten couples in Americas Battalion will give birth during the deployment. The Geocos said though they knew this was a possibility for a Marine family, it doesnt make the separation easier. Ashley, from Glendale, Ariz., said she will rely on the support of family and the Operation Special Delivery program. The program provides trained volunteer doulas for pregnant women whose husbands or partners have been severely injured, or who have lost their lives due to the current war on terror, or who will be deployed at the time they are due to give birth. Models for portraits: Chasity and Lance Cpl. Shane T. Tackett.

Photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga

While he's gone: How life goes on for deployed father-to-be

1 Jun 2010 | Sgt. Mark Fayloga

She will miss him.

She will miss his laugh and bright smile … his presence. She will miss how, when he walks into a room their two boys, Kellan and Carter, light up and run to him yelling, “Daddy!”

He’ll miss the family routine. He’ll miss 7 o’clock, after he’s read the boys a story and put them to bed.  He’ll miss when it’s just the two of them, curled up together on the off-white sofa watching their shows together — the married with kids version of a date.

As much as he’ll miss his wife, with her unconditional love, he’ll miss those boys. They’re at the ages where the world is just starting to come into focus for them. He could watch them explore all day, showing them things along the way — their tour guide to life.

He’ll miss being there for the boys and he won’t be there for her. He won’t be there for the odd cravings as her stomach swells. He won’t get to rush her to the hospital and hold her hand, telling her he loves her. And he won’t be there to hear that first small cry as his newest son, Cameron, comes into the world.

This summer while Lance Cpl. Tom Geoco is supporting the war in Afghanistan, his wife Ashley will be giving birth to their third child.

The couple has some experience with this. Geoco was in boot camp when his second son was born. He first saw Carter the day he became a Marine. Though this is slightly different, this time he’s at war.

Sweethearts since freshman year at Glendale Community College in Arizona, the two 23-year-olds hadn’t planned on bringing another child into the world while separated, but as a military family they understand. He knew this was a possibility when he enlisted. She knew this was a possibility when she first saw him proudly wearing his uniform.

It’s not only the sacrifice of the Marine but of the people who make him whole: the worried parents, the loving siblings, the lifelong friends, the expectant mother and unborn son — all the pieces of a family.

Geoco’s life will change in an instant. Cameron will grow as summer fades to fall. For now, his boys will have to explore the world without daddy there to show them the way.

While he’s gone life at home goes on.