Fort Wayne, IN (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - This Memorial Day one local family spent the holiday thinking about an important part of the family that "duty has called" half way around the world.
For Nathan Sittler and his six-year-old daughter Alex, the bacon, eggs and toast would taste better if somebody else was there to share it all.
Alex said goodbye to her mother, Army Reservist Heather Sittler, last July for deployment to Afghanistan.
Sittler, with the 384th Military Police Battalion out of Fort Wayne, that has sent hundreds of people overseas the past decade, is leading a 10-member detachment on a current mission Alex is well-versed in.
Alex says her mother is, "Training the Afghan soldiers to become soldiers that do the right thing?"
It's not been the easy thing, though, for any involved.
This mission is Heather's third deployment since she and Nathan were married.
The second, to Iraq, happened when Alex was just a year-old.
For Nathan, it's a lesson in the ups and downs of single parenting.
Nathan says, "Not to diminish it. It really stinks, but the normal everyday struggles that everybody has got, it's just something else added to it."
Contact is limited to mostly Facebook and email. With a once a week date time via Skype, which is complicated by poor Internet connection.
"Skype doesn't work very well all the time, but well enough that at least I can get a pixilated picture of her," says Nathan.
Both sets of grandparents have been a support, as well as co-workers from Heather's regular job in Fort Wayne.
They've taken turns delivering meals to the Sittler household, during the Afghanistan tour of duty.
Heather is supposed to return in July. But the routine has taught deployments can drag on several months beyond schedule.
Regarding his daughter, Nathan prefers to steer clear of certain subjects.
"The ugly side of a deployment, some of the possibilities that you don't like to think about, we really don't talk about that," says Nathan.
Alex remains hopefully that her mommy, that she’s so proud of, can come home soon.
Sgt. Heather Sittler has three-years left until retirement, which means husband and daughter may not be done with long distance relationships.
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