A captain deploys, while pregnant wife stays

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
In times of conflict throughout history, this is a story heard many times. Men are called to fight a foe, leaving behind a wife. In this case, a wife who is pregnant, and a birth a husband will not be able to see. He will be fighting for his country, exemplifying one of the Air Force Core Values: Service before self. All he and his wife want is to be together to welcome their son into this world. Instead he fights; fights for his wife, fights for his unborn child, and fights to make this world a better place he wants his son to grow up in.

Many Airmen are called to deploy, including Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron. They are currently preparing to deploy to multiple locations in Southwest Asia.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Benjamin Griffith, 606th Air Control Squadron alpha flight commander and native of Bartlett, Tennessee, is one of those Airmen. Being called to deploy, he will miss the opportunity to be with his wife, Christina, and he will miss the birth and first six months of his son's life.

"For the deployment, obviously it is very difficult. This will be our first-born child," Griffith said.  "It's just a part of an Airman's duty, the responsibility. That's why we signed the dotted line... you kind of take these things into account. This might happen, we knew that."

Benjamin and Christina have been together since 2010, and married in June of 2012. His wife is currently eight months pregnant, and with family in the United States awaiting the arrival of their son.

"It's definitely not a great feeling, and it took some time to accept the situation," Christina said. "I try to stay positive and focus on how proud I am of him and that we all must make sacrifices for the safety and security of our nation. If my husband is to miss the birth of his first child, I couldn't think of a better reason to do so."

Squadron members and the services on base have provided support to the Griffiths family during the pregnancy and deployment preparation.

"I have never come across a better group of spouses," Christina said. "They have been a tremendous help to us during this time.  This has definitely been a difficult PCS, one that led straight into a deployment, and I honestly don't know if I would have been able to handle it without the love and support from the 606th spouses."

The Griffiths have been here for only two months, in-processing and preparing to deploy.

"The 606th ACS and the base agencies have been absolutely awesome at making sure of making sure that we have everything we need," Griffith said. "We got the time that we needed to accomplish everything. I got an in-processing checklist when I first arrived, then a week later I received a deployment checklist."

While downrange, Griffith will serve as the daytime senior director leading a team of controllers.

"We'll be out there integrating air space," Griffith said. "Dictating the paths of fixed wing aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, bombers, tankers and fighter aircraft, putting them all in the same air space very close together ensuring that we are de-conflicting them, ensuring they are not running into each other while at the same time, we cover all the operations that are going on, making sure we have coverage."

Although the Griffiths will maintain contact through phone calls and video chat, there is no real substitute for being present for such an occasion.

"I am definitely upset I am going to miss the birth," Griffith said. "It's something we, as service members have to deal with at some point at varying stages of pregnancies."

Spending as much time together with loved ones as possible and staying positive is their advice to fellow military couples.

"Service Before Self is definitely easy to say until sacrifices have to be made, and you actually have to live by it," Christina said. "However, in order to have the freedoms we enjoy today, sacrifices are a necessity. Having said that, there does need to be a balance. I'm a firm believer in 'people first, mission always.' Always do your best to take care of your troops and they will take care of the mission."