From Fatherhood to Fort Hood - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/12/03

From Fatherhood to Fort Hood

In Texas alone, 14 army reserve units have been ordered to mobilize as part of the buildup in the middle east. Among them are ten soldiers from the 792nd medical detachment here in Lubbock.

His bags are packed, the hummer's being loaded, all that's left are the hard goodbyes. "She's dreading the separation. You know it's going to be emotional," says Cpt. Richard Dickerson. Llynn Dickerson says she has to let go. In less than 48 hours, her husband Captain Richard Dickerson, will be on his way to Fort Hood. But it's not a war he'll be preparing for it's a fight to keep troops healthy. "We're looking for chemical and biological hazards, we're looking for diseased organisms, we're looking for insects and rats to make sure the troops don't get sick," he says.

As an Army Preventative Medicine Specialist, Dickerson and nine others from Lubbock will be in charge of caring for a large number of soldiers. "A sick soldier is an ineffective soldier. We make sure that the food and water are safe. We take soil, water and air samples," he says.

In addition to that, Dickerson will be inspecting dining facilities and running tests to make sure troops don't suffer from heat exhaustion or hypothermia. While he's busy taking care of hundreds of soldiers his wife will look after their two stepdaughters. Unlike most teenage girls who worry about clothes, makeup and boys; his girls can only wonder when their step-dad will return. "They want to know how long is it going to be for sure. Well we don't know, just as long as it takes," Lynn says.

Captain Dickerson says he's ready to go but there's one last thing he has to do before Friday. Since he won't be here for Valentines day, he promised to take his wife out to dinner on Thursday night. They also have plans to write each other every week.

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