Two-year-old Lauren Estrada doesn't know that this morning when she wakes up her daddy won't be there. That's because he'll be in Fort Bliss in El Paso. "It's kind of hard but I did expect it to happen, and we'll just pray that he'll be safe and he'll come home to us," says Veronica Estrada.
Called to active duty 23-year-old, Erik Estrada is a Specialist in the Army Reserve. "I work as a Combat Medic. I work in the EMT and in the ER Burn Unit, (I) help with soldiers basically," Erik says. It's something he's been training for, for four years and now the moment is here, "I am not really afraid, basically I do believe in the strengths of the United States Armed Forces and I do believe that we'll do what we're told and the jobs we were trained to do."
While he knows its possible his call to active duty could lead him to Iraq, for now his family hopes Fort Bliss is as far as the road will take him. "We pray if he does go overseas we will be able to see him again," says Estella Estrada, Eric's mother.
And while saying goodbye isn't easy, the Estrada family is celebrating by enjoying one more moment as a family before their soldier joins the other members of his military family already facing the front lines of war. "Everyone there who is fighting now is family. We hope that they do their job and get it done fast and come back home," says Federico Estrada, Eric's father.
The Estrada's family of soldiers extends to three generations. Erik's grandfather served in World War II, his uncle served in Korea, and now Erik waits for orders to deploy to Iraq from Fort Bliss.