The men and women fighting the war in Iraq each have a duty. Whether they are on the front lines, securing the home front, or serving as medics, every job is crucial to complete the mission and one Lubbockite is telling their stories.
She's a journalist in the Navy aboard the USNS Comfort, and even though she's not on the front line, her mother eagerly awaits her return.
NewsChannel 11 got to the house just in time for Erica Mater to call home. "Oh it's her, it's her oh ooh ooh, hi," Arlene Mater said to her daughter.
Arlene feels fortunate to have email communication with Erica, but she says its even better to hear her voice. "It's good to hear your voice, how's it going?", Arlene said. "It's going. We're getting ready to call it a day," Erica replied.
Erica's military days started in high school with the Lubbock High ROTC. Her mother said the structure and discipline, along with a college education, led Erica to join the Navy. "She's always been into something, she's always wanted to do something exciting and daring and I don't think you could get much more daring then this," Arlene said.
Erica's job for this mission is as a Navy Journalist, but since the war started, she's written a number of articles that have been picked up by the Associated Press. "For me personally the hardest part of this war as a Journalist, being on the hospital ship is really hard for me because in a way I really feel insignificant, like I'm not contributing like these doctors are, but I know I'm helping morale", Erica told us over the phone.
But Erica's mission isn't as a medic, her's is to tell the story. She doesn't know how long their mission will take, but knowing she's coming home is what keeps her mom going. "Knowing that she'll be home soon, knowing that she's coming back," Arlene said.
Arlene tells Erica on the phone, "I'm trying, I'm trying, I'm trying not to cry. I love you too, a whole bunch."
The USNS Comfort is a hospital ship, currently they are treating US soldiers and Iraqi civilians. However, their mission also includes humanitarian assistance, so when the war is over they could still have work to do.