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Soldier deployed overseas before Father’s Day

John Williams Sr. won’t get to see his son for Father’s Day this year. He might not even get a phone call. His son, Specialist Barry Williams, is a member of the National Guard’s 48th Brigade 2121 B Company. He shipped out for Afghanistan Monday, June 8. Barry Williams also had to leave his 13-year-old daughter Kandace Williams for his 12-month overseas deployment. He may not get to hear from her on Father’s Day either. ”Barry really hated to leave Kandace,” said Carolyn Williams, Barry’s mother and the clerk of superior and juvenile courts. “He knows how much she’ll grow and change while he’s gone and he’ll miss that. She’s always been a daddy’s girl. They’re very close.” Before he began his journey to Afghanistan, the soldiers of the 48th Brigade were shipped to Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Miss., for last minute preparations and a promotion ceremony. The Williams family made the trip to Mississippi to see Barry Williams get pinned as a specialist and receive a medal. He asked his father to pin him. ”He had a stormy relationship with his father growing up but now he’s come full circle and that’s why he got his dad to pin him,” said Carolyn. “The medal Barry received shows the countries where his unit has fought. He gave that to his dad to keep until he gets back.” John Williams Sr. knows his son will face difficult times during his deployment but he has faith his training will help him through. ”I’m very proud. He has trained hard and achieved beyond what I thought was capable,” he said. “I’m concerned. I hate he has to learn what kind of world we actually live in. Americans have lived a sheltered life now for about 40 years. He will be changed by what he sees.” John Williams Sr. thinks his Army Reserve discipline and training has also helped Barry become a stronger father. ”He is caring, loving and responsible,” he said. “His training and dedication to the Guard has much to do with this. He is a much improved father figure today. He didn’t show his emotions, but there was no doubt he hated to leave at this time of her (Kandace’s) life.”

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