Sgt. Christopher Ikeda, left, Master Sgt. Craig Ikeda and Pvt. Jared Ikeda stood yesterday near an M-4A3E8 tank outside the Tropic Lightning Museum at Schofield Barracks. Craig Ikeda and his son Jared will be deployed to Iraq next year, while his other son, Christopher, recently returned from duty in Afghanistan.

Iraq duty calls
father and son

The Hawaii National Guard
call-up means more goodbyes
for the Ikeda family of Kalihi

The war in the Middle East is proving to be a family affair for the Ikedas of Kalihi.

While one son just returned from Afghanistan after serving nine months with the Hawaii Army National Guard, another son and their father get ready to leave for a year-long deployment in Iraq next year.

Eve Ikeda worries especially about her youngest son, who will be on the front lines.

"I didn't realize until later that he had signed on to be the gunner on a Humvee," Eve said. "He's going to be shot at and have to shoot back.

"But God is in control. ... I have faith that everything will be all right."

All three Ikeda men are Guard members: Craig, a 39-year veteran and master sergeant in the 29th Infantry Brigade, will be doing logistics with the Headquarters & Headquarters Company, while his youngest son, Jared, is a private with Delta Company.

Chris, who just returned from Afghanistan, is a sergeant with Bravo Company, 193rd Aviation.

"We were working long hours keeping the aircraft flying, and sometimes we didn't get much sleep," said Chris, 24. "We did have rockets occasionally, sandstorms and things like that."

Craig and Jared leave later this month for training on the mainland before being deployed to Iraq early next year.

Master Sgt. Craig Ikeda was flanked yesterday by his sons, Sgt. Christopher Ikeda, left, and Pvt. Jared Ikeda as they talked at Schofield Barracks about their war duties. Craig and Jared Ikeda will be deployed to Iraq; Christopher Ikeda just returned after nine months in Afghanistan.

Chris said he knew it was a possibility that his father and brother could also be called up to go, but he was hoping it wouldn't happen, for his mother's sake.

"I sort of figured it would be a matter of time, just looking around the country at the number of National Guardsmen being activated," he said. "When I found out, I wasn't in shock. I just didn't know what to say."

Craig said his wife was "very apprehensive" at first about him and Jared going.

"She didn't want both of us going," he said. "But as it is, that's part of our duty and she's accepted it.

"She feels what we're doing there is the right thing."

Eve said it was difficult initially but that having Chris leave for war first prepared her somewhat.

"Chris sort of paved the way, though it was hard at first," she said. "But if you're in the National Guard, you can't just receive all the benefits and not put in any time.

"And this family is definitely putting in the time."

Eve said she will be fine thanks to Chris, her two daughters and support from the members of Kalihi Union Church.

And Jared noted that he and his father will have each other.

"It makes me feel a lot better that I have family out there and that I'll be able to see him," said Jared, 20. "Plus, he'll be in a secure area while I'm keeping the convoy safe."

It will be his father's job in logistics to make sure that soldiers like his son get the supplies they need, when they need it.

So in a sense, Craig said he will still be able to be a father, even in Iraq. "My job really hasn't changed," he said with a smile.



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