Whitehall area Army Reserve unit makes last minute preparation before leaving for Iraq

Members of the Whisman family collect information.
Members of the Whisman family collect information.

Wednesday some Whitehall area Army Reservists and their families reviewed what they need to take care of before leaving for Iraq. For some families this will be the first time they’re apart. For others, it’s just routine.

“OK, well, we already did this we’ll just do it again. But the first time, yeah, it was a reality check,” Michele Jaconette said.

This is the second time Specialist Michele Jaconette will leave her husband behind to serve in Iraq. Jaconette and others in the 376th Finance Battalion take care of finances. They handle payroll and other funding for military personnel and civilian contractors in Iraq. The soldiers were briefed on writing their wills, making sure the correct recipients are on their life insurance policies and family support services. While Jaconette said it’s difficult to be away from her husband, she said it has to be easier than if she were a mom.

“I think it’s a lot easier because I don’t have to worry about little ones and missing anything, especially being a female, yeah, definitely,” Jaconette said.

For 2nd Lieutenant Paul Whisman the separation will likely be difficult. Whisman will leave behind his wife and three very young boys ages five, three and one. And his wife is pregnant. The fourth son is due at the end of August. While he said it is sobering to discuss wills and life insurance beneficiaries, he said it’s also a comfort.

“If you take care of the things that need to be done it’s a relief to know that know matter what happens everything will be taken care of. So, that is a big relief if you, especially if you have children and have a wife who if for any reason has to do things on her own,” Whisman said.

And Whisman’s wife, Emily, will be the head of the house for at least a year. With a baby due in just a few months she said they’ve already bought a year’s supply of diapers – and they’re filling their freezer. But Emily said her faith helps console her.

“Paul’s made tons of pancakes and stuff, things, we have a freezer. And also we’re members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we have a really good support system. And so I don’t know how people do it without that. And there is a good support system through the Army as well. They have some resources, too. And I just pray a lot. So, we know we’ll get through it. It’ll be alright,” Emily Whisman said.

There are about 30 soldiers with the 376th Finance Battalion going to Iraq – about one-third of them are from the Whitehall area. The unit will be deployed for at least one year. They’ll depart for their mobilization station Monday.