SPRINGS, Ariz. - Cecilia Wauneka wishes she could turn back time
so her children would stay home. But that's not the case.
and her husband, Edison Wauneka, have two children on the way to
Jerrick Charles, 26, is in his sixth year of service with the U.S.
Corps and Pvt. Michelle Wauneka, 19, completed boot camp for the
Army last summer and is currently working with intelligence.
a bright kid," Edison Wauneka said about Michelle. "She
was a real good role model for the younger kids as far as their
Charles will be in Kuwait for about three months and Michelle about
really tried to talk Michelle out of it," Edison Wauneka said.
"But it was both their choices. Even though it's scary at times
but we have to support them.
I think they're safer than we are," he added.
said they are safer because of the training and survival skills
instilled in them through boot camp.
response to a threat or terrorism they "would at least know
what to do," Edison Wauneka said.
Everson Wauneka, 17, is set to go off to boot camp in July for the
Army. Everson is a student at Window Rock High School and competes
on the wrestling team.
younger brother, Braunson Wauneka, 14, and sister Lonna Wauneka,
16, are planning to enlist into the armed forces as well after they
complete high school.
the parents that's only a few years away.
eldest son, Jason Charles, was honorably discharged from the Marine
Corps. He is currently employed with Pepsi Cola.
the United States started bombing Baghdad in March 2003, Edison
and Cecilia thought Jerrick was in Kuwait because that was what
he had told them. His parents found out later that he was on the
was a surprise," Edison Wauneka said. "He told us that
he did that on purpose. He just kept it to himself."
we found him in the Albuquerque Journal guarding a base in Baghdad,"
Cecilia Wauneka said. The photo showed them that Jerrick had kept
his location a secret from his parents.
told him, 'Why didn't you tell us you were in Baghdad?'" Cecilia
recalled. "He told me, 'That's exactly why - because I knew
you would get hysterical.'"
Charles was with a company that was deployed when the bombing began.
His outfit unloaded equipment and vehicles the United States used
to search for Saddam Hussein.
said when he came home for a furlough in October he told stories
of being on the front line. He was home for three months and left
for Kuwait and Baghdad on Feb. 3.
of the troubling stories Cecilia Wauneka heard was of a friend.
days into the war his company was ambushed," she said. A member
of his outfit got lost as the rest of the company fled.
told his commander that he wanted to go back and find him but was
told 'No,'" she said. "That bothered him. They knew where
he was at, too. But they couldn't do anything about it. They found
out later that he was tortured and then killed by the Iraqis.
said, 'If we could have went back we would have saved him,'"
I picked him up and we were driving through Yuma (Ariz.), he talked
about it then he got quiet for a long time," Cecilia Wauneka
just changed the subject and talked about things going on at home
and he started talking again after a while."
stories had to do with skills he learned on the reservation.
butchered one of Saddam's llamas," Cecilia Wauneka said with
a smile. "They tired him out. I guess one the guys he was with
had a shovel, another one had an ax and he was the one who chased
it. They tired out the llama.
butchered it like a sheep. He was the expert in butchering,"
always taught the children to set goals for themselves," she
added. "Maybe that's why it was hard to talk them out of going."
I knew Michelle was going I told the recruiter 'Can I enlist too?'"
Edison Wauneka laughed. "He said, 'No, you're too old.'
really think that's why my son re-enlisted," he added. "Because
he knew that she was going to over there. They serve different branches
but at least they'll be in the same place together.
think we need to be patriotic for our country and our kids,"
Edison Wauneka said. "Native Americans have always been warriors.
It's in their blood. All we can do is pray and support them because
that's the best we can do for them."
Wauneka said he disagrees with President Bush's administration.
In the old days when warriors fought, the leader led his band in
of leading they're in the back telling them what to do," he