'Cassidy's mom is calling from Iraq'

A Navy medic who served with the Marines in Iraq was honored at her daughter’s school. From the San Jose Mercury News:

Sometimes, they’d patch Shannonjon Benton right into her daughter’s kindergarten classroom. While Mrs. Huntzinger called for quiet — “Shhh. Cassidy’s mom’s calling from Iraq” — the single-parent soldier tried to suck it up.

“You can’t cry,” said Benton, 38, a Navy combat corpsman who returned home last month and was honored Friday morning at Vargas Elementary, where two of her kids have gone to school. “It was especially hard over the holidays because you just want to cry. You wait two hours for a phone, choppers coming in, and it’s surreal, but you get on that phone and you be happy and you tell them everything’s great.”

I’m trying to imagine Mom calling home from Fallujah to tell her kindergartener that everything’s great.

About Joanne


  1. Why on earth should American soldiers have to wait two hours for a phone? If there’s one thing we have as a society, it’s communications bandwidth and equipment.

    Either somebody isn’t very good at their job, or somebody doesn’t care very much.

  2. Mike, a diag in Texas says:

    In 1990, I waited for over 70 days to get to a phone in Saudi Arabia. The number of soldiers is great and the amount of phone time is fleeting. Heck, I heard in the Viet Nam war some folks had to wait 6 months to get near a phone.

  3. *Wow* This really brings the war home and illustrates the sacrifice that so many are doing on our behalf.

  4. Walter E. Wallis says:

    My grandson phones several times a month from Faluja and goes on line with pictures at least once a month. He might, of course, check in more often with his girlfriend. There is still a war on, so tactical requirements need priority over recreational bandwidth.

  5. P. Abel says:

    Those are the realities of being in a combat zone. Imagine being in the front lines in Fallujah, Baghdad or Mosul. There aren’t exactly phone booths set up on every corner. The soldiers are busy staying alive including the comm guys who are responsible for yes, insuring that during downtime or what passes for downtime there, the soldiers can access a phone to call stateside. I’m guessing you don’t have a loved one over there. Seen the pictures of them sleeping on the ground, eating MRE’s? As important as those calls home are, staying alive, eating and sleeping are a priority too. The comm guys/gals many times go with less sleep just to insure their soldiers can access the phones 🙂

    Welcome home HM Benton. Your service was appreciated!

  6. Just to clarify…my comment about those who don’t care and/or aren’t doing their jobs very well wasn’t directed at the comm people on the front lines, who I am sure are doing the best they can. It was directed at those in higher positions–military, contractor, or civilian–who haven’t procured and deployed appropriate comm facilities.

  7. Roberts says:

    In comparison to recent conflicts, this is an astonishingly high amount of communications for soldiers.

    In comparison to historical conflicts, it is nearly miraculous.