LAWTON, Okla. – A 72-year-old great-grandmother is preparing for deployment to the war zone in Iraq and will become one of the oldest Department of Defense (search ) civilian workers in the war zone.
"I volunteered," said Lena Haddix (search ) of Lawton, who has five children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. "I wanted to do something for the country, because I was always left behind taking care of the children."
Haddix was a military wife from 1950 until 1979, and has worked at the Fort Sill Post Exchange (search ), or PX, since 1977.
"I've been a supervisor of every department out there," Haddix said. "I guess I'm the flunky."
The PX is more than just a store for soldiers, she said. It's also a boost to morale, giving soldiers stationed overseas a link to the United States and Haddix said that's why she wants to go to Iraq.
"I just see so many of the boys. They're like little kids. They keep telling me, 'I'm going over,' or 'I've just come back,'" she said.
"I would just like to go over and be with them."
And Haddix said others have tried to talk her out of her decision, to no avail.
"I'd already made up my mind I wanted to go. I just wanted to do something for myself and other people instead of working and coming home.
"I'm sure there'll be times that I'll be scared, but I'm not now."
Haddix is now going through much of the same process soldiers go through before deployment, including shots and a thorough medical checkup to make sure she's physically able to do a tour of at least six months.
She will be sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, for one week of training, then be sent to Germany where she will receive her orders on where in Iraq she will be stationed.