NEW YORK – “I love you more than anything in the world!” Teresa Coble tells her 5-year-old son, Troy, as she tickles him in the backyard of their Fayetteville, N.C., home — just outside of Ft. Bragg.
Coble, a 27-year-old single mother, treasures the small moments that most parents take for granted.
She is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan for at least a year — leaving behind her only child as he begins kindergarten. She said Troy needs her more than ever, but the U.S. Army does too. Sgt. First Class Coble is a public affairs officer with the 82nd Airborne and has orders to serve in Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.
“I love my son and to me, it’s a constant battle. I’m a single parent and I am in the military,” she told Fox News.
VIDEO: On the Homefront
Coble joined the military nearly a decade ago at age 18. She comes from a military family — her brother is currently serving, her father was in the Army. When the recession began last year, Coble re-enlisted to ensure financial stability for Troy.
“Being able to provide for him — to know that I have a paycheck coming twice a month. That I can take him to the doctor...To know that I will always have food on our table and a roof over our heads — that’s huge to me,” she said.
Coble appreciates the chance to serve, but her commitment comes at a price. Her son will live with his father in Maryland while Coble is deployed. It is a disruption in his life, said Coble, and it is not the first time.
This is her third deployment to a war zone in five years. She has served in Iraq twice – including a year-long deployment when Troy was just 9 months old.
“Leaving your family — the deployment cycles that we are in right now — that’s not an easy thing. It wreaks havoc on family and relationships,” Coble said.
Just before leaving for Afghanistan, Coble took her son on one last family vacation to the beach in Rehobeth, Del., close to where her mom lives. Sitting on the sand on a sunny July afternoon, Coble broke down.
“I don’t know how I am going to do it. I know I will do it, but sometimes I think, 'How will my legs get up and walk onto that plane and walk away from my son? How will I physically make myself do it?'" she said. “Leaving your child is not an easy thing to do.”
Coble is now in Kandahar, Afghanistan, thinking about the choice she made to remain in the military.
“There are days that I that I ask myself 'How could you do this?' I made a commitment and I’m doing something that I believe in. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I believe in what we do," she said.
"I believe in the good that we are trying to accomplish. My only hope is that Troy looks back one day and he is proud and he understands.”
This article highlights the story of an American soldier as part of the ongoing series “On the Homefront.” The next segment will air tonight at 7 p.m. ET on "The Fox Report with Shepard Smith."