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A special holiday after being a world away

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The holidays are a time we share with close family and friends, and one military family is thankful they are together, as they have spent the last year thousands of miles apart.

A year ago, Guam Army National Guard Specialist Clint Materne was deployed to Afghanistan with the Saligao Platoon leaving behind his pregnant fiance.  "It was hard because I couldn't talk to her," he said. "I was just relaying messages with her father, so it was pretty hard, I felt bad that's all I could think about." "We found out we were pregnant the day before they left, so it's not how I imagined having m first child without him here to experience all the changes and everything but it was OK, we had a lot of support from our family," added Ciena Calvo.

Being so far from home and in harm's way put stress on the both of them.  Ciena was worried about her Clint's safety, with he worried about her and his unborn child. "It was hard and it took long, but at the same time we were always busy so we were always occupied that helped us keep our mind off of things," he said.  "We were just busy doing back-to-back missions talking to people just doing our jobs basically, it was everyday so it was fairly busy out there."

Ciena found herself lonely and spent her days attending school at the University of Guam, recalling, "There's definitely a lot of sacrifices, but you just got to roll with the punches."

Clint had come home for R&R in hopes to see the birth of his child, but Alejandra-Ysabel decided to come three days after her daddy left. she met him for the first time when he arrived home early Wednesday morning. He's looking forward to spending time with her now that he's home for the holidays. "When they first got deployed, I didn't think that they'd be here for the holiday season and then they called and he said that he's coming we were very happy that we can spend our first holiday season as a family together," said Ciena

Clint added, "Support your troops and their families because the families are the main support back home and without them it'll be harder for us out there."

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