The war officially ended in Iraq last week with most of the troops home for Christmas, but for the troops in Afghanistan, the war continues and deployment is longer than six months. For every soldier deployed for at least a year, many were granted a two-week furlough during the holiday season.
Captain Mathew Clough has not seen his family except through Skype since February and wasn’t expected home until next May. Technology, like email and Skype, has kept families in close contact, but nothing is better than to see children excited to see their dad in person.
Last Wednesday Capt. Clough walked into his twins’ pre-school classroom at Chester Presbyterian Church and surprised his twins with his homecoming. He and his wife, Nicole, had just arrived from Salem Elementary where he surprised his eldest daughter, Taylor. Before the reunion, the twins’ teacher, Mrs. Marny, was very careful with keeping the curious and inquisitive twins away from the extra activity in the hallways.
As Capt. Clough appeared at the doorway, it wasn’t more than a few seconds before the girls were up and running to their daddy. Hugs and kisses and then more hugs. The twins and Taylor were happy. Smiles abound in the classroom while watching Dad visiting with both, then all three and then each by themselves.
Sidney and Trinity, 3, were also happy to see MiMi and Poppop attend their class Christmas party. Richard and Maria Taylor came to visit from Pennsylvania, for the girls’ birthday over the weekend. With their son-in-law arriving home for R and R, they stayed a few extra days before leaving for Washington for a White House tour and then their return trip home. Attending the Christmas Party didn’t seem unusual for the girls since other parents and grandparents were in attendance.
Clough’s mom, Sandra Clough, also a Chester resident, watched as her son surprised the twins. Very proud of his accomplishments, which include being a Marine for four years, getting his masters degree after his service and then joining the Air Force, said she is praying this is his last deployment. He has served the country for 17 years.
Watching Capt. Clough’s reunion with his family was truly a tearful experience, because everyone watching knew he would be returning to Afghanistan in just a few short weeks. But for now, the joyous occasion meant a very Merry Christmas for the Clough family.
Capt. Clough serves in the Air Force with the police security division. This is his third deployment to Afghanistan. When asked how things were going over there he said, “It depends on what day it is.”