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Technology enables deployed Airmen, Families to connect

  • Published
  • By Rhonda Griffin
  • 43rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
He's never had the chance to hold his little boy or smother him with kisses. He hasn't been able to tuck him into bed and tell him goodnight. But with the help of modern technology, Staff Sgt. Mark Kosisky has been a part of his 4-month old son Cohen's life since the moment he was born.

On Aug. 10, 2009, Sergeant Kosisky,3rd Aerial Port Squadron, left for Incirlik, Turkey - 44 days before Cohen's birth. When Staff Sgt. Jessica Kosisky, 43rd Security Forces Squadron, went into labor, she called a friend to take her to the hospital, and then immediately called the front desk of her squadron. SFS contacted her husband's dispatcher in Turkey who passed the word along. The proud new daddy called the hospital room, where he was able to be on the phone to experience the birth of his son.

"Everyone was just amazing," Sergeant J. Kosisky said. "My best friend flew in to be with me too and they all gave my husband a play-by-play." Now, with the use of a laptop computer and Skype, Sergeant M. Kosisky gets to spend time with his wife and son every day. "Sometimes we talk for hours at a time," Sergeant J. Kosisky said.

"Skype has been a life saver." The use of a webcam allowed her husband to be there during so many special events in Cohen's life that he otherwise would've missed, such as his first bath. And often, when getting simple day-to-day tasks completed that can be difficult with a little one, Sergeant M. Kosisky gets to be the "webcam babysitter."

"I put the laptop where he can see Cohen and I can cook and clean," Sergeant J. Kosisky said. "It's almost like he's right there with us."

"Both of our units have been very supportive," Sergeant J. Kosisky said of her husband's deployment. "They know I'm doing it by myself and they've done so much to help."

When a family faces the deployment of a loved one, often leaving one spouse at home to take care of the day-to-day that had normally been managed by two people, finding ways to keep in touch and stay connected can be difficult. For those who are searching for ways to contact a deployed family member, the Airman and Family Readiness Center offers support programs as well.

The Morale Call program allows a family member or significant other of a deployed servicemember one 15-minute phone call per week.

"The military member authorizes the person to call through the closest base operator to their location," Tech. Sgt. Jems Smith, 43rd Force Support Squadron, Pope Readiness NCO, said. "Most of the time it's a local call.

"That way, Grandma in Oklahoma can call you through Tinker AFB and talk to you for 15 minutes and she won't be charged," he added.

The center also offers a resource room, which is filled with three computers equipped with Internet access and webcams. Family members can schedule a time between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to use the resource room, and they will be set up to communicate with their deployed loved one. "The majority of members and their families are using Skype at home though," Sergeant Smith added. "They get to make free calls by phone and great value calls on the Internet."