One-thousand men and women serve in uniform at the 144th Fighter Wing of California's Air National Guard in east central Fresno. Among them Lt. Col. Rick Hern who logged time in Afghanistan in 2007. It was a very difficult time for his daughter Moranda, "You go to bed not knowing if your parent is ok. It was just me. I didn't know any other girls whose father's were deployed at the same time."
Families of those who serve on active duty full time often live on military bases. Moranda didn't. It was very difficult to accept, leaving her angry, afraid and upset, "I didn't really know what to do or how to handle it. I thought I was the only one who went through that."
When she met Kaylie Deakin of Sacramento the pair supported each other. In mid 2009 they created an internet site for girls like themselves. A place to connect for "The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs." BDUs are the battle dress uniforms worn by their traveling dads. The response to the site gave the girls a new challenge – a conference to learn more about each other, their goals and their friendships says Moranda, "The way it's always been, doesn't have to carry forward. There's a way we can help each other."
That two-way street of help continues face to face in March with the first conference of the sisterhood co-sponsored by the California National Guard and other contributors, "Building strong bonds that will last through the future and hopefully help military girls when another deployment comes round."
Hundreds of young women are expected to take part in the 3 day event at the Clovis Memorial District Hall. Her dad will be there, "I'm very proud of her with all that's gone on and really looking forward to this weekend."
As for the future of this military daughter? Well, she's been accepted to the Air Force Academy and will report for basic training this June.
Meantime, she's looking for a few good 'Sisters' to step up for duty here and assist the Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs'. Moranda says they will be girls, "Who have a heart for what we're doing and want to take the lead."