FORT POLK, La. (KALB) - Forget cards and chocolate for Mother’s Day, this year a pair of Fort Polk soldiers in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division were excited to see their moms! On Tuesday night, 250 more 3-10 soldiers returned from their deployment to Iraq.
SPC Mark Olivo and family | Image Source: KALB
Specialist Stephen Smith, an Alexandria native has been stationed at Fort Polk since the summer of 2016 and said it's good to be close to family again.
It’s been incredible. It’s helped out with everything from family relations to friends, everything. (I’ve) been keeping up with family better, being able to go to Grandma’s for lunch every Sunday. Mother’s Day is also special for her. Being able to see my father as well and his side of the family more as well. It’s just been really beneficial and good for the mind.” Spc. Smith added that so far in his Army career, he’s gone about two years without being able to visit family.
Specialist Mark Olivo isn't ashamed to admit he's a momma's boy. “I was born on Mother’s Day if that gives any indication,” he joked. “I definitely call myself a momma’s boy. I grew up very close to her, she’s one of my best friends.”
Because Mother’s Day was so close to his re-deployment, Spc. Olivo said he wasn’t able to send her anything this year. “I told her my present (to her) is just me being back,” he laughed.
The San Antonio native comes from a military family. His mother Angie Bolanos went through a deployment with her husband and while she knows the drill, she said it doesn't get easier.
"That’s your baby and you really worry!" she said. "My husband was deployed but it’s a completely different feeling. I’ve known him for his whole life. A mother’s love is very different!”
“I’m so excited,” the mother exclaimed, squeezing her son. “I told him the last time I went nine months without seeing him was when he was in my stomach!”
Bolanos added that this was the second best Mother’s Day ever since Spc. Olivo was born on Mother’s Day.
Spc. Olivo is glad to be home too and said one of the things he missed the most while deployed was his mom's chicken casserole! “There’s something about it. I can eat a whole platter of it!”