Military mom proud of her military sonsWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Colleen Klausner, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, is exceptionally proud of her three sons. After all, they do take after her and her husband Kent, also a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Ed, 21, is a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy and wants to go into Marine aviation.
“I just can’t say how proud I am,” Colleen said of her oldest child.
Middle son Peter, 19, is a sophomore in Bowling Green State University’s ROTC program and a member of the Ohio National Guard. Peter was so committed to joining the military, he started basic training the summer between his junior and senior year of high school, Colleen said.
“He was probably the baby of the group, but he’s tall,” Colleen said with a laugh.
The youngest son, Sam, 16, plays for St. Francis de Sales High School’s quiz bowl team and plans to follow in Peter’s footsteps.
“I don’t know if it’s me or Kent, my hubby, but they’re all very comfortable in their own skin,” Colleen said of her boys.
Colleen said she and her husband, who live in Lambertville, Mich., didn’t actively push for their children to join the military, but that it happened naturally.
“They just naturally gravitated toward military things, military movies; I go home and turn the TV on and it’s the Military.com channel,” Colleen said.
Ed, who along with Peter was trekking across Europe on a summer adventure at press time, said in an email, “I was inspired by the challenge and adventure of a career in the military, particularly of a career as a Marine officer. My brother, Peter, says that he was inspired to join the military because of the knowledge and experience he would gain from no other organization.”
Colleen, who works in the University of Toledo’s ROTC human resources department, joined ROTC as a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Colleen met Kent, who works for a Chicago electric company and commutes on weekends, while they were on duty in Germany in 1987. Her father and Kent’s father were both naval officers as well.
The hardest part of being in a military family is knowing your spouse is missing major events while he or she is on deployment, Colleen said. Both she and Kent were deployed to the Middle East on separate occasions.
Ed wrote, “This made us stronger as a family because as brothers we had to help out each other when one parent was away.”
He also said, “We are particularity proud of our Mom’s actions in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she received a combat action badge and our Dad’s achievements during Desert Storm.”
Colleen, who had been working in sales, was deployed to Baghdad in 2003 after going back into active duty.
“I got a FedEx letter and within 24 hours, I was gone. It was just like that fast,” Colleen said, snapping her fingers.
“It was really harder on Kent because all I had to do was take care of myself. He had to work and take care of the three boys and make sure things were fine at home,” she said. Colleen added that the community looked out for the family, leaving them lasagna on the porch and driving the boys to hockey practice.
“When my husband was deployed, I never got the lasagna on the porch,” Colleen said with a chuckle.
Colleen offers advice to ROTC students, especially the female students and those going to airborne school, where they prepare to jump out of planes, like she did.
Colleen said, “Just look at the horizon. Don’t look at that ground because that ground will come up fast.”
In regards to being a woman in service, Colleen said being physically fit made the men in the Army more ready to accept her.
“It’s sad. (That shouldn’t be like that) because there’s so many strong, great women that maybe aren’t as physically fit. They’re smart or whatever their thing is. It’s still kind of a man’s world in the military,” she said.
Still, she said she enjoys being the lone woman in the Klausner family.
“I love it. I do love it,” she said with a smile.