Families Feeling Pain of Separation

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

A local general surgeon has been called to serve on the front lines of our country's defenses. Dr. Erik Branstetter's wife, Annette, says she was stunned when her husband was called to active military duty.

"What do you say when one day they're there, [and] the next day they're gone?" Branstetter said, of his sudden departure.

Branstetter says her husband joined the reserves more for financial reasons than anything else.

"We were thinking more of meeting the immediate needs for our family," Branstetter remembers.

She says it didn't really occur to her that her husband could be put in a dangerous situation.

"I sort of felt like he'd be in a capacity where he'd be replacing physicians in another hospital," said Branstetter.

Dr. Branstetter, however, is slated to be part of a mobile medical unit that will travel with the soldiers to give them immediate medical attention.

"They don't even have a tent to sleep in," His wife said. "It's just different. I worry for his safety."

But Annette Branstetter says she knows how badly our forces need a surgeon like her husband overseas. Her own brother fought in Desert Storm. She says she just hopes Erik stays safe, and comes back home soon.

Her husband says the members of the mobile medical units overseas will be equipped with body armor and protective gas masks.