Sgt. 1st Class John Monnett didnâ€™t receive a tie, cologne or dress socks this Fatherâ€™s Day; instead he enjoyed an MRE with his wife in the desert.
Before he began his training at the National Training Center, his 13-year-old daughter called him on the phone to sing a song that she wrote for him.
â€œItâ€™s one of the best gifts Iâ€™ve ever received,â€ said Monnett, who also has a 9-year-old son.
Monnett, a human intelligence collector, assigned to 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, is currently at NTC preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan later this year.
Admittedly, if he werenâ€™t here training, heâ€™d prefer being home enjoying his family. But he understands that service means sacrifice. How does he handle it?
â€œNot looking at it as though they are sacrifices,â€ explained Monnett, who also goes by Danny. â€œFor us, itâ€™s continually looking ahead, knowing that itâ€™s a means to an end, and that itâ€™s taking care of our family.â€
Monnett wasnâ€™t alone on Fatherâ€™s Day.Â He had not just his Army family, but also his best friend â€“ his wife â€“ by his side.Â Both of them are here at NTC preparing to deploy together for the first time.
â€œMy wife and I have been through a lot,â€ said Monnett, reflecting on their shared challenges in the Army. â€œBeing able to see her on a daily basis makes this seem easy.â€
Staff Sgt. Tiffany Monnett, a broadcast journalist in the brigade, appreciates him as her partner and the father of her children.
â€œHeâ€™s very strict, but probably one of the most loving and fair parents that I can think of,â€ said Tiffany. â€œHe knows what the kids want to achieve and pushes them hard to achieve their goals, while still making them feel important.â€
As tears started to well up in her eyes and stream down her cheeks all she could say was, â€œHeâ€™s so awesome.â€
Tiffany, a native of Grants Pass, Ore., explained that on his last deployment, it was hard having him gone. But this time, theyâ€™ll get their deployment done at once, so together they can reintegrate with their kids and spend quality family time together once again.
â€œWe have a good family support group outside of our immediate family,â€ Tiffany said. â€œOur kids are comfortable around them, and we have the satisfaction of knowing theyâ€™ll be safe.â€
Every evening, the Monnetts join the long line of Soldiers formed up for dinner, but they make the most of it and call it a date. They even find opportunities to visit one another during their few short breaks within the long, hectic training days.
But they will soon complete their month-long training here and return home to the best belated Fatherâ€™s Day gift of all â€“ seeing their children once again.
Tiffany, still dabbing a tear from the corner of her eye, said that Danny is one of the best men sheâ€™s ever known and believes that, â€œWith his guidance I know that our kids will grow up and do great things.â€