Surprise card connects soldier with home

Friday, October 22, 2004

Senior Master Sgt. Geoff Weimer was born and raised in Cape Girardeau. He's a Central High Schoolgraduate and joined the U.S. Air Force straight out of high school in 1987.

He and his wife, LeAnne, have two sons, Geordan, 1 and Eli. Eli was born nine days after Geoff left for Iraq in late August. He is stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

On Oct. 4, Weimer received a telephone card in the mail from an anonymous source. The envelope was postmarked in Cape Girardeau.

Weimer is the son of John D. and Doris Weimer of Cape Girardeau.

His sister, Cheryl Thiele, and her 15-year-old son, Kenny, live in Cape Giradeau, but Cheryl says she doesn't know who sent the card. Weimer's aunt, Sharon Mantz, lives in Jackson and his uncle and aunt, Robby and Nancy Mantz, live in Farrar, Mo.

The Southeast Missourian tracked down Weimer by e-mail to ask him a few questions about his life and how he's using the phone card. The serviceman's writing style has been left intact:

Q: Tell me about your wife.

A: The former LeAnne Marie Redmore was born in Chicago and grew up in the northern Illinois farmlands southeast of Kankakee. Beaverville to be exact. We met 12 years ago when I was stationed at Pope AFB, N.C. We were married 14 May 94, after which she joined me for the remainder of my assignment in Okinawa. We moved next to New Jersey for about 15 months, then to Utah in 1998. We've been there ever since, except for the year I was in Korea without her. We put off having kids for a while, but LeAnne gave birth to John Geordan (goes by Geordan) on 4 Feb 03.

Q: How and when did you have to say goodbye?

A: I've had to leave LeAnne over 50 times since we've been married; sometimes for days, sometimes for months. But this last departure was definitely the toughest knowing that she would need help with a new baby on the way and handling Geordan at the same time. I left on 17 Aug with the understanding that my next son will be at least four months old before I hold him for the first time.

Q: How and when were you told Eli was born?

A: I knew LeAnne was due to be in the delivery room at 0900, and the doctor had defaulted to C-section because of how Geordan's delivery went 19 months earlier. So I began calling an hour after the operation started, and finally got through after about three hours. The difficulty stemmed from the fact that there is no cell phone reception in the operating room. So, I got to talk to LeAnne in a reasonable amount of time and at least hear some of what Eli uttered in the first couple hours.

Q: How often do you get to call home?

A: Without abusing the telephone system I call home twice a week for 15 minutes at a time. It seems short, but when you do the same type work most days (and a lot of it can't be talked about) a little time to comfort one another and vent some occasional frustration is plenty.

Q: Tell me why the phone card was special.

A: The phone card was really a nice surprise because I have no idea who sent it. The idea that any number of people who support what we're doing here could have mailed the card does a lot to reinforce our pride and commitment to our purpose. The job is much more satisfying with backing from the people of our great nation.

Q: What do you do over there?

A: I manage all facets of maintenance on our fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft. I'm responsible for the training, motivation, welfare and performance of over 200 mechanics of various specialties. Our mission is to provide our operational squadron's pilots with the safest, most reliable combat aircraft possible … and that we do well. We have specialists who maintain the basic airframe and hydraulic systems, some who specialize in avionics, others for electrical and environmental systems, jet engine mechanics, and finally the ones who maintain weapons delivery equipment and load the bombs and missiles we employ in combat. We're all proud of what we do as individuals, and even more so as a team.

We appreciate your time, interest, and support for what we do. Now is a very special time for us to not just perform our individual functions, but to see the effects first hand in the environment we train for day after day at home station. We always hope peaceful means can win political objectives, but failing that we stand ready to enter the fight whenever called upon.

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