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Connecting Military and Family During and After Long Deployments


SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) It was a long-awaited homecoming for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), which returned to Naval Station Norfolk on January 17. The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier operated for an additional 76 days in the Mediterranean Sea due to the Israel-Hamas conflict, for a total of 8 months deployment.

As part of the homecoming, many sailors met their newborn babies on the pier for the first time. In fact, nearly 100 babies were born while the Ford was deployed. To celebrate, the USO hosted a Special Delivery baby shower honoring the new parents with refreshments and gifts.

The USO Special Delivery program features baby showers that provide a touch of home and are an important part of the USO’s mission to strengthen the well-being of the people serving in America’s military and their families. Through these events, expectant parents can build meaningful connections with other military families who understand the challenges of pregnancy when far from home and separated from the support of loved ones, including even their spouses sometimes. They also fill a much-needed gap – last year, 72% of participants stated that this is the only baby shower they will receive. The USO hosted 85 Special Delivery events in 2023 that supported over 3,000 parents. One of those expectant parents was Stacey Dyadushenko, who attended a Special Delivery event at the USO center on Fort Liberty in North Carolina while her husband was deployed to Eastern Europe.

“The USO has helped me connect with – and build a sense of community with – other military spouses here in the Fort Liberty area who are going through some of the same challenges I am. Sometimes you feel you don’t have the resources you need, but that’s where programs like this really help and support us.”

To learn more about these programs and how to support them, visit

Deployments and relocations can put a strain on the military community, particularly when they are in the process of starting a family. But thanks to programming that fosters community and provides connection, military families can feel supported during a challenging, but exciting time in their lives.

Photo Credit: USO

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