The Daily News, Jacksonville, North Carolina


And now, the rest of the story
February 11,2007
CHRISSY VICK View stories by reporter
Daily News Staff

Julie Beagle knows what it's like to worry about her husband, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Mike Beagle, who is currently on his third tour in Iraq.

She knows what it's like to give birth to a child without him by her side - she's done it once and is getting ready to do it again. And she knows what it's like to celebrate her birthday without the man she loves most. She turned 26 on Thursday.

But Julie Beagle had a chance, along with other wives of Marines with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, to share her story in "War Stories Iraq: The Homefront to the Frontlines." The Oliver North Fox News program, which airs tonight at 10 p.m., will feature the Marines of 1/6 and their families.

North and his team were embedded with the battalion in Ramadi, Iraq, in the Al Anbar province. The battalion deployed in September for a seven-month stay that was later extended 60 to 90 days when President Bush announced in January that more troops would be going to Iraq.

To show how the families of the Marines were affected by the deployment, North and his team traveled to Camp Lejeune to interview the wives. North even held a luncheon for all of the wives of 1/6 last month.

"I felt really honored to be a part of it," Beagle said. "Throughout the whole taping I just kept reminding myself that I'm representing so many other people that are going through the same things, the same challenges."

A camera crew followed Beagle for two days in December, documenting her family, their hopes and struggles.

"They had me do crazy things like carrying my groceries out of the house like five times," Beagle said with a laugh. "But at some point you kind of forget the cameras are even taping."

North and his crew asked Beagle how she met her husband, the difficulty of hearing the news when it's not good and how she stays connected.

When North asked her what qualities it took to be a Marine wife, Beagle simply said "faithfulness."

"Not the whole clich Semper Fidelis, but having lots of prayers, hope," said Beagle, originally from Virginia. "You spend a lot of time having faith."

Sue Jurney, wife of battalion commander Lt. Col. William Jurney, said the program is important because it shows the sacrifice of the wives. Previous tapings of "War Stories" have focused on the bravery of the Marines and sailors in combat zone, she said.

"The American people don't often hear about the wives serving on the homefront," Jurney said. "They don't realize the sacrifice that the wives experience when their husband is deployed in harm's way. This special was able to capture some of what we as military spouses go through on a normal day."

The show was refreshing in the face of media that is often "negative and discouraging," she said.

"With the recent announcement that this deployment would be extended, it was nice timing for all of us to feel that our sacrifice here at home is not only acknowledged but appreciated," Jurney said. "The wives in 1/6 are simply amazing women and are a great example of the strength that is found in all Marine wives."

Many wives will show that strength again as the battalion is scheduled to deploy "approximately seven to nine months after they return from Iraq, assuming operational requirements remain constant," according to a January press release.

Rachael Allen, also a 1/6 wife featured in "War Stories," said it's important for people to see the hardships of active-duty service members and their families.

"I think currently the focus seems to be on the politics of why we're in Iraq or why we're not," said Allen, wife of Gunnery Sgt. Ken Allen, currently on his first tour to Iraq. "I think the story is getting lost about the sacrifices that the active-duty military are making and the families back here."

She hopes "War Stories" will bring that to life.

"People get busy in their day-to-day lives if they're not personally affected by it," said Allen, who has two daughters, 11 and 9. "I think they forget the sacrifices that are being made to protect their right to freedom."

Jennifer White, wife of Capt. Jody White, company commander of 1/6's Charlie Company, feels the same way. She has five children ranging from age 1 to 14, and her husband has seen seven deployments in his 10-year career - two of those to Iraq.

She said she sees the importance of Sunday's show as a reminder to those without a military connection.

"I know it's very frustrating for our military personnel over there who are sacrificing and the American public isn't being told of the progress that is made in Iraq," White said. "It's important just so the American people know what our lives are like as military families, how we live day to day with an absent spouse. It was real."