Military couple ready for activation orders

Tuesday, September 25th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

President Bush has called thousands of reservists to active duty since the attack and thousands more wonder whether their units will be activated. A Tulsa couple is among those waiting for word.

News on Six reporter Glenda Silvey talked with Joe Lomangino and Hollis Cantrell. They are newlyweds; Hollis is a Captain in the Army Reserves, Joe a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Reserves. They don't like the idea of being parted, but are proud to serve their country if they're called. On December 9, 2000, the Attack on America was as unimaginable to Hollis Cantrell and Joe Lomangino as it was to most everyone, especially on their wedding day. Both reservists for 15 years, they are always aware they could be called up.

Hollis was at her job at a Tulsa trucking firm the morning of September 11th, Joe in annual training with his reserve unit in Oklahoma City, when they heard the news. "It was shock. Just pure shock." Hollis is in an engineering support unit; Joe in an artillery unit activated in Operation Desert Storm Desert Shield. Neither unit has been placed on alert, but the two have given thought to what happens if they're activated. Joe Lomangino, "Neither one of us do very well with the other being gone." But both say having a spouse in the military makes it easier. Hollis Cantrell, "With a military background, you kind of understand, 'Well, I know he's going to go through these procedures and processes and I know what it's going to be like for him,' but I don't want to sit home and worry about that. It's like, if he goes, I go."

Joe and Hollis say military duty requires complete focus, and they avoid thinking about the 'what if's.'" "I don't feel either one of us are that worried about what is going to happen or if anything is going to happen, because this is what we do and both of us want to do our jobs." Hollis and Joe have had less than a year to begin building their lives together. They realize they may be separated. But another thought takes precedence. "Many many moons ago, I raised my hand and basically said 'I do' to Uncle Sam, and that was a decision I made and a decision I've lived with.”

Hollis says while she and Joe also said, "I do" to each other, they are proud of their commitment to country and know if they are called, they'll be doing something to make the world better and safer for all. Joe says they can't speculate on whether their units will be activated.