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Afghanistan-bound soldiers enjoy Alabama spring break

Spring break – it’s not just for teenagers and school kids, as the family of Andalusia’s Renee Fowler proved during the week of April 7-14 when she hosted a last “hoorah” for members of her son’s U.S. Army Bravo Co. 404 ASD 4ID, currently stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas.

“He called back in January and said, ‘I got two things to tell you Mom. First thing is we’re going to deployed to Afghanistan in July, and the second is I’m bringing the whole crew down in April.’ ”

And when they arrived, they arrived with friends and enough four-wheeling equipment to tackle any extracurricular activity south Alabama has to offer, Fowler said.

“It ended up that we had Michigan, South Carolina, California, Oregon and Alabama represented when everyone got here,” she said.

All together, she housed six out-of-town guests for the week.

“Seven, if you include Red, the company’s mascot,” she said.

Fowler said her son, 23-year-old Jesse J. Williamson, an Apache helicopter armament specialist, traveled to Andalusia with fellow servicemen, Sgt. Richard Hendricks of Oregon, Sgt. Stephen Lippe of South Carolina, and Sgt. Larry Hughes of California.

“It was good time, but kind of bittersweet because they are leaving in July,” Fowler said. “The last thing he said before he left was, ‘I love you, Mom.’ And sometimes I think about that’s the last time I might hear that, so that’s why I have him singing to me as my ring tone on my phone.”

Fowler said the group made the local rounds – spending two days of fun and enjoyment at the ATV park “Boggs and Boulders” and two days in Destin, Fla., enjoying the sun and sand.

And while students throughout Covington County were returning to the classroom on Monday, Fowler said the group returned to post to resume training for their upcoming deployment.

Also celebrating were Williamson’s girlfriend, Katie Kaslly, and his 3-year-old daughter, London Grace; Sgt. Hendricks and girlfriend, Angela Shattuck; Sgt. Lippe, who is boyfriend to Williamson’s sister BreAnna Williamson; his stepsister, Erica Fowler of Montgomery; Sgt. Hughes; Sgt. Chris Rogers of Ft. Hood, Texas, and wife, Brittany, who were houseguests of Rogers’ grandparents in Opp.

“We should all make the most of our time with our children – any way we can,” Fowler said. “And when you have as much fun as we did, it makes the time go so

quick, and we can’t wait until we all see each other again.”