What does it take to be a successful military dad?

Base Info
Petty Officer 1st Class Larrifour Hermida with son Aidan, 7, and Arianna, 5.
Petty Officer 1st Class Larrifour Hermida with son Aidan, 7, and Arianna, 5.

What does it take to be a successful military dad?

by: Compiled by Takahiro Takiguchi and Tetsuo Nakahara | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: June 12, 2013

“Patience. The last thing you want to do, is bring all the stresses that were built up from work and military life home to your kids. Once you step inside your house, all the stress should go away once you hear ‘Daddy.’”

– Petty Officer 1st Class Larrifour Hermida, NAF Atsugi chaplains office


“To be a successful military father requires a balancing act of home life and work. Military work is very time consuming and can be done around the clock so making the most of family time is a must. As a father of three energetic girls, in which the oldest is four, home life is crazy sometimes, but playing, reading stories, and watching TV and movies makes the most of this time. The last thing that can make a successful military father is a spouse that understands, may not agree, but understands, the demand of military life. I know without my spouse I would not have such beautiful girls or have the opportunity to have quality time with my family. With the grace of God, the support and love of a family a military father can be successful in his career and raising a family.”

-Tech Sgt. Andrew Lutzo,
36th Wing Munitions Squadron,
Andersen AFB, Guam, father of three

“It takes strong backbone and good partner, something you can rely on. I try to include my family in everything I do whether it’s work or studying or anything else. It’s really not that hard.”

- Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Salas, Misawa Air Base, Japan,
father of two, age 3 and 5 months.

“Military fathers face the same challenges that all fathers go through. We all want what’s best for our children.  The key to being a successful father is being able to separate our work life from our home life.  If you have a stressful day at work, we need to leave it there. We need to support our children not just financially but also emotionally and spiritually, that’s what all good fathers do.”

- Petty Officer 2nd Class John Smolinski,
Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, father of one, age 11

“The support of my wife and children makes me a successful father.”

-Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Story,
Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, father of two, ages 5 and 7

“It takes devotion, understanding and trust. I think we have mutual understanding between me and my wife.  And I’m doing my best to fill my part. As they say, ‘happy wife is happy life.’”

- Greg Zaboski, Camp Zama, Japan,
intramural coordinator and a father of one, age 1.

“Spending quality time with your family.”

- Chief Petty Officer Eric Hannah, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, father of one, age 19 

“My son is only 1 years old, so it’s tough to explain to him about military life. But I just try to be around as much as possible with him because you never know when you deploy. I’ve deployed a lot in the past and with that, I think that is the biggest thing to take advantage the time together. Time is precious, especially, being in the military.” 

-Master Sgt. Thomas Astarita,
35th Medical Group, Misawa Air Base, Japan, and a father of one, age 1.

“First, let’s define what a successful father truly is: I am a father of two; a 13 year old boy and 9 year old girl.  In my opinion, being a successful father means that I am actively engaged in my children’s lives as well as my spouses life. Promoting success in their lives and helping them reach achievements is true success. My mantra (is) make it better for them than I had it. My parents were not college graduates. I started college nearly 10 years into my military career. My kids will start college following high school. Make it better for them than you had it.  Actively engage in your family’s success. In the military we spend countless hours training and discussing how to groom and mentor our young Airmen and upcoming leaders. However, many do not take the time to devote that same energy into their spouses and children. Imagine how successful a parent you would be if you took 30 minutes a day to devote to simply thinking about the next steps needed to improve your child’s life, school, extracurricular activities, sports, or any other areas of enrichment. Finally, devote that same energy into your spouse and personal life. When the family is improving and succeeding, then everyone has that sense of accomplishment. When you all work together towards each other’s goals, you are a team.”

- 1st Lt. Brian Slater, 36th Wing Security Forces Squadron,
Andersen Air Force Base, Guam

“Patience. You have to understand that when you return from deployment, your kids may not be where you want them to be. Humble yourself and not have expectations.”

- Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeffrey Powell, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan,
father of two, ages 4 and 7

“Patience; a lot of times being a military dad is hard because you are not always there to put your foot down on things, due to our commitments to deployment and so forth. So you have to remember that constantly.”

- Chief Petty Officer Cesar Deciga, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, father of two, ages 17 and 18

“I wish that was a simple answer (lol). It takes a lot, but let’s see – if we can get simple. I believe that prayer is sums up how to be successful military father. Praying for health and safety when you are away and with your family is provides peace that yo ur children are taken care of. Praying for patience for and obedience from your children is one major factor. It gives you a clear mindset of how to give a little “tough” love when needed allowing them to make the right decisions in the future and embrace them when they need support. Praying for love and laughter where you show your children how much of a part of your life they are and every day they bring smiles to their parents face. Prayer for unity to letting them know that they are part of the team and their help is appreciated and encouraged. Prayer is my simple answer to being a successful military father.”

- Petty Officer 2nd Class David McNeil,
Chinhae Naval Base, Korea, and father of three,
ages 10, 5, 4 – and one more on the way

“I would say the key to being a successful military father is balance, being able to turn off work and just enjoy being in the moment with my boys. Being deployed has added an extra challenge but making time to Skype and letting them know I miss and love them is very important. My goal is to make sure my boys understand why I am in the military. Have them understand I love doing this job and make sure they realize at the same time that while I can’t always be around that I love them very much. I feel like if those things are achieved I can consider myself successful”  

- Tech Sgt. Dominic Moless, Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge,
Network Infrastructure deployed base South West Asia, father of two ages 6 and 4

“As a proud father of four, what I have found that works for me in order to be a successful military father is being a great role model for my young ones to follow. The biggest challenge is being able to balance my work schedule and time with my family.”

- Tech Sgt. Michael Peralta II,
Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge (NCOIC) of Protocol, with the Yokota Air Base, father of four, ages 12, 8, 5 and 2

“Communication is key. My son is in the states, so when your kids are far away, phone calls, skype, e-mails, anyway to stay closer is very important.”

- Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Satrasook, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, father of one, age 9




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