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Stories of Service: Moms in the military

Statistics show less than 20 percent of active-duty military members are women.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — In this week's Stories of Service, we want to honor all of our military moms.

April Martin is a proud wife and mother who served in the Army for eight and a half years. She was deployed to Afghanistan twice during her military career. 

"Being a woman in the military, for me, it was a great experience. Especially on deployments when we were doing missions. We were equal," she said. 

But, as a woman, and at the time a single mother in the military, she admits there were some challenges.

"For example, I remember we had what's called a jungle training course in Hawaii. A lot of males were able to go.  When it came to me...they were like you're a single mom. I was denied because I was a single mom," Martin explained.

Statistics show less than 20 percent of active-duty military members are women. According to a report from the Government Accountability Office, more women are joining the military, but for those who are moms, being separated from their children for long periods of time and a lack of support was a big reason for ending their military service.

Natalie Marcano-Sidberry was in the United States Navy for 11 years. Now, she's a case manager with Northeast Florida Women Veterans. She's a mother who ended up homeless after leaving the military. 

"When I got out, life happened as it pertains to being a mother.  I wanted to focus on my children at the time. I forgot about the traumas that happened in the military.  I had good times.  I had bad times," Natalie Marcano-Sidberry said. 

Our women veterans, especially those who are mothers, go through challenges.  Military leaders say they are working to address some of those concerns.  

To all of our veterans who are mothers, we wish you a Happy Mother's Day and thank you for your service.