St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Letter to the editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

For the 320th Military Police Company, it's farewell time again

Spouses re-experience the pride and pain as the 320th Military Police Company embarks on a second tour of war duty in Iraq.

Published February 3, 2008

William Pearce of Spring Hill holds his son, Bradley Pearce, 7, as Morgan El Yamani, 9, and her sister Gabriella El Yamani, 7, gathered with other friends of the Pearce family Saturday to say goodbye.
[Lara Cerri | Times]
[Lara Cerri | Times]
Luis Javier Calderon, 30, and his wife, Glorimar, say goodbye Saturday in St. Petersburg. Calderon will be gone for 400 days.

ST. PETERSBURG - They celebrated their third anniversary early with a decadent dinner at the Melting Pot.

Valentine's Day came early, too. She made him his favorite, chicken cordon bleu, and played their song, Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts.

"We slow danced in the family room," said Ashley Cappatona, 22, of New Port Richey. Saturday afternoon, Cappatona held back tears and clung to the memory of that dance.

It will be more than a year until she gets another.

Her boyfriend, 23-year-old Army Sgt. Daniel Grant, is part of a 179-member police reserve unit shipping off to Iraq for a 400-day deployment.

During Saturday's sendoff ceremony at the Army Reserve Center, the unit's men and women - many of them Tampa Bay area law enforcement officers - stood in four neat lines and recited The Soldier's Creed.

I serve the people of the United States and live the Army values.

I will always place the mission first.

Their mothers and fathers and spouses and children listened and took pictures, bracing themselves for the mission and the long goodbye.

This is the 320th Military Police Company's second Middle East assignment since the Iraq war began, so loved ones like Cappatona have been here before.

But it never gets easier.

Glorimar Calderon was pregnant with little Isabel when her husband, Staff Sgt. Luis Calderon, got deployed the first time.

By the time he returned, Isabel was already 5 months old. Now she's almost 2.

She'll be almost ready for preschool by the time Calderon, 30, returns.

The Calderons' sixth wedding anniversary is next month. But he will be in Fort Dix, N.J., training for the unit's assignment north of Baghdad.

"It's bittersweet," said Mrs. Calderon, 28, of St. Petersburg. "It's hard."

Their oldest daughter, 4-year-old Angelica, will not have her daddy with her when she starts kindergarten in the fall.

But he was there with her Monday at Chuck E. Cheese, eating pizza and playing games and winning her a necklace.

It was their special afternoon together before he goes so far away.

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at or 813 226-3403.

[Last modified February 2, 2008, 19:50:20]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters