But later, Shawn found Isaac in his bedroom weeping quietly while looking at a photograph showing his father outside his tent, holding a rifle. He deploys to Afghanistan, leaving his two sons, Isaac and Joseph, with their uncle for the year. See how this article appeared when it was originally published on NYTimes.com. While he was on his way to the examination centre, he met with an accident and injured his head, hands, and legs. Copyright © When Sergeant Eisch got divorced in 2004, he took Isaac to an Army post in Germany while Joey stayed with his mother in Wisconsin. And a paper published in the journal Pediatrics in late 2009 found that children in military families were more likely to report anxiety than children in civilian families. The Eisches are a four-generation Army family, and Brian has not only made it his identity but also passed that expectation to his sons, who never do know what the war is about. Brian and Maria Eisch were married May 30, 2015. Soon after returning to the States in 2007, the sergeant became worried that his ex-wife was neglecting Joey. It was late, and he had to get the boys up the next morning to visit their father at the hospital again. Unfortunately, In 2009, he transferred to Fort Drum and took the boys with him. To his amazement, an eight-point buck wandered by. But I think service to country is honorable, whether it’s the military or something else.”. Sensing his distress, Lisa urged him to go hunting, a favorite pastime. Brian hints coldly at suicide to his now-wife. He knows if there’s a red dot on his chest, run. Others were burned or missing eyes. The work of war is very much a family affair. For Shawn, a gentle and reserved man, his brother’s injury brought six months of family turmoil to a new level. “I’ve never missed him as much as I do right now,” she said recently. Brian Eisch is an avid bass fisherman and frequent competitor in fishing tournaments. It might be many weeks before Brian could reclaim his sons. — Photo courtesy of Brian Eisch, Book, Documentary Profile 2 Heroic Wisconsin Veterans. It is an unbearable loss. Spouses have struggled with loneliness and stress. “He’s halfway through, and he’s going to make it,” he said. The boys were in pain, Shawn realized. The movie, produced by the New York Times, follows Eisch and his family for 10 years, starting soon before the career soldier deployed to Afghanistan in April 2010. The once comfortable Eisch farmhouse suddenly felt crowded. Someone even asked him if he wanted the leg amputated, since he would certainly be able to run with a prosthetic. “I want to run around, shootin’ guns, doing fun stuff,” he says. In September, Sergeant Eisch returned for midtour leave and the homecoming was as joyful as his departure had been wrenching. It was like going to a party, knowing everyone inside, but feeling like you can’t go in because you don’t belong.”. During his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, he was shot three times in his legs while aiding a wounded Afghanistan Policeman during an ambush. He answered the questions from his home in Wisconsin. As Eisch notes, older parents aren’t unique in today’s all-volunteer forces. “I don’t try to get too attached to my friends because I move around a lot,” said Isaac, who has lived in five states and Germany with his father. “It doesn’t feel like we’re moving. I made a decision to join the life that goes with that.”, Isaac and Joey Eisch have also had to adjust to their father’s nomadic life. Eisch, now retired nearly eight years from the Army, is the focus of “Father Soldier Son,” a frank, searing documentary about war and family sacrifices of today’s all-volunteer military. Within days, Brian was wheeling himself around the hospital and cracking jokes with nurses, a green-and-yellow Green Bay Packers cap on his head. Tim Sullivan’s days have revolved almost entirely around his two children, Austin, 4, and Leah, 2, since his wife, Sgt. Christina Narewski, 26, thought her husband’s second deployment might be easier for her than his first. The Watertown Daily Times sent retired Fort Drum Army Ranger Brian Eisch questions about his thoughts on the new documentary, “Father Soldier Son,” in which a New York Times film crew followed him and his family for nearly 10 years. So began a season of adjustments as the boys came to live in their uncle’s home here. “They kept fighting on their own or in small units. “It never really was.”, Joe Tachovsky said his father’s outdoor recreation centered on fishing, too, and still owns his dad’s 1882 Springfield .45-70 Short Rifle. Brian is an avid tournament Bass fisherman. His forthcoming book about veterans at Standing Rock is under contract. The holidays were fast approaching and the snow would soon be arriving in Wisconsin. Therefore, after Saipan was declared “secured,” Lt. Tachovsky and his men called it “rabbit hunting” when sent out to find and eliminate enemy soldiers who refused to surrender. Sargent First Class Eisch was badly wounded by machine gunfire during an Army deployment to northern Afghanistan, and returned home to lose his son, Joey Eisch, in a tragic accident. Her mother came to live with them. “We knew deployments were going to come.”. They have an infant son, and things seem to be going better, but there are ups and downs. Only Isaac stayed relatively calm. “I feel a lot more attached to him than I was when he left.”. Those families — more than a million of them since 2001 — have borne the brunt of the psychological and emotional strain of deployments. He doesn’t feel masculine enough.”. The Afghans scattered, leaving behind a man writhing in pain. “We both signed up for it,” Ms. Narewski said. At the entrance, they saw men in wheelchairs with no arms and no legs. Nearly 6 in 10 of the troops deployed today are married, and nearly half have children. “I love her,” he said. Families Bear Brunt of Deployment Strains. You have to be Mommy, too,’” he said. (Joey has lived in three states.) For Shawn, too, the future had become murkier. “There was a lot more emotion,” he said, “than Lisa and I ever expected.”. “She tells me: ‘Tim, you can’t just be Daddy, the hard person. I want my little banner-banner(?) John Griswold is a staff writer at The Common Reader. She signed up for exercise classes to fill the hours. “I’m not going to put my kids through that,” said Mr. Sullivan, 35, who handles child support cases for the county. “Are you sitting down?” Brian asked woozily. As they waited at the airport, father and sons clung to each other. When Eisch deployed at age 36 in 2010, he entrusted his boys, Isaac and Joey, to his brother, Shawn, in Wautoma. He could not tell how badly Brian had been wounded. But she awoke one night this summer feeling so anxious about his absence that she thought she was having a heart attack and called an ambulance. “Seeing all the cool stuff. Isaac Eisch, 12, in the back seat of his uncle’s car after saying goodbye to his father, who was returning to Afghanistan. His most recent book is a collection of essays, Pirates You Don’t Know, and Other Adventures in the Examined Life (University of Georgia Press).