Maylanie Shorter sleeps with a T-shirt tucked in her pillowcase. It carries the scent of her father's cologne while he's on patrol in Afghanistan.
Her younger sister, Ariana, sleeps with her Daddy Doll - a stuffed soldier that displays a photo of her father across its face.
At 14 and 10, the two girls try to maintain normalcy. They're active in school, they help with dinner, they rally around their mother. And they show no mercy for Pops over the Silver Star he earned by saving several comrades whose armored Humvee was shredded by a roadside bomb. They tease him about a photo of the burned-out vehicle. "How did you take this picture? Weren't you supposed to go get them and help?" Ariana says.
The first thing you notice about Ann Campbell and Marla Schroeder is their tight-bond. They often wrap their arms around each other. They joke, they laugh.
The two women provide a sense of calm at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the home of the 101st Airborne Division. About 17,000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne - nearly the entire division - have been deployed as part of the Afghanistan surge.
Campbell and Schroeder are the wives of the 101st's two top commanders. "Our husbands look after each other and we look after each other," Campbell says.
They call themselves "Battle Buddies" - Army tough women who keep the home front stable while husbands are on the battlefield. "We always joke that being an Army wife is actually the toughest job in the Army."