For These Kids, War Hits Close To Home

Half of the 300 students at the Chloe Clark elementary school come from Army families. This means, young as they are, these kids have a stake in the war, CBS News correspondent Jerry Bowen reports.

"My mom might be going to Iraq in April," says Giovanni. "My dad went the second of this month," adds Emily Hughes.

Counselor Coley Fannin's job is to help them learn how to cope. He holds weekly group sessions.

"It's nice knowing that some other people's dads are over there, so you're not like the only one," says Emily.

Richie Alire's dad is over there, too. Richie says he can tell when another student is upset.

"They're kinda shaky or something shows that they're sad," he says.

The counseling program started at the school nearly four years ago, just after the invasion of Iraq. As parents went off to war — sometimes both parents — serious behavior problems started in school, including falling grades and acting out.

"We really were in crisis mode," explains principal Gary Yoho. "Thoughts of mom and dad being gone were always on their minds."

For 7-year-old Tye Murphy, they still are. He says he worries about "just him being gone pretty much." He says it "makes me sad."

Warrant officer Andrew Murphy is on his second tour in Iraq. Tye clings to the special dog tags his dad left behind.

Chloe Clark School is next door to Fort Lewis, home to the fourth Stryker Brigade, which is heading to Iraq in April. The third is already there.

That includes Maj. Jim Gaylord, who's about to head back after a brief home visit.

"I know he's going to be back. And I know he's going be here for my next birthday," his daughter Katy says

Perhaps because of the counseling, the bad grades and the behavior that started with the war are largely gone. Perhaps it's the new reality. For about half of their young lives, America has been at war.

"Maybe it says something about humans in general. I don't know that we can stay on high alert forever," Fannin says.

"My dad is out southeast of Baghdad," Trey Nesbit says.

So they learn to cope, but that doesn't mean 10-year old Trey likes it.

"All the pictures you're going to be taking while your dad is gone, your loved one's gone, there's going to be something missing. And that's going to be that person," Trey says.

On closer look, Chloe Clark is not typical at all. And there's one more thing that makes it special: So far, every single parent who's gone to war from there has come home. Alive.