Deployed mom makes it to bowl game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Think you traveled a long way to get to the Fiesta Bowl? Chances are Lt. Col. Karen Fleming of the U.S. Army has you beat.

Her trek? About 8,000 miles, give or take.

The mother of Stanford’s starting offensive tackle Cameron Fleming -- who is currently deployed in Bahrain -- planned her leave around the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl.

“Yesterday [Friday] was the first time I’ve seen him -- right before practice when they were going on the field,” she said. “The last time before that was the April spring game. He was really excited and so was I.”

Fleming is a battalion commander, overseeing troops in several Middle East countries. Kem Fleming, Cameron’s father, is also a lieutenant colonel in the Army and is an operations officer for Homeland Security. He’s done three tours in Iraq.

Cameron Fleming, who was born in Fort Hood, Texas, is one of three first-year starters on the offensive line this season. The 6-foot-6, 299-pound redshirt freshman started 10 games this season – missing the Oregon State and Oregon games with an ankle injury. He earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention in his first season as a starter and was named to the Yahoo! Sports freshman All-America team.

With his wife deployed, Kem was still able to take Cameron’s 11-year-old sister, Jordan, to most of Stanford’s games this season -- making it out to seven of the 12 contests. Karen, meanwhile, would stay up into the early hours of the morning to watch the games on the Armed Forces Network.

“We’d call each other during the games or after the games and talk about what was going on,” Kem said. “She always stayed involved.”