Service is a Family tradition
August 6, 2013
"Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory." - Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Leaving home for a deployment usually means saying goodbye to Family. Communications with loved ones may involve e-mail, video chat and pen and paper. For two Soldiers serving in Afghanistan, this isn't necessarily true.
Col. Anna Rego and 1st Lt. Harry Cambrelen, natives of Hinesville, Ga., are Soldiers serving their country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and also mother and son.
"I am proud to have my son carry on the Family tradition. This was a decision he made on his own without Family influence," said Rego, assistant deputy program director, Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, Logistics Capability - Afghanistan. "It takes an amazing person to take up the profession of arms."
Rego said that they deployed to Afghanistan on almost the same date, but they serve in two completely different units. They usually get the opportunity to see each other once a month, but, when they can't meet face to face, they can always talk on the phone.
Cambrelen, assigned to the 359th Inland Cargo Transfer Company, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, shared his feelings about the benefit of having Family in theater.
"I am able to see her more than I did in the states," said Cambrelen referring to the distance of their stateside duty stations. "But if I can't see her, she is only a phone call away. It is an honor to serve alongside my mom in Afghanistan. It has made the experience easier for the support she provides and harder to endure knowing that she is also here in the battlefield."
But sometimes, it can be difficult. Having Family in a war zone can be a distraction. Concern of the well being and safety of a loved one may create additional worry that can complicate an already stressful environment.
"The worst part about being deployed at the same time is the obvious hazards of war. When I go on the road she has to worry about me and when I hear about indirect fire, I worry about her," said Cambrelen.
But even with the very real dangers associated with combat tours, Rego finds a way to make it better.
"We focus on the positive and trust in God. We are able to share the deployment, share experiences with others within our units and see it all firsthand. It requires a mental toughness which is helped by being there for each other. It's our own internal battle-buddy system," Rego said with a smile.
Both Soldiers find themselves in the unique situation of having such close Family members deployed at the same time, but their fellow co-workers also find it interesting.
"There are mixed reactions. Some think it is really cool to have her out here and they say things like, 'I wish my mom was out here,'" said Cambrelen. "Others just don't believe it."
Despite the good, bad and uncommon situation, Rego and Cambrelen both feel that they are contributing to help make a difference in the lives of the Families in Afghanistan by sacrificing their Family time on deployment. But, even with the sacrifices they make, they also are strengthening their bonds, creating a stronger relationship for the future.
"I can someday tell my children that I deployed with their grandma," said Cambrelen while laughing.