Father, son reunite during Combined Resolve II
June 20, 2014
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Spc. Nicholas Rapcan, a combat engineer with B Company, 91st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, came to Germany in May with his unit to participate in Combined Resolve II.
His expectations were fairly standard: shoot gunnery, emplace obstacles and fight the opposing forces. At the bottom of his list of expectations was spending quality time with his father.
Sgt. 1st Class David Rapcan bid farewell to his son, Nick, last June after only a few days of block leave and figured he would see him at some point in the future.
He never thought, however, it would be almost a year later in Germany during a massive, multinational training exercise involving 15 countries and more than 4,500 Soldiers.
"I knew I was going to Hohenfels and Nick was under the impression he was going to Grafenwoehr … and then he came to Hohenfels and called and said, 'hey, I'm in Hohenfels … and about three minutes later he was standing in front of me," said Sgt. 1st Class Rapcan.
It has been almost a year since father and son have seen each other. Spc. Rapcan had returned from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2013 and was spending time with family on block leave last June.
Their conflicting schedules allowed them only a few days together since the elder Rapcan, a predeployment training noncommissioned officer for the state of Tennessee, was busy training a unit in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan.
"We've actually had more time here … to catch up and see how the family's doing," said Spc. Rapcan.
The Rapcan duo is thrilled about the training opportunities here in Germany, especially Spc. Rapcan, who loves being a combat engineer.
"I think it's awesome to be in the Bradley … because we've never actually done conventional warfare scenarios, we've always trained for route clearance and (counter improvised explosive device) … and going back to the meat and potatoes of actually being in the Army, tank on tank, is really cool," said Spc. Rapcan.
Not only have these two enjoyed the opportunity to hang out, but there's some generational cross-training going on, as well.
Many years ago, David Rapcan worked on Bradleys, the same Bradleys on which his son is now training. During their times together, the younger Rapcan sought out tips, tricks and old-school advice from his father, all of which aided him during the training.
Spc. Rapcan, along with a handful of others, was honored at a small ceremony as the Hero of Hohenfels for his outstanding performance during the force-on-force fight portion of the exercise.
For his father, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness his son accept the award. With tears of pride welling up in his eyes, Sgt. 1st Class Rapcan had trouble putting into words how honored he felt to have the chance to be present for the ceremony.
"Of all the experiences I've had in the military, this is by far the best," said Sgt 1st Class Rapcan. "I mean, it's a one-in-a-million chance that we end up six barracks away and be able to spend some time and train together. I've always loved the military, still do, and this is one of the perks, spending time with your family in a different way."