Generations of Vaughns serve as Army air defenders
July 11, 2011
SUWON AIR BASE, South Korea - Retired Gen. John A. Wickam, Jr., former U.S. Army Chief of Staff and founder of the Army Family Assistance Program, said, “The stronger the Army, the stronger the family.”
The interwoven fabric of family support to produce quality Soldiers and leaders is evident in the story of the Vaughn family, a family that has provided a legacy of service to the United States Army and to the Air Defense Artillery Branch.
The latest chapter in the story of the Vaughns took place July 1 with the promotion of Kendrick Vaughn to captain.
Vaughn is the youngest member of a family that has provided generations of service to the Air Defense Artillery branch.
In attendance at his promotion at the 6th Battalion, 52d Air Defense Artillery headquarters on Suwon Air Base were no less than eight members of his family, flown in from all over the United States to celebrate this special day.
The Iron Horse commander, Lt. Col. William Darne performed the ceremony.
“Promotion to captain is one of the best days in a commissioned officer’s career,” he said.
Given the highly technical nature of the Patriot system, ranged against the pervasive threat of North Korean missiles, good officers with technical backgrounds are essential to the Air and Missile Defense provided by 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion.
Pinning the newest captain was his wife, Capt. Seneca Davis, currently assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade on Osan Air Base. Helping to put the patrol cap with the new rank on his head was his 18-month-old son, Tahj.
A distinguished guest was Vaughn’s father, retired Col. John K. Vaughn, a former Air Defense Artillery officer with decades of experience in the acquisition and development of generations of missile defense equipment.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my son and the path he has chosen in life,” he said.
Also in attendance were Vaughn’s mother Maureen Vaughn, sisters Marilyn and Shelby, aunt Fayth Vaughn-Shavuo, and mother-in-law Janet Stephens. All were beaming with pride at the latest Vaughn to add to the military legacy of the family.
The family, with three United States Military Academy graduates, all members of the Air Defense Artillery branch, is proud of their service and of each other. Their close-knit relationship is key to their successful service to the nation.
“Air defense was my first choice,” said Capt. Vaughn. “I grew up intrigued by seeing the launchers and also by West Point itself.”
Serving as an officer in the Air Defense Artillery seemed like a good career move and an excellent way to provide for a family, he added.
Capt. Vaughn graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2008, 25 years after his father. After graduation, he married his wife, Capt. Seneca Vaughn, and in September of 2009 welcomed young Tahj into the world and the Army family.
This echoed the path his father had trod some quarter century prior.
Col. Vaughn had himself followed his own older brother into U.S. Military Academy and military service, graduating in 1985. Following marriage to Maureen, he then pursued a 22-year career during which he oversaw project management for some of the key technological advances that produce the Air and Missile Defense capability we have today.
“I started with Chapparal systems and Avenger/Stinger. Now with the missile threat and the Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar system, Air Defense is seeing a resurgence in demand for its services. Nobody else is conducting our mission,” he said.
In many ways, the father and son have had careers in parallel and both have had their sons born in Darnell Army Hospital at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Little Tahj doesn’t know it, but he’s going to be an Air Defender,” said Col. Vaughn.
Capt. Vaughn is currently serving as Tactical Director for the Iron Horse Battalion on some of the very same Patriot systems that his father helped to acquire and field.
Col. Vaughn, now retired to Huntsville, Ala., now works as a contractor for Raytheon Industries, still maintaining a presence in the Air Defense community.