A Mother's Day family reunion in Afghanistan
June 25, 2012
This year Claire Jones didn't receive flower's for Mother's Day. Instead, she received a bouquet of love at an unexpected family reunion.
Claire, a procurement contracting officer with the U.S. Army Contracting Command's Deployable Cadre Program, reunited with her husband Michael, and one of their sons, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Jones, while deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan.
"I kept telling myself this is the first Mother's Day I will not receive flowers," said Claire who has been in Bagram since November.
Claire's husband Michael, administrative contracting officer with the Defense Contract Management Agency, is also in Bagram but more than 30 minutes away. Although both are serving in Bagram, due to the travel restrictions, they have only seen each other twice. First when Claire arrived at Bagram Airfield and then again on Christmas Day.
"I was able to see Claire on Christmas Day since I was scheduled to brief lead administrative contracting officers about the contracts we have," said Michael.
Richard, who serves with U.S. Air Force's 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron/33rd Expeditionary Helicopter Maintenance Unit, arrived the day before Mother's Day and wasn't sure that he would be able to see his parents right away.
"I didn't call my mom until Mother's Day," said Richard. "I also told my Dad that I was trying to get things situated and that it probably wasn't a good day to get together."
"Richard told me there is a possibility he will be deploying to Afghanistan in May and I told him I'd extend my current deployment for the possibility of completing my dream of serving with him and my husband," said Claire Jones. "Serving together with my husband and son, working together to make a difference, my dream did come true making a difference in support our country as a family," she continued.
Once Claire and Michael Jones heard their son was arriving at the airfield, both separately began heading out to meet him.
"I called my husband to tell him Richard was coming in and I was heading to the airfield and he said he was doing the same," said Claire.
After a few tense moments, everyone arrived safely at the airfield for a long-awaited reunion.
"Man, I didn't think that we would all be out here, but it's good to see them," said Richard. "God is good. I never thought I would see my parents here. One maybe, but both? That never happens. The possibility of seeing my Dad increased when he took a tour in Iraq with the Army Corps of Engineers prior to his DCMA tour. Then he tells me he is going on a second tour to Afghanistan. So from there I knew it was only a matter of time before I saw him in the sand box."
Military service runs deep in the Jones family. Claire has 29 years of federal service. Michael retired from the Army and has18 years of federal civil service.
It was a dream for Claire to serve alongside her husband and son while deployed.
"My dream finally came true. I've always wanted to support our country as a family together," she said
"My parents' service is awesome. My dad is retired Army. I never really knew what he sacrificed until I joined the service myself," Richard. "My entire family supports each other and even my wife is prior service Air Force with a number of deployments under her belt. So with my family doing what we do, it's awesome."