Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for May 31, 2010 - Capt. Curt Degeyter and Spc. Jarred Degeyter

Capitain Curt Degeyter

Capt. Curt Degeyter
Current Unit: United Stated Division - Center
Current Position: Division Veterinarian
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: St. Martinville, La.
Years of Service: 11

Specialist Jarred Degeyter

Spc. Jarred Degeyter
Current Unit: 199th Support Battalion
Current Position: Combat Medic
Component: Louisiana National Guard
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: St. Martinville, La.
Years of Service: 3

When Spc. Jarred Degeyter decided to join the Army, he had no idea that his father, who had been out of the Army for 15 years, would follow his lead and choose to serve again.

“I served from 1985 to 1992 with the Louisiana National Guard,” Capt. Curt Degeyter said. “My son’s enlistment inspired me to return to service.”

Neither Soldier realized that soon their decisions would lead them both to Iraq.

Currently in Baghdad, Capt. Degeyter is a division veterinarian and an agriculture and veterinary advisor, and Spc. Degeyter is a combat medic.

Capt. Degeyter, who served as a combat medic during his previous stint in the Army, understands the importance of his son’s work, which includes providing medical support to the members of his platoon and teaching his fellow Soldiers first responder medical skills.

In his current role as a subject matter expert, Capt. Degeyter advises the Iraqi people on all veterinary and agriculture issues. In this role, Capt. Degeyter is responsible for engaging the government of Iraq, local officials, and farmers and veterinarians to identify their plans and assist them in accomplishing their goals of rehabilitating the animal and crop agriculture throughout the country. Capt. Degeyter educates the Iraqis on various agricultural and veterinary techniques and works on projects to improve their local agriculture and veterinary facilities. His work provides the Iraqis with the skills and tools necessary to begin implementing sustainable livestock and agricultural practices.

“The majority of people that I work with are really no different than the people that I associate with back home in South Louisiana. They are hard workers that want the best for their families. They however don’t have all the luxuries that we have available and they don’t take the few luxuries they do have for granted, such as, security, clean fresh water and electricity,” Capt. Degeyter explained. ”I have developed close relationships with many of the people and have made plenty of lifelong friends during my time here.”

While there is not much down time, Capt. and Spc. Degeyter do spend their small amount of spare time with one another.

“I try to spend at least a couple of hours on the weekend with him,” Capt. Degeyter said. “On Saturday evenings I get together with him and other members of his brigade, who are all from south Louisiana and we usually cook some sort of Cajun food, or we attend the Victory Cigar Club.”

Serving this deployment together has been a unique experience for the father and son, and has made things a bit easier on both of them.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity. Not many people can actually say that they have deployed with a family member, much less a child,” Capt. Degeyter said. “It’s definitely been nice to have someone from back home around,” Spc. Degeyter added.

In addition to easing the burden and stress that come with deployment, serving together has changed the Degeyters’ relationship with one another.

“I’ve always had a very close relationship with my son,” Capt. Degeyter said. “He’s very mature and a squared away soldier. However, I would say that I see him more grown up and it kind of puts things in perspective. I have come to respect him as a grown man and not like a young child anymore.”

“I believe if anything has changed it’s that we have even more of a mutual respect for each other,” Spc. Degeyter agreed.

Capt. Degeyter is slated to return home to St. Martinville, La., this summer, and his son will come back to the U.S. in the fall.

“When I redeploy this summer, a part of me will be left here. I’m more concerned about my son’s safety than my own,” Capt. Degeyter said. “I’ve actually thought about extending my deployment until the end of the year but my wife said it was time for me to come home.”

While it will be difficult to leave Iraq knowing that his son will remain there for several months, Capt. Degeyter looks forward to spending time with his wife and returning to running his family business, a general construction firm.

Meanwhile, Spc. Degeyter has big plans for when he returns home in November.

“I was married two weeks prior to my deployment,” Spc. Degeyter said. “First, I plan to go on a long delayed honeymoon. After that, I will continue with school and get my degree in Industrial Technology.”

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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