Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for June 13, 2011 - Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rita Wilson and Sgt. Cory Cothron

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rita Wilson

Name: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rita Wilson
Current Unit: 230th Sustainment Brigade
Current Position: Command Advisor
Component: National Guard
Current Location: Kuwait
Hometown: Lebanon, Tenn.
Years of Service: 28

Sergeant Cory Cothron

Name: Sgt. Cory Cothron
Current Unit: 230th Sustainment Brigade
Current Position: Army Direct Order Non-Commissioned Officer
Component: National Guard
Current Location: Kuwait
Hometown: Lebanon, Tenn.
Years of Service: 8

During deployments the majority of Soldiers endure long separations from loved ones. But on rare occasions family members have the opportunity to serve together. Such is the case for Chief Warrant Officer Rita Wilson and her son, Sgt. Cory Cothron, who deployed to Kuwait together earlier this year and have drawn on each other for the support and guidance needed to get through their tour.

Having completed nearly three decades of service, Wilson appreciates the experiences and skills that she has gained throughout her military career. Knowing the opportunities that are possible through the Army, Wilson is happy and proud to have a son that followed in her footsteps.

“It's always a good feeling, especially as a mother, to see your child succeed at something in their life,” said Wilson. “Knowing firsthand how the Army operates and the kind of sacrifices necessary to excel in your career, I can say that I have a deep sense of comfort and pride. I’ve seen Cory build personal and professional relationships that will last with him for the rest of his life, just as mine have after 28 years of service.”

Although Wilson‘s military tenure is much longer than her son’s, she is currently serving her first deployment overseas, while Cothron has already completed two tours to Iraq. Having her son there on her first deployment makes it easier to do her job, and has enhanced the pair’s relationship with one another.

“I can be having a crazy day, and I see or talk to him and it just makes me smile inside,” Wilson said of Cothron. “We were already close before we deployed, but this deployment has helped us build a professional respect for each other.”

Although Cothron’s previous deployments to the Middle East prepared him for the current tour, serving with his mother has proven to be a unique experience.

“Serving a deployment with my mother has been very different. I feel like a little kid again, being told ‘stop’ and ‘no’, just as any other mother would do. But I enjoy it,” said Cothron. “To know I am here to watch after her makes me feel like a good son. I’d hate for her to deploy and me not be there for her.”

As an Army direct ordering non-commissioned officer, Cothron oversees the ordering and delivery of clothing and materials for individual Soldiers. In this role, he sets up accounts that Soldiers can use to order replacements for damaged or worn out supplies. He also manages the financial liability investigations of property loss for units in Africa, Kuwait and Qatar, and determines whether the Soldier or the Army is responsible for replacing damaged equipment.

As a command advisor, Wilson is responsible for counseling her unit on Army regulations, policies and procedures that effect everyday operations. She also is responsible for assisting individual Soldiers with personal problems, and providing senior staff members with insight and details on functional issues within the brigade.

“I give them an outlet to obtain leadership and mentorship from areas outside their chain of command,” Wilson says of her mentoring duties. “It is like being a neutral party in a situation and being able to look at both sides without being too heavily involved.”

To handle the wide range of questions and issues she is faced with, Wilson must be well informed of the various missions and personnel in her unit. This requires a lot of research and paying attention to the mood and state of her team members.

With a high volume of tasks and personnel, being depended on as a constant source of information and counsel can be a daunting task.

“My biggest fear is not being able to answer the questions asked of me,” admitted Wilson. “The best way to overcome this challenge is to communicate with everyone. This allows me to gain as much knowledge possible, like a sponge in water, to further develop my base of understanding and find new answers, as well as improve on the answers I already I know.”

While overseas, Wilson and Cothron enjoy a number of activities together, including movies, golf, dinner and a weekly 5K run. Although much of their time is spent in different offices, the time they do have together is not something they take for granted.

“We relish in the short times we get to spend with each other,” said Wilson. “There are times we are unable to see each other, but we both know there is a mission to complete.” She added, “We both know our jobs.”

Support from his mother has certainly motivated Cothron, he is also pushed to succeed on the battlefront by thoughts of his baby daughter at home.

“I miss my daughter, but knowing that I’m providing for her and her future gives me the extra desire to overcome difficulties and achieve anything in my path,” he said.

Once back in the U.S., Cothron plans to spend a lot of time with his daughter, while Wilson hopes to return to her active guard-reserve position in Nashville, where she performs similar duties to her job now.

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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