By Ms. Jessica Dupree (Benning)May 17, 2018
FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 18, 2018) -- Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Christensen stood among five other legacy paratroopers at the U.S. Army Airborne School graduation ceremony. The Soldiers surrounding Matthew Christensen stood before their parents and grandparents who were paratroopers before them. Matthew Christensen stood at attention before his son.
Spc. Caleb Christensen, an infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, pinned his father's airborne wings May 17 at Eubanks Field at Fort Benning, Georgia.
"I called him a leg several times," Caleb Christensen said, referring to the nickname paratroopers give to non-airborne Soldiers. "He's been in long enough. It's just one of those things you have to do if you've been in long enough."
Caleb Christensen graduated from Airborne School in November 2017, the same year he enlisted in the Army. Although Matthew Christensen enlisted in the Army in 1993, he was never given the opportunity to participate in Airborne School. Now, as a chaplain assigned to the 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Regiment, an infantry training battalion at Fort Benning, he said he was excited to complete this milestone in his career.
"It's a great opportunity, especially for a chaplain, to identify with the Soldiers I work with and follow in my son's footsteps," he said.
Earning his wings at 44 years old was physically demanding, but Matthew Christensen said if his son was able to finish it, then he would finish it too. In the end, the father-son pair said they were both proud to participate in Matthew Christensen's graduation ceremony.
"It's a cool experience, it's not something many people can say they've done," he said.
Jessica Christensen, Matthew Christensen's wife and Caleb Christensen's mother, said she is also proud of both her Soldiers for earning their airborne wings.
"It's fun to see them together, they're very competitive," she said. "Now we can enjoy them having something else in common."