By CourtesyJune 18, 2019
FORT PICKETT, Va. - Field artillery noncommissioned officers are often given nicknames that seem strange to other Soldiers. Squad leaders are called "Chief" and platoon sergeants "Smoke." Platoon sergeants can also jokingly be referred to as "platoon daddies."
But when Sgt. 1st Class John Wright, a gunnery sergeant and unit readiness NCO with C Battery, 1st Battalion, 107th Field Artillery, from the Pennsylvania National Guard's 2nd Brigade, 28th Infantry Division is sometimes referred to as "Sergeant Dad" by one of the battery's medics, it's entirely literal. Pfc. Haleigh Wright, 19, is his daughter.
Often referred to as "Daddy Wright" within the battery, John said he met his wife about 20 years ago while they were both with the 82nd Airborne Division. They married, had Haleigh, and his enlistment expired.
But only a few years later he realized he missed the Army and enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Haleigh, whom others in the battery frequently call "Baby Wright," says she was an Army brat for as long as she can remember.
"For the first 16 years of my life I really didn't want to be in the military but then I started thinking about a college, and decided since I like being outside so much, maybe the military could be fun," she said.
She enlisted at 17 under the split option, attending basic training the summer before her senior year of high school, and her Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, a year later.
"When I arrived at [2/28 Infantry Brigade Combat Team], a bunch of medics had recently left, so a lot of the units needed line medics. I just requested to be in C Battery with Dad, and it was approved," Haleigh said.
The two are proud to serve together.
"It's fun to step back and watch her mature as a person and a soldier, and help mentor her," John said.
"I was always raised with a good understanding of the Army Values," Haleigh said, "so joining the Army wasn't such a huge transition."
Currently, 2/28 is in Fort Pickett, Virginia, at eXportable Combat Training Capability 19-02, a platoon and battery-focused field training exercise.
The two are currently living a Spartan existence in the wilderness, with the elder Wright ready to receive a fire mission at any moment, and the younger ready to treat any injuries that arise.
"I didn't get you anything for Father's Day," Haleigh told her father.
"That's OK, I forgot anyway," John replied.