BAUMHOLDER, Germany — As he stepped through the partially open door to his daughter’s office, her excited voice rang out, “Dad!” and they embraced. For this father-daughter duo, this day was extra special.
After missing her commissioning as a U.S. Army officer and her wedding due to deployments, the Army put them both in the right place, at the right time for him to attend her promotion ceremony while overseas, Sept. 9, 2022.
Newly promoted 1st Lt. Chesnee Giraldo, a quartermaster assigned to 55th Quartermaster Field Feeding Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, and her husband, 1st Lt. Alejandro Davila, are stationed together at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, Baumholder.
Coincidentally, her father Chief Warrant Officer 4 Andres Giraldo, a targeting officer assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps, deployed to Europe as part of Task Force Dragon to assure our NATO Allies.
“I called her and told her I was deploying to Germany, and she said ‘oh, so you’ll be here for my promotion!’” Andres said with a laugh.
Due to operational requirements, her dad missed her commissioning ceremony. Then, due to COVID-19, missed her wedding. After missing those big moments, the pair was excited he could attend this one.
While Chesnee and her dad interviewed separately for this article, their answers matched almost perfectly, exemplifying the bond they share.
Both reminisced about the years Andres coached Chesnee’s softball team in South Korea, where she was the team’s captain, and her team made the championships for the first time ever.
“Of my top three favorite memories is definitely him coaching my softball team,” Chesnee said. “I just feel like we got really close during that time and that quality time is something you can’t put a price on.”
Both shared how much they value honesty and each other’s opinions and shared the thought with the same smiles on their faces.
“He will tell you straight up how he thinks, and you can take it or leave it,” Chesnee said. “I appreciate that because when I go to him with questions or a situation, he’s going to tell me the truth.”
Earlier in the day, Andres had made the same comment and said he’s always told Chesnee his honest opinion of everything. He shared an account of a time when Chesnee was little, and she asked him if her drawings were good. He told her no, not really.
“She values my opinion because she knows if she asks a question, I will answer it truthfully,” Andres said.
Chesnee grew up as an “Army Brat,” traveling the world from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to South Korea. She grew up with her dad gone for long stretches at a time serving multiple combat tours in Iraq. Her mom, Sabrina Giraldo, also spent time in the Army as a supply specialist. After the Army, her mom worked as an education specialist at various GS levels and Chesnee had to adapt to her being gone at different times as well. Chesnee said following in her parents’ footsteps was an easy choice because the Army is all she’s ever known.
“Life without the Army would be something very foreign to me,” Chesnee said.
Flashback right before the promotion ceremony, to Chesnee’s office. As she finished up some work, Chesnee called her dad over to look at what she completed and asked for his feedback. She said later she loves that she can rely on him now, not just as a father, but as an experienced Soldier.
“Fathers typically give you guidance and mentorship, and I think it’s really cool that now that I am in the Army, we have even more to talk about and relate to,” Chesnee said. “It’s made us closer.”
Not surprisingly, Andres had said the same thing.
“I try to guide her through,” Andres said. “She still has to fall by herself; that’s part of the experience. But I try to give her good advice.”
He went on to say he is proud of his daughter and everything she’s accomplished.
“It’s just amazing — the potential you see in her as a kid and now you see her as an adult; a leader in the Army,” Andres said. “That’s my baby. I am proud of her, very proud.”
Chesnee echoed her father’s words later in the day.
“Today is my promotion, but I really can’t express how proud I am of my dad and all his accomplishments,” Chesnee said. “He started out as a private in the Army and built himself up. He and my mom worked tirelessly and endlessly to provide me the opportunity I have been afforded today. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for them; they are my heroes.”
While the Army is facing unprecedented recruiting conditions due to a combination of factors, retention rates continue to be high. Chesnee said she is happy with her choice to commission and is debating a full twenty-year career.
“So far, the Army has treated me very well and afforded me a lot of great opportunities including paying for my degree in full, so I am going to see what direction we head and take it from there,” Chesnee said.
For more information on careers in the Army, visit GoArmy.com.