By Sgt. Jon Soles, MND-B PAOOctober 19, 2009
BAGHDAD - Life in the Army is often marked by deployments that can separate families for lengthy periods of time. But that doesn't mean families who are on the Army team can't see each other downrange.
Circumstances at Camp Liberty, here, Oct. 16, allowed a rare meeting between Maj. Richard Dennis, a 1st Cavalry Division military police officer, his father-in-law Senon Valdilles Jr., a Department of Army civilian, and Valdilles' son, Spc. David Valdilles.
All three know a thing or two about being separated because of deployments. That is why they made the extra effort to get together to help keep their family bonds strong. Dennis and the elder Valdilles are both based on Victory Base Complex. Dennis, a Division Special Troops Battalion officer, is deputy provost marshal on VBC, while Senon is a civilian working at the Camp Cropper detention facility. Valdilles' son, Spc. Valdilles, is a medic assigned to the Camp Taji-based Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div.
When Dennis and Senon found out that Senon's son David would be passing through Baghdad International Airport on his return from leave, they jumped at the chance for all three family members to get together.
"It's been a while since I saw any kind of family. It's good to get some contact with the family," David said. "It's strange to see my father here. It was kind of weird seeing Richard [Maj. Dennis] here."
The three family members enjoyed a hastily-arranged reunion over a Friday-night dinner of steak and crab legs. Although Dennis and Senon are able to see each other more often, it had been months since David saw his father or his sister's husband.
"It was kind of neat when we found out David was coming through BIAP," said Dennis, a native of Elkton, Md. "Back in the rear, we try to make time to see each other as much as possible so it's real important when we get together to see each other."
Senon, a native of Hondo, Texas, retired as a senior non-commissioned officer in military intelligence after 21 years in the Army.
"Actually, I'm real happy. I was happy the first time I saw Richard and I haven't seen my son since February when they left," Senon said. "To have the opportunity to see both of them, I don't have words for that."
Whether they are separated by ten miles in Baghdad, or tens of thousands of miles between continents, the Dennis and Valdilles families are making sure every opportunity to bond is not wasted.