By Spc. Roland HaleMay 7, 2010
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - In an early Mother's Day surprise, two Soldiers - a mother and her son - were reunited in Iraq through a visit to Camp Taji.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rue Mayweather, who works in United States Forces- Iraq's Critical Thinking cell, traveled to Camp Taji to visit her son, 1st Lt. Kenieth Mayweather May 5. The two had been working within their chains of command to arrange a Mother's Day visit, but Kenieth had no idea his mother was coming to visit him early.
"She's always up to something," the lieutenant said to friends after the surprise. Kenieth had been sternly told by his battalion's operations officer to report to the conference room. Hesitantly, and trying to recall what exactly he could have done wrong, he reported.
"I opened the door and there she was," Mayweather said. "It was a priceless moment."
Kenieth is an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter pilot and a battle captain for the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
During his mom's visit, 1st Lt. Mayweather took her on a tour of Taji, introducing her to his peers, commanders and his favorite - the Apache attack helicopter.
Walking around the Taji facilities, the mother and son acted as if they were simply spending a regular afternoon together. While the circumstances of this Mother's Day visit may seem extreme to some, both have grown accustomed to military life. Command Sgt. Maj. Mayweather had already been in the Army for 16 years before her son told her he wanted to join the service.
"I told my mom and she was there the whole time with the recruiter," said Kenieth. Initially he enlisted in the Army. After serving several years and reaching the rank of sergeant, he left the military to pursue a college education. After obtaining a degree, he was commissioned as an officer and attended flight school.
When he first joined, Kenieth stood at parade rest for his mother; a sign of respect Soldiers give to those who outrank them. Now, it is Rue who pays respect by saluting her son, a commissioned officer.
The two have a total of 43 years of service in the Army: Rue with 29 and her son with 13. Over the years, this is the first time the Mayweathers have been deployed to the same country.
"I never thought that Kenieth and I would deploy together," said Rue. "This is an honor for me to actually serve with him at the end of my tour." Rue plans to retire after her tour in Iraq. However, both Soldiers plan to continue visiting each other when possible, throughout the deployment.
"It's wonderful. It's one of the best Mother's Day presents I've had. It isn't materialistic. There's no money, there's no flowers - it's just my favorite son, in the flesh - and it's wonderful," said Rue.