CAMP TAJI, Iraq - "The opportunity to visit my son has been the best part of this deployment so far," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge O. Soriano.

Command Sgt. Maj. Soriano, the 412th Aviation Support Battalion's command sergeant major, traveled here May 21 to visit his son, Spc. Diego O. Soriano, a 21-year-old, Infantryman, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

Father and son hadn't seen each other since the summer of 2009 before they both deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09-11. The pace of the mission had kept Command Sgt. Maj. Soriano too busy to consider the visit until recently, but he was very glad it finally happened.

"It has been a very special couple of days," said Command Sgt. Maj. Soriano. "I appreciate the company leadership giving my son time off to spend with me. It's very much appreciated," he added.

The visit meant just as much to Spc. Soriano, who also recognized the significance of the moment.

"The visit was unexpected, but it means a lot," Spc. Soriano said. "I remember we had a conversation after 9/11 about how the world would change and here we are nine years later in Iraq together."

Spc. Soriano enlisted in the Army after graduating from Enterprise High School near Fort Rucker, Ala. While the service of his father and older brother, Mar, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force, was an important part of his decision to enlist, he also felt an even stronger motivation.

"I watched the news and heard the names of Soldiers killed and I decided I wanted to help."

Spc. Soriano took the oath of enlistment in January of 2007 in front of more than 600 members of his father's class at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. "I was pretty nervous but I'll definitely never forget it."

His willingness to stand up and be counted didn't end there. Last year, though Spc. Soriano was assigned to another company in his battalion at Fort Myer, he volunteered to deploy with C Company. After a little help from his father, Spc. Soriano was able to serve on the first deployment of an Old Guard unit to a combat zone since the Vietnam War.

"This Soldier has blazed a trial with the rest of Charlie Company," said 1st Sgt. Javier Montanez, C Company's first sergeant. "They know the history; they know what this deployment means."

Spc. Soriano recalled that his proudest moment here in Iraq was leaving the base on his first patrol. "Nothing happened, but it was exciting to finally get outside the wire," he said.

Any worries that Command Sgt. Maj. Soriano may have about his son serving in harm's way are tempered by his pride. "I don't worry too much. I pray like any other father," he said. "I'm proud that he wanted to serve his country in a time of war and I'm glad he's doing what he wants to do."