Ties That Bind - Brothers Meet In Afghanistan
(May 4, 2011)
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Michael L. Crist, left,
of Basehor, Kan., personnel officer for 3/6 Kansas Calvary
Agribusiness Development Team, and brother, U.S. Army Capt. Gary L.
Crist, right, of Hattiesburg, Miss., maintenance officer for the
184th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, take time to view the area
around Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam, April 18. 2011. Photo by Army Sgt. Kenneth Kumle
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (4/30/2011) – It transcends rank,
status and military occupation, this camaraderie that is our
military family. We wear our DNA on our digital-camouflage uniforms,
and our heritage in the sharp creases of our Class-A dress uniforms.
We collectively trace our family tree back through the
monuments, black and white photos and history books. The shared
undertaking of serving the U.S. military is something that has to be
experienced to be understood. We live, eat, sleep, work and fight
together, a fellowship of hardship and triumph that binds us
together, unspoken, but understood. These same things make military
service more special when you are able to come together with your
While not uncommon for family members to
serve in the military simultaneously, it is rare to come together
while deployed, unless serving under the same
command. It is a special occasion for brothers, Capt. Gary L. Crist
and Master Sgt. Michael L. Crist, serving
in separate commands, to then have an opportunity to meet on Forward
Operating Base Mehtar Lam in the Laghman province of Afghanistan.
“Our Dad was in Vietnam, our granddad served in World War II, and our
great granddad served in World War I,” said Master Sgt. Michael Crist.
Michael, of Basehor, Kan., is currently on his sixth overseas tour and
is a well- respected member of the armor community as a tank master
“So it's a family tradition,” said Capt. Gary Crist.
Gary, of Hattiesburg, Miss., is on his second deployment and has served
in the air defense artillery branch for the past 12 years.
Michael, who serves as a division master gunner for the Kansas Army
National Guard is currently deployed to Laghman with the 3/6 Kansas
Calvary Agribusiness Development Team (KS ADT-3) as the S-1 personnel
officer. Gary, who serves with the Mississippi Army National Guard's
184th Expeditionary Sustainment Command is currently deployed to
Kandahar with the Joint Sustainment Command-Afghanistan (JSC-A) as the
J-4 maintenance officer.
“I'm thankful to both of our commands
for being supportive of getting us together,” says Gary. “It really is a
blessing to be able to do this.”
While spending time together on
FOB Mehtar Lam, the Crist brothers had an opportunity to go out on
patrol together and assist with a market analysis.
“It's cool to
get to do this with him,” said Michael. “It's the first, and probably
the last time I'll get to do a combat patrol with a blood relative.”
“It really gives you a sense of perspective,” said Gary. “Being able
to come down and see what the Agribusiness Development Team is doing on
the ground is a lot different than working for a command group.”
In an era in which a video-call is just a click away, or a quick message
sent with a thumb-dance on a keypad, having the opportunity to come
together on a deployment is something appreciated by all. It is our
collective consciousness, unspoken but shared, that shows in the
unmistaken heredity of the Crist brothers and this family of ours, the
U.S. Armed Forces.
By Army Sgt. Kenneth Kumle and Spc. Thomas Sureau
Laghman Agribusiness Development Team Public Affairs
Joint Sustainment Command - Afghanistan
Comment on this article