JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (9/26/2012) - A unique
relationship exists within U.S. Army, Alaska. It is a relationship
which extends beyond the rank and file. It is a relationship between
father and daughter.
September 18, 2012 - Pfc. Maeyamonique P.
Barnes, a military police officer with the 425th Brigade Special
Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry
Division, and her dad, Staff Sgt. Albert Barnes, a unit supply
sergeant with the 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry, 4-25 ABCT,
enjoy a moment together during their 2011/2012 deployment at a
combat operations base in Afghanistan. Courtesy Photo
Pfc. Maeyamonique P. Barnes was surprised to have orders to
Alaska, and when she was assigned as a military police officer with
the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team
(Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, she joined forces with her
father as a Spartan paratrooper.
Her dad, who will soon be
redeploying from Afghanistan, is Staff Sgt. Albert Barnes, a unit
supply sergeant with the 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry, 4-25
Pfc. Barnes was initially assigned to the 545th
Military Police Company at Fort Richardson, but when she learned
there was a small platoon of MPs with the 4-25, she requested
through her chain of command and chain of concern to be reassigned
so she could be in the same brigade as her dad and deploy with him
The units worked together to reassign her to the
4-25, and late last year the father and daughter team
deployed together. But, due to the vastness of the brigade's
area of operations, the Barnes' were at separate bases for
the bulk of their deployment.
Pfc. Barnes was
stationed at a small Combat Outpost in the Khost Province of
Afghanistan, while her dad was stationed at Bagram air base
and Camp Clark.
She said it was difficult to speak
with her dad directly, because the only phones they could
use to contact each other were in the tactical operations
centers This required extensive coordination, so they
primarily used e-mails and Facebook messages to communicate.
Their family was stricken with loss in January of this
year when Staff Sgt. Barnes' mother passed away. Both
Soldiers went back home to Illinois to grieve with family.
He took emergency leave for the funeral, and she took an
early rest and recuperation a couple of weeks later.
Dad and daughter were able to visit each other while she
transitioned through the movement phases of R&R leave at
Bagram air base.
She said because of her
grandmother's passing, seeing her family was “bittersweet,”
and even a couple of weeks after the funeral there were
still a lot of family members there to make sure her
grandfather was okay.
While at Bagram, the Barnes'
spent a lot of time together and even did PT together. She
said it was funny because he would always try to “smoke”
her. When she got back from leave, he asked her how it was,
and then told her to do pushups. He even had her do elevated
pushups, she said.
“It's all in good fun,” she said.
While they were at Bagram, Staff Sgt. Barnes bought his
daughter new boots to patrol in, and they spent quality time
together drinking smoothies and dining on pizza.
said having her dad deploy with her made it easier because
she did not feel all alone in a combat zone halfway around
the world. She said it was good to have her dad there
because she could communicate well with him and they could
empathize with each other.
“He can listen, but also
give me something back, it helped me out a lot,” she said.
She said a big challenge for them was always being
worried about each other.
“He was at Bagram where it
is so big, that sometimes when they are attacked, they don't
even know it, but my base was so small that every attack was
a big attack,” she said. “I think it was more stressful for
him than it was for me because I knew I was okay, but he
She said during a mission last December the
truck she was in was hit by an improvised explosive device,
and after the medical screening at Salerno Forward Operating
Base, she told her dad about it.
“Well Dad, I got my
combat Action Badge today,” she told him.
had some minor scrapes and bruises, but I told my dad about
it and he was really concerned. He was asking all kinds of
questions like: Are you okay? Is everybody okay? What
happened? Did you guys catch the attacker? So that's when I
decided I would not tell him everything,” she said.
“Even though he is a noncommissioned officer in the Army and
he has been there and done that, he is still my dad, so it's
not like it is some other Soldier getting hurt - it's his
daughter, so it's not an Army thing anymore. It's his
concern with his family. It's personal,” she said.
think the most stress I had was the thought of should I tell
him or should I just be quiet about this one, because I
don't want him to worry more,” she said.
most things did not warrant the worry they would have caused
had she told him about them, like the times her outpost came
“I will not tell him we got attacked
today. It was not that big of a deal. I will wait until we
get back, then the stories will come out in our
conversations together, but for now, while we are both out
here, I don't want him to be worried like that,” she said.
She said when her unit suffered two losses one day in an
IED explosion, her father was in angst because he knew two
Soldiers in her unit were killed, but didn't know who they
were. She said he had to wait until information flowed
through the proper channels first, and because of the
blackout, she was not able to contact him to let him know
she was okay.
She said her dad was saddened by the
loss of the Soldiers, but was relieved to learn it was not
The two had one last time to visit each other
during her transition for redeployment back to Joint Base
Elmendorf Richardson. She had a stopover at Salerno, and
because her dad is a supply sergeant, he would often travel
through Salerno to various bases on his way to transfer
supplies and equipment.
She messaged her dad to let
him know she was there, and he was able to schedule his
mission to fit a stop in Salerno to see her.
resting in her stopover billet, she heard a knock on the
door. She made it to the door, opened it up and there was
“I was so surprised, I just jumped on him
like I was 5 years old again and was hugging him and crying
because it was about 6 months since I last saw him in Bagram!”
They had a long conversation that day about
the whole deployment.
The visit was short due to the
ongoing mission, and he boarded an outgoing flight later
that evening. She helped him carry his heavy bags of
equipment to the aircraft, and that was the last she saw of
him since redeploying.
Staff Sgt. Barnes is scheduled
to return in early October.
Both troopers will stay
busy after redeployment as they continue to train and serve
together; they plan to attend Army Airborne School soon. She
is going in October and he is scheduled for a class in
By Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
Comment on this article