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Patriotic Article

By Army Spc. Matthew Wright

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Loved Ones Deploy Together
(April 2, 2011)

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March 10, 2011 -- Sgt. Andrew D. McFerrin from B Company 640th Aviation Support Battalion Command and his father Sgt. Maj. David E. McFerrin from the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade are deployed together at Camp Taji, Iraq.
March 10, 2011 -- Sgt. Andrew D. McFerrin from B Company 640th Aviation Support Battalion Command and his father Sgt. Maj. David E. McFerrin from the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade are deployed together at Camp Taji, Iraq.
  CAMP TAJI, Iraq (March 29, 2011) – When soldiers are deployed to a warzone, separation from families and loved ones can be a difficult experience. Even with modern technology, such as web cameras and online chatting, being apart isn't easy.

However, in today's Army it isn't uncommon for Soldiers to deploy with their family members and loved ones. This holds true for several members of the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade in Iraq today.

Command Sgt. Maj. David E. McFerrin, a native of Fresno, Calif., is stationed at Camp Taji, Iraq with the 40th CAB. McFerrin's son, Sgt. Andrew D. McFerrin, from Clovis, Calif., is stationed on the same post, assigned to Bravo Company in the 640th Aviation Support Battalion.

Command Sgt. Maj. McFerrin said there are advantages to having a family member on the same deployment. “There is a piece of home with you,” he said.

Sgt. McFerrin sees a different advantage. In past deployments, he would come home and show his family photographs of the places he had seen. “This is my second tour in Taji,” Sgt. McFerrin said, adding that now he can show his dad those same places in
Siblings are also deployed together at Camp Taji. Two siblings with the CAB are the Su brothers of La Puente, Calif.

Staff Sgt. Alonso Su works in the 640th ASB's headquarters in computer support operations. His brother, Pfc. Juan Su, is in the same battalion, assigned to Bravo Company. Being in the same battalion gives them the advantage of staying in contact with each other, they said.

Staff Sgt. Su said if feels the need to talk to his brother, he just goes and finds him.

“We give each other space,” said Pfc. Su, “but we eventually find each other, and if I need to talk to him he is there.”

Sgt. Eric N. Fuentes, of Los Angeles, and Spc. Trena Reyes, of Fresno, married shortly before the deployment and are both working in the 640th's headquarters company.

Despite the advantage of being together during a deployment, there are some concerns when both partners are on the same mission overseas, Fuentes and Reyes said.

Worry is a concern, said Reyes. “They are here with you, but if something happens, you are wondering where they are.”

“Your wife hasn't come home and you go looking for her,” Fuentes said. “It's not like back home. It's different here.”

Anxieties can arise when loved ones are in a dangerous area together, the couple explained. However, the comfort of having a loved one with you in theater can override the fear for their safety.

With our current conflicts spanning a decade in length, the likelihood for family members and loved ones to deploy together has grown.

These deployed soldiers may miss the fanfare of getting off the plane and having their loved one greet them for the first time in a year, but they can take comfort in knowing what each of them has been through, and be happy together at coming home.
Article and photo by Army Spc. Matthew Wright
40th Combat Aviation Brigade
Copyright 2011

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