Soldier Honors Father With Continued Service
(March 20, 2011)
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brian C. Reddington, an air traffic controller with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force duke and native of San Antonio, Texas, stands outside the TF Duke tactical operations center on Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, March 12,
2011. Photo by U.S. Army SSgt. John Zumer
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan (March 13, 2011) –
Remember the closing scene from “Field of
Dreams,” where the Kevin Costner-character was
able to enjoy a game of catch with his father?
It's a ritual enjoyed by countless fathers and
sons over the years, fondly looked back upon not
only as a game but also a bonding experience.
For U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brian C. Reddington, it
will likely remain a joyful and precious memory,
but one forever tinged with sadness.
Reddington, an air traffic controller assigned
to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task
Force Duke and a native of San Antonio, Texas. ,
is currently on his second deployment. Like many
soldiers, he continued the legacy of military
service inherited from other family members. For
Reddington, that inspiration came from his
stepfather, John Stephens, whom Reddington
considers his father, having helped to raise him
and his younger siblings from the time
Reddington was six years old.
a U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class and combat medic, was
killed in action, March 15, 2007 in Tikrit,
Iraq, when a shaped charge was thrown at his
convoy travelling back to Forward Operating Base
Speicher. A veteran with 21 years of service, he
was on his second deployment, and assigned to
HHC, 1-16th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 1st ID.
Reddington was stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala.,
when he heard the sad news.
“You can never prepare yourself for something
like that. It happens to other people,” he said.
The last time he saw his father was two
months before Stephens deployed from Fort Riley,
Kan. Despite the loss of a father who had been
so influential in raising him, Reddington
chooses to remember the many timeless memories
and lessons passed along. Through them all, the
one constant was always the old American
“Baseball. That's what we did,”
said Reddington. “He was always my coach up
until my junior year.”
as he remembered one of his baseball games, when
as a 14-year old he was pitching for a team
coached by his father. After being hit hard
early by the opposition, his father/coach was on
the verge of taking him out, something
Brian C. Reddington, at the age 8, plays
Army with his step-father, Sgt. John Stephens,
at their home in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, in
1989. Reddington, now a Staff Sgt. in
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task
Force Duke, said his step-father, who was killed
in action in Tikrit, Iraq in 2007, was his
inspiration to join the military. Courtesy Photo
undoubtedly hard to stomach for both parties
“Just give me one more
inning,” Reddington recalls saying, wanting one
last chance to work his way out of trouble by
His father ultimately left him
in, Reddington pitched his way out of the jam,
and the game ended happily. But like many
aspects of life touched by baseball, the
greatest lessons had nothing to do with the
final score or individual statistics.
According to Reddington, it was “the first time
in our relationship that he really trusted me,”
noting that it was perhaps that moment when a
father finally saw a son's confidence and
abilities able to overcome the odds against him.
His father and mother had married
shortly before Reddington turned six. A younger
brother and sister completed the family growing
up, and while his father's military service was
something he looked up to, it was never a
foregone conclusion that he would join. Once
decided, however, the choice was clear.
“When I decided to join, it made the Army the
only option,” he said.
With nine years of
service now under his belt, Reddington is
leaning toward making the Army a career. It will
undoubtedly be talked about at length with his
wife Tina, as his reenlistment decision after
his father died was.
“It was an
eye-opener to what could really happen.
Ultimately it was continuing what he started. I
reenlisted because I wanted to follow through,”
With a mid-tour leave
slated for June, Reddington is looking forward
to seeing his wife and their three children;
6-year old Grace, 5-year old Caleb and infant
Jacob, born on Mar. 9. The children will never
get the chance to meet their grandfather, but it
doesn't mean his legacy won't be passed on.
After all, it stands to reason the same timeless
advice he heard from his dad, that remains with
him to this day, is something Reddington looks
forward to sharing with his own children.
“The thing I carry with me from what he said
is, ‘No matter what you're doing, do it to the
best of your ability.'”
Four years have
passed now since his father's death in Iraq.
There will be no more opportunities for
Reddington to enjoy another game of catch with
his dad, no future chances for a grandfather to
see a grandchild allowed to stay in the game. A
grandchild who, like his father before him, was
given his defining opportunity to work his way
out of difficulty, relying upon the skills,
patience and knowledge that can only be passed
along by a loving parent.
As to what he
would like his own children to remember about
their grandfather, Reddington paused a moment,
finally paying the ultimate compliment.
“He was a great father.”
By Army SSgt. John Zumer|
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
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