Face of Defense: Father Accompanies Son to Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Sto­ries abound of sol­diers who meet up with fam­i­ly mem­bers while serv­ing over­seas, but few fea­ture fam­i­ly mem­bers who serve in the same com­pa­ny.

 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter
Army Sgt. Jason Hud­gins, left, installs seats in a UH-60 Black Hawk heli­copter with the help of his father, Army Spc. Dale Hud­gins, at Bagram Air­field, Afghanistan.
U.S. Army pho­to by Spc. Mon­i­ca Smith
Click to enlarge

For Army Sgt. Jason Hud­gins of the Delaware Nation­al Guard, serv­ing in Afghanistan meant deploy­ing and serv­ing along­side his father, Army Spc. Dale Hudgins. 

Both sol­diers are assigned to Com­pa­ny A, 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 238th Avi­a­tion Brigade, attached to Task Force Knighthawk, 3rd Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigade, Task Force Falcon. 

“I see him almost every day,” said Jason, a crew chief. “It’s nice to have him here, because when I have ques­tions or prob­lems, he gives me good advice.” 

Dale, an air­frame mechan­ic, orig­i­nal­ly was part of the Delaware Nation­al Guard’s med­ical evac­u­a­tion com­pa­ny, but when Jason’s was called upon to deploy, Dale was asked if he would go to pro­vide main­te­nance support. 

“Last August, I was asked if I’d go, and I told them I would,” said Dale, orig­i­nal­ly from Wilm­ing­ton, Del. “It’s nice to be here with him because, dur­ing his deploy­ment to Iraq, if I heard some­thing on the news about a heli­copter going down, I would wor­ry since I knew he flew on heli­copters. But now, if some­thing hap­pens, I imme­di­ate­ly know about it, and that puts me at ease.” 

For Jason, being able to see his father often has helped him have an eas­i­er deploy­ment than his first one to Iraq. 

“When I was in Iraq, it was incred­i­bly over­whelm­ing,” he said. “I was 20 years old then, and it was the first time I was away from my par­ents for an entire year. So, hav­ing my father here is comforting.” 

Dur­ing the deploy­ment, Jason and Dale work only a minute from one anoth­er, mak­ing it easy for them to find time to spend togeth­er or meet up for a meal. 

“He’ll come see me while I’m work­ing on sheet met­al, or I’ll go and talk with him while he’s work­ing on the air­craft,” Dale said. “We eat togeth­er often. In fact, on Father’s Day, Jason took me to eat at the din­ing facil­i­ty. It’s been nice to have him here with me.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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