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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