By Capt. Aaron Shaffer
35th Combat Aviation Brigade
An Army National Guard father deployed to the Middle East was reunited with his daughter, who is also deployed, at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, on Feb. 7.
It is rare for a father and daughter to be serving in the military simultaneously. The odds are even higher for the father and daughter to be deployed to the same Middle Eastern country at the same time.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joseph Lemens, a helicopter maintenance test pilot assigned to the 935th Aviation Support Battalion, a Missouri National Guard unit, has been in Taji, Iraq for approximately six months.
U.S. Army 1st. Lt. Jordan Lemens, his daughter, a route clearance platoon leader assigned to the 2nd platoon, B Co., 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion “Sapper Eagles,” which is attached to 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, has been in Al Asad Air Base, Iraq for approximately two months. “Sapper Eagles” is a part of the 101st Airborne Division.
The chances of this happening are next to impossible. Especially if one is in a National Guard unit and the other is serving in an active duty unit. However, this is what happened here in Iraq. “Not very many people can say that they have been with their family on a deployment,” said Jordan.
With some skillful planning and some good luck, Joseph was able to make travel arrangements to get to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq where his daughter is located to spend a few special hours with her.
This chance meeting was significant for Jordan. “It means the world to me. I was in disbelief when I saw him at the terminal. It's an incredible feeling,” she said. “I'm very proud of him, and the many years of service he has given to our country.”
Her dad is the one who inspired her to join the military. “His first deployment was over 15 years ago. I was only ten years old,” said Jordan. “Now we're over here serving together. It seems almost surreal.”
The last time Jordan was able to see her dad was nine months ago when he was in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, completing training in preparation for his deployment. She happened to be there at the same time to attend an unrelated event. “The military seems to give us more unique opportunities to meet up,” said Jordan.
“This was a big event for our family. My mom had been talking about us getting together before I even left,” said Jordan. “It even made the family Christmas card.” Jordan’s mom’s comments in the card were, “Hopefully she will meet up with The Chief (aka dad) somewhere in the Middle East.”
The father and daughter duo are expressly proud of one another and proud to be completing their duties as Soldiers. One as a test pilot and the other as a route clearance platoon leader, it is clear they are both working toward the same goal despite their inherently different jobs. That end goal is to serve honorably, do their part to increase the unity, effectiveness, and efficiency of the coalition here in Iraq, and safely reunite once again at home.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION