It's a family tradition
By TSgt. Caycee Cook, 169th FW/PA
/ Published June 09, 2012
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, even husbands and wives. McEntire Joint National Guard Base has a deep family heritage and a rich history of loved ones serving side by side that likely can be traced back to the airfield's origins.
Most Swamp Fox deployments result in family members with their boots on the same ground. Desert Storm in 1990. Operation Northern Watch in 2000. Operation Iraq Freedom in 2003. Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2010. And now, as the latest South Carolina Air National Guard deployment hits its midpoint at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, several families are serving together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
A1C Laruen Narduzzi, an aircrew flight equipment technician in the SCANG, is on her first deployment with her father TSgt. Doug Narduzzi, an aircraft production controller for the Maintenance Operations Center.
The proud daughter says she and her father are really close, so having her father with her for her first deployment helped calm some nervousness about the trip. They share the same day off and get to call home together. She said seeing them together also helps their family back home feel more at ease.
"There's always a little piece of home in this deployed environment," she said. "Even on the most stressful days, he'll stop by and everything gets better."
Her father has 21 years service and said he was excited and anxious at the same time about deploying with his youngest daughter. "While I was apprehensive about her being in a combat environment," he stated, "it alleviates a part of the home sickness and makes me feel good when I see her."
Avionics specialist SSgt. Corey Revels is serving his second tour alongside his father SMSgt. James Revels, Jr., deployed Maintenance Squadron superintendant and the Aerospace Ground Equipment flight chief at McEntire.
The senior Revels said, "As a father, it's not only nice to share the experience, but, if you have a child who deploys, you don't really know if they are safe and getting what they need. Being deployed with Corey, I know he is safe and only a few minutes away when I want to ensure he is okay."
The Revels do their best to schedule an occasional dinner together, play pool in the morale areas and even work out together. They both agree it's nice to have family close by.
Another father/son package deployed to KAF is MSgt. Jerry Keefe, a flight line production expeditor for the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and his son Senior Airman Cody Keefe, an intelligence analyst for the Operations Support Flight. Dad said, "I feel honored to be deployed with Cody. I could go on and on about my pride in him!" They enjoy spending a few hours with each other on the "Boardwalk" one morning each week.
F-16 crew chief TSgt. Brandon Burton will get to "high-five" his father CMSgt. Dennis Burton in a few days. The younger Burton is returning home as the second half of the deployment commences and his father arrives to finish the trip with the Maintenance Squadron.
As the first half of this Air Expeditionary Force rotation comes to an end, many families are anxiously anticipating reunions with their loved ones. Other McEntire families have just begun their journey. In keeping with the Swamp Fox tradition, however, several individuals have remained in close contact with their loved ones every step of the way.
"I can't think of a more meaningful endorsement of McEntire and the Swamp Fox culture," said wing commander Col. Mike Hudson. "That members of our unit recruit their own children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and cousins to serve alongside them in the SCANG says it all. Our wing is honored and our mission is strengthened by this tradition."
Editor's Note: Technical Sergeant Caycee Cook, the Public Affairs specialist who wrote this article, currently is deployed to KAF with her younger brother Senior Airman Chance Watson (Avionics). This is their second deployment together. She says, "It has been a highlight in my career to document my brother's contributions to our deployments. I definitely look forward to our weekly breakfast and the 'family time' we're able to manage while in Afghanistan."