USO helps sergeant give his father a taste of life downrange

| November 19, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Sgt. Shawn Miller
109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment 

John Williams Jr. (center) laughs with his son, Sgt. John Willams III (left), Co. B, 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, along with country music star Trace Adkins, when they meet in Iraq, Nov. 1.CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — For most parents with sons and daughters downrange, phone calls and e-mails are the closest they get to experiencing deployment life with their Soldier.

For Sgt. John Williams III, an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, a USO concert brought him together with his father, John Williams Jr., Nov. 1.

“Not everyone gets to see their family while they are deployed,” Williams said. “It’s a special thing.”

Two years ago, Williams met his father, band manager for country star Trace Adkins, during a USO tour through Afghanistan. When he found out that his father would be making a tour through Iraq, Williams started planning how to get here, from his base at Contingency Operating Site Cruz Morris.

“My chain of command was very supportive, and then I started working details on surprising my dad,” he said.

As the band and crew stepped off the plane, Williams walked toward his unsuspecting father, accomplishing the surprise he had hoped for.

“This is just a thrill that is hard to describe,” exclaimed his father. “These long deployments are hard on everyone, and just getting to see him here is unbelievable.”

Having been in the music industry since the 1970s, Williams has toured the world, making several USO stops to deployment zones in support of the military. Being able to see Soldiers – including his own – in their element is a unique opportunity, he said.

“I admire his choices and admire what he does,” John Williams Jr. remarked. “Last time we ran into each other was in Afghanistan. You think you know how these guys are living over here, but until you see it with your own eyes and see how these men and women are living over here, it is hard to comprehend.”

Sgt. Williams, who is expecting his first child, said that he hopes to be able to see his child doing what he or she loves to do in life, much the same way as his father is seeing him do now.

“I feel so lucky to have seen him twice since I’ve been deployed,” Williams said, of his father.

An opportunity not afforded to most parents, the two were able to spend the day together during a deployment rotation. 

Category: Deployed Forces, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *