AL ASAD, Iraq -- For many Marines deployed to Iraq, one of the greatest hardships endured is the feeling of separation from their family and loved ones thousands of miles away in the United States.
Master Sgt. Claude Ready, the ordnance chief with Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167, and his son Lance Cpl. Adam Ready, an avionics technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26, are able to endure the hardships together while stationed at Al Asad, Iraq.
Adam Ready was serving with MALS-16 in San Diego, Calif. When he learned his father was going to Iraq, he quickly volunteered to fill an individual augment slot.
“I wanted to deploy,” said Adam. “I begged and begged, and eventually a spot opened up. I really wanted to do my job in a combat environment, and I knew my dad would be here.”
Although Claude said he is extremely proud of the man and the caliber of Marine his son has become, he originally wanted his son to join the Air Force.
“Immediately, the Marine Corps recruiters proved to be so much more professional,” said Claude. “Being around the Corps his whole life, he had a really good point of reference.”
Adam said he found humor in his father wanting him to join the Air Force. After watching his father serve in the Marine Corps his entire life, he said there was no other choice.
“Everyone in the world knows the Marines are the best,” said Adam Ready. “I love my job. I work on aircraft survivability equipments, protecting Marines’ lives in combat.”
Deployed together, he said he can talk to his dad about anything. Although he misses his mother, Maria Ready, and his 13-year-old sister, Caroline Ready, who are at home in Jackonsville, N.C., he said he is very thankful he’s able to spend time with his father.
“Whenever I get down about anything, I can go to him,” said Adam. “If I get a little stressed with too much work, I can always talk with him about it. We have dinner together and spend time just bonding.
“We spend a lot of time talking about my girlfriend back home. We have been together for more than four years, and I’ve been thinking about marriage. My dad tells me to wait until after my first enlistment to get married,” he said.
Adam said he enjoys visiting his father. Not only for the quality time together, but also to watch movies, television shows and to relax.
“It seems we’ve become addicted to ‘Smallville’” said Adam. “We just have a really good time together. We have similar senses of humor, and also watch ‘Family Guy’ a lot.”
Besides watching movies, Adam said he enjoys the long talks he has with his father.
“Not many people are able to do that,” said Adam. “When I tell people my dad is here, they can’t believe me. They always ask me how strict he is because of his rank. But, I don’t work for him.”
Although he doesn’t work for him, Adam said he stills respects his father’s rank and refers to him as master sergeant while in a professional environment.
“One time his son came to visit (Claude),” said Warrant Officer Leah Jarona, an ordnance officer with HMLA-167. “I clearly remember him making his son go out and work on the birds. I had to tell him he wasn’t allowed to do that anymore.”
Adam said being deployed can be hard, but overall it’s a really good experience, even if his father has a little extra work for him to do.
“It’s really unique to be able to watch him progress through the ranks and mature,” said Claude. “He’s a smart guy. He’s way ahead of the curve from where I was at his age. I’m proud of him because of the title he earned, and the outstanding young man he has become.”
Claude credits his wife, Maria, for setting a great example for their son to emulate. While he was deployed, he said she was a great role model getting her education and working hard.
“I always get emails from home, telling me to keep an eye on him,” said Claude. “It’s a little strange being deployed with him, and a little stressful. But, Al Asad is an extremely well defended installation, and he’s an intelligent young man who knows what he is doing.”
Both Claude and Adam said they keep in touch with home, emailing and calling whenever they can. Although they miss home, they said they are very glad to be there for each other.
“I had a brother, John, who died in a car accident, September 2004,” said Adam. “So, this deployment is extra hard on my mom, I’m her only son. It’s great to have my dad here, but I can’t wait until the whole family is together again.”