AL ASAD, Iraq -- Deployment is a time where the support of family becomes more important to service members. Letters, phone calls and e-mails act as a connection to family, to the life left back in the states. Every now and then, a service member gets lucky enough to serve alongside a brother or a sister. Even rarer is the opportunity to visit and spend time with a parent who works at a different base.
Spc. Marcos Zavala, a heavy equipment operator with the 618th Airborne Engineers Company deployed to Mosul, Iraq, was recently able to spend a week with his father, Roberto Zavala, a sheet metal mechanic with the Al Asad Fleet Readiness Center.
When Marcos’ superiors at “The Nasty” 618th learned his father was at Al Asad, they arranged for him to spend some time with Roberto.
“It was awesome,” Roberto said. “As soon as they found out I was in country, they said (to Marcos) ‘We’ll get you out there to see him’. It’s a once in a lifetime chance I guess you could call it. Like I tell (Marcos), ‘Who would’ve thought’?”
Marcos, who has been deployed since early August, last saw his father when he took leave in November. During their week together, the father and son duo have spent most of their time catching up with what has happened since they last saw each other.
“It’s the highlight of my tour,” Roberto said. “Fixing aircraft is great, but I got to see my son out here. You worry about them all the time when their gone. I can see him right now and tell that he’s doing okay.”
Marcos also welcomed the break from his duties as an airborne engineer.
“It’s more of a morale thing than anything,” Marcos said. “Its almost like a second (Rest and Relaxation period).”
Roberto, who is no stranger to the military, spent 11 years in the Marines. He was stationed on the East and West Coast, and went on deployments ranging from the Philippines to Panama. He was proud when his son decided to join the military, even if it was not with the Marines.
“I was happy for him,” Roberto said. “He wanted to jump out of aircraft. Just for him to join the military was great. I’m proud of him. I couldn’t tell you how proud I am, there’s no words to describe it.”
Roberto said he appreciates what his son’s command did and is proud of what Marcos has accomplished.
“Like I said,” Roberto said with a smile. “How can you not be proud of him?”