News: Family reunion in combat
By Spc. Aaron L. Rosencrans
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — Two brothers chose different paths right after high school, but in the end wound up in the same place.
The first joined the Army to see the world, while the other went off to college to study the world.
Years after they said their goodbyes in their hometown of West Frankfort, Ill., their life paths crossed here, 6,692 miles away in the city of Baghdad.
Now, after being separated for more than four years, Sgt. Michael Shaw, field artillery specialist, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, finally had the opportunity to meet up with his brother, Spc. Ronald Shaw, field artillery specialist, Company B, 2nd Battlion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 'Warrior.'
"It took a lot of planning for me to meet my brother here when he arrived," said Michael, "but my first sergeant and commander were very helpful in getting me to the landing zone to meet him when he arrived in country."
Ronald said he was very surprised and overjoyed to hear his brother's voice behind him when he was picking up his baggage, after landing in Baghdad.
"It is hard for me to describe how I felt when my big brother was waiting for me ...," he said. "All I can say is I was extremely happy to see him after so many years."
The brothers said this was not the first time the family had multiple family members serving in the military simultaneously. They said they had two uncles who served as mortar men together, and the call to serve the U.S. seemed to be felt the same throughout the generations.
"There's a point and time where you have to step up and do something for your country," said Ronald. "As it turns out, I chose field artillery, like my brother. It's been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done."
The two brothers laughed when they thought about how the Army was the reason for their separation, and also their reuniting.
"I thought it was ironic how he joined the active Army, and how it separated us in the beginning," said Ronald. "Now it has brought us together here."
The reunion between the two brothers was short lived however. Ronald was a member of the unit that was replacing Michael's unit. So, the two brothers said they were spending as much time as possible with each other before they had to part ways again. Both Soldiers said they sacrificed sleep and personal time to ensure they had ample time to catch up and say their goodbyes once again.
Michael, the elder of the two, seemed to be looking out for his younger brother by the efforts he took to ensure Ronald was prepared to take control of his quick reactionary force mission.
Michael said he felt he should stick around during his brother's deployment, just so he could have more of an influence on Ronald's safety.
Furthermore, the two brothers agreed a future working in close proximity to each other would be of the best gifts they could receive.
"In field artillery, there are not too many duty stations you can be assigned to," said Michael. "So maybe one day, we will be lucky enough to be assigned to the same post, under different units. That would be nice."
Date Posted:01.11.2008 08:05
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