News: Like father like son: 8th Military Police Soldiers keep family tradition on Camp Liberty
BAGHDAD — The American Heritage Dictionary defines "tradition" as "a mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage."
Pfc. Steven Allen Heredia, who is a supply specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 93rd Military Police Battalion, 8th MP "Watchdog" Brigade, Multi-National Division — Baghdad, defines "tradition" as simply following in his father's footsteps. Steven wants to continue the legacy of having a member of the Heredia family in service to the United States.
This is a legacy that Spc. Allen Heredia shares with his son. Allen is an MP Soldier assigned to 810th MP Co., Task Force 91 MP, 8th MP Bde., MND-B.
Both father and son feel strongly about their family's military history. There have been five generations of Heredia men in the military since the Spanish-American War.
Steven already knew what he wanted to do, and that was to follow the family tradition.
"Joining the military is something that I always wanted to do," said Steven. "Since I was a child, I have never thought about doing anything else. I still remember the times when my father would advise me about joining the military. My father was never over bearing about my decision to join the Army; he always told me it was my decision to do whatever I wanted to do in life."
Allen was born in Bronx, N.Y. and joined the Army in Jan. 19, 1977 as an infantryman so he could stay off of the streets of New York. In the Bronx during the 1970's gangs, drugs and organized crime were at their peak. Allen was hanging out with the wrong crowd and he could see that if he continued on that path it would lead him nowhere. His decision was easy to make, and he knew he had to follow in his predecessor's footsteps. Allen served six years in the military and received an Honorable Discharge from the Army in July 1983.
"I regret ever getting out of the Army," said Allen. "It was one of the best things I have ever done and enjoyed doing. So when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, I felt compelled to do what was right and rejoin the U.S. Army."
Due to Army Age policy, Allen was told he was too old at the time to join the military. He waited four more years and was able to join the Army Reserves, based out of Tampa, Fla. July 18, 2005.
The Heredias both think that being stationed at the same installation in Iraq was one of the best things that could have happened considering the situation.
"I see my son more now than I did back in the States," said Allen, this is due to both living in different parts of the country. "We see each other at least twice a week and speak to each other every other day on the phone."
When they have time they enjoy having lunch together, which is something that Allen really enjoys since he can't remember the last time he sat down with his son to eat lunch back in New York.
They both agree that being stationed together has made things easier for both of them. Allen says he doesn't worry about his son much now because he is able to see him every week.
"I am proud of both my kids, they are the pride of my life," said Heredia, whose daughter also serves in the Army. "The only thing I would do to change this whole situation would be that I would have loved to work with my son and go on missions together."
It is never easy to be deployed because of separations from family and friends, but one family says it has been brought back together by a family tradition.