News: Same name, same deployment
Story by Sgt. Kimberly Bratic
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - Twenty-one years of bonding moments thus far …. The first serious girlfriend, the family vacation to Hawaii, the hunting trips together. One unique event is approaching two Ohio National Guard soldiers bringing them another bond and memories that only the other will understand.
Sgt. Shane L. Bailey, chaplain’s assistant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and Pfc. Chris N. Bailey, cannon crew member for field artillery and a Personal Security Detachment gunner assigned to Alpha Company, 1-134th Field Artillery Regiment, 37th IBCT, are father and son deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The two, very similar in mannerisms and expressions, share the same view about having the other patrolling around a nation of change and uncertainty.
“There’s a feeling knowing that you’re not alone over there,” said the senior Bailey. “It’s both a comfort and a concern.”
The guidance given as a parent and fellow soldier are quite different: Dad wants his son to be safe and to come home. As a fellow soldier, Sgt. Bailey encourages Pfc. Bailey, “Stick with your training. Remember everything you were taught. Put it into action. Apply it.”
The younger Bailey’s perspective mirrors his father’s and fellow soldier’s.
“We care for each other,” said Chris. “But I know that whatever danger he could possibly be in, he knew he could be in when he signed up.”
The two have spent the last few months at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Miss., completely pre-mobilization training.
“It has been nice to have him here,” said Pfc. Bailey. “Here, he’s not like a father though; he’s more like a friend. We keep it professional.”
“Dad motivates me,” said the younger Bailey. “He challenges me to match him on everything like M4 training and [physical training] tests.”
Sgt. Bailey spent three years active duty with the 25th Infantry Division and, after a 14-year split in service, has been in the National Guard for the past two and half years. Pfc. Bailey has been in the National Guard for 15 months.
“He helps me as much as he can. He tells me what he has learned,” says the junior-ranked soldier. “He doesn’t favor me. He’s an inspiration.”
The young, independent Bailey studied animal science during his first year at The Ohio State University. As a personal choice, he did not want his parents paying for his education.
As many college students do, he had a change of mind about his major. He decided to join the National Guard hoping it would help him decide what he wanted to do with his future.
The senior Bailey went through the enlistment process with his son. He said he had hoped his son would choose an easier job but he knew that combat arms was what his son wanted to do and the Bailey family supported Chris’s decision.
“I have no doubt that he can go over there, accomplish a mission, and he’ll be safe,” said Sgt. Bailey. “He’s a great soldier. He’s learned all the skills, he applies them, and he’s serious about his job.”
Although the father-son duo will most likely not encounter each overseas, they plan to try to communicate as much as possible.
The Bailey plan of attack on their upcoming deployment: Keep in contact. Keep your faith. Keep strong.