News: Like father, like son: a family deployment
Story by Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WALTON, Afghanistan- When most soldiers deploy, they have to say goodbye to all the loved ones they leave behind. Two soldiers from 115th Military Police Battalion, a Maryland National Guard unit, each had one less goodbye to say.
Sgt. 1st Class Lester Parks, Sr., and his son, 1st Lt. Lester Parks, Jr., deployed together with the battalion, which is attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
Parks, Sr., is the battalion logistics noncommissioned officer in charge, while his son is the military intelligence officer in charge.
The younger Parks was enlisted prior to becoming an officer. For a time, they were each staff sergeants in the same battalion at the same time.
“We were the same rank, same name, same battalion, so it was always kind of confusing,” said Parks, Jr.
When Parks, Jr., became an officer, his dad rendered his first salute.
“I was proud of him,” said Parks, Sr. “He’s exceeded my expectations.”
Although the family is deployed together, they only get to spend time together briefly each week.
“It’s hard because we’re both so busy and we work in different buildings,” said Parks, Jr. “We try to have dinner every once in a while or stop by just to say hi.”
Though the father and son team do not get to spend a lot of time together, when they are in the states, the only spend time together during drill weekends or family get-togethers.
Parks, Sr., lives in Newark, Md., while his son lives in Leesburg, Va., nearly four hours away.
Being deployed together brings comfort to the dad, knowing his son is not deployed on his own. It is each of their second deployment, but their first together.
“Most people have to deal with being away from their families,” said Parks, Jr. “For us, it kind of merges. We are dealing with that family dynamic here. To me, he’s one of the guys.”