News: Father and son ready for Iraq together
Story by Spc. John Crosby
By Spc. John Crosby
Camp Atterbury Public Affairs
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – Ever since he was little, Aaron Klinghard remembers his father wearing the Army uniform. He remembers his father's deployment to Kuwait in 2004 for 15 months, and he remembers him coming home. Now for Aaron, remembering his father's reverence for his country doesn't have to be a thing of the past. At 22, he has a front row seat to see what duty, honor and country means: Aaron is wearing the same uniform and he's in the same unit and the same platoon as his father.
Spc. Aaron Klinghard, a power generator mechanic, and father Sgt. 1st Class Marion Klinghard, a utility equipment repair specialist, are both in the Tennessee National Guard's 776th Maintenance Task Force preparing for an upcoming deployment to Iraq.
"I hope he feels like he wanted to follow in my footsteps," said Marion Klinghard, who's been in the military for 33 years and with the same unit for 25. "He's seen what I've done and what the Army has done for me."
Growing up with a military father, Aaron said he seemed to be destined to join the military ever since he was young.
"I've known everyone in my dad's unit since I was a kid," Aaron said. "They're like a family to me. I grew up around the unit, it's all I know."
Mom and two other siblings round out the Klinghard clan, however Aaron and Marion have always been close. When Aaron was little, his father served as scoutmaster in Aaron's Boy Scouts troop and when Aaron played high school basketball his dad attended every game he could. And Marion's role as Dad helped Aaron prepare for basic training drill sergeants.
"My dad is a loud guy," Aaron said. "He was also real firm."
Sgt. 1st Class Beecher Powers of the 776th said a father-son team in the same unit can invite some teasing or hazing, however the unwanted attention is minimal due to the Klinghards' professionalism as Soldiers.
"They make sure the chain of command isn't interrupted," Powers said. "They're real good about staying in their lanes and keeping professional."
Aaron gets no special treatment from his father while on duty. Marion said he relies on Aaron's squad leader to give him guidance because if anything, Marion would be harder on his son if they were in the same squad.
"While we're on duty, we're just Soldiers, not father and son," Marion said. "But I am here for him. I told him when he joined that if he deployed, I would proudly deploy again with him."
Marion stayed true to his word. This deployment will be Marion's second and Aaron's first and both agree it will be a little easier because they have each other.