CAMP STRIKER, Iraq - Two cousins, with the help of their fellow Soldiers and Airmen, pitched in to build a multimillion dollar Command and Control Center, Forward Arming and Refueling Points and an Aviation Maintenance Facility for aviation operations in Iraq recently.
Army Lt. Col. Michael Fields, Task Force 449 Deputy Commander, and his cousin, Air Force Master Sgt. Reid E. Fussell III, 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron Operations Superintendent, are long-lost cousins, from Rose Hill, N.C., who reunited in Iraq.
"We had no idea that we would be in Iraq at the same time," said Fields, a Guardsman since 1984. "We happened to be talking about a project that our units were involved in and realized we were talking about the same project and his unit would be building the work area for our unit."
In January, RED HORSE Airmen led the planning and constructing of a new aviation maintenance facility and went on to complete the Southwest Asia hut project, which ensured that Task Force 449, and aviation brigades that followed, are mission capable.
"Our relationship helped the entire process along," said Fussell, who has been in the Air Force for 19 years. "Since we already knew each other and worked well together, we were able to complete the mission efficiently and earlier than planned."
Fussell and Field's families, who still live in Rose Hill, N.C., also benefit from knowing the cousins are deployed together.
"It helped our families deal better with knowing that we would be there looking out for each other," said Fields, who works at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The cousins have already made plans to take some trips together now that they have re-established their relationship.
"We haven't had much contact since joining the military," said Fussell. "So we were able to do a lot of catching up, we're glad we got to work together."
This work, Families join together to get the job done, by SPC Jasmine Walthall, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.