CAMP TAJI, Iraq — It was supposed to be a secret reunion between a father and daughter in the most volatile of places.
Secret or not, the opportunity was seized by the pair eagerly.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Charles Brady, from Harker Heights, Texas, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot for 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, and his daughter, Heather Brady, reunited when Heather made a stop, here, Nov. 27, as a participant in a Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Hooters tour visiting Iraq.
Brady said his daughter was chosen as one of six Hooter's girls out of more than 17,000 for the visit, but was originally not told she would be part of the tour.
"The Pentagon authorized five girls to come to Iraq ... so I called Heather and she said she had no idea there was going to be a Hooter's tour to Iraq," Charles said. "[Hooters, Incorporated] came back and told me the Pentagon wouldn't authorize another person."
The elder Brady said they knew all along that Heather was going to be part of the tour, but they wanted to keep it a surprise.
"They told me at the last minute and it was a real eye opener," Charles said. "The reason I found out was because they sent an e-mail to all the Soldiers in Iraq and in the attached flyer there was a picture of her."
"I called Heather up at home and asked her what was going on," Charles continued. "I asked her 'Are you coming out here?' and she broke down and said she was."
Upon greeting his daughter in Baghdad, Charles said it was unusual to see her in his environment.
"Seeing her in Iraq in a combat zone was above and beyond," he said. "I'm extremely proud of her."
Heather said having the chance to perform in Iraq and meet different Soldiers has been a life changing event for her.
"Its great being here seeing the Soldiers and what they actually do ... things we don't get to see back home," Heather said. "It's not like you see on the news at all, so being here in person is amazing."
But seeing her dad was the icing on the cake.
"I never thought I'd see him in Iraq in a million years. I can't get over it," Heather said. "It's been awesome."
While Heather has seen her father flying all her life, seeing where he puts his training into practice gives her visit added meaning.
"I've never really gotten to see what he does here, so seeing him in action is the coolest thing," Heather said. "It's been absolutely the most amazing experience of my life."
This work, 1st ACB pilot reunites with daughter in Iraq, by Alun Thomas, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.