News: Brother, sister serve deployment together in Air Cavalry
Story by Sgt. Alun Thomas
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — The odds of two siblings being deployed together in the same brigade might be considered slim in the active Army, especially if it happens by chance.
Luckily for Pfc. Harmony Rodriguez and her brother Spc. Jeremiah Rodriguez, the odds worked in their favor as both are serving together with 1st Air Cavalry Brigade while following in the footsteps of their father, a 19-year Army veteran.
They say growing up in a military environment had a profound influence on them, with all roads eventually leading to 1st ACB and Iraq.
Harmony, from Victoria, Texas, a cook in Company E, 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, said their father served in the reserves before joining the active Army.
"I have nothing but good memories of my father in the Army growing up," she said. "He was in the reserves [first] but it was good to see him in uniform and doing his training."
For Jeremiah, 22, from Lubbock, Texas, an aircraft electrician in Company B, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, the previous decade was spent without his father around much of the time.
"It was kind of sad seeing him deploying all the time; he has three deployments under his belt," Jeremiah said. "Seeing him walk away was hard and we would always miss him."
Despite the strain of being separated frequently, Jeremiah was moved by his father's dedication to military service and decided to also join the Army as a result.
This in turn motivated Harmony to do the same.
"With my father and brother both in the military, it inspired me to join as well," Harmony, 19, said. "My dad tried to talk me out of it."
As she came in the Army, Jeremiah was assigned to Korea before leaving for 1st ACB. He said he was surprised when he learned that Harmony would be joining him there.
"It was a pure coincidence. ... I was still in Korea when she told me she was [joining] and when she came in, this was her first unit," Jeremiah said. "I had been [there] for six months already with the Air Cav., when she got to Hood, so then we deployed together, and here we are."
"I thought it was awesome," he added. "You can't have anything better than that, really."
For Harmony, being sent to 1st ACB gave her peace of mind, allowing her the comfort of her brother's guidance.
"It was great. I was just happy to be with someone I knew in the same unit, especially my brother," Harmony said.
Being deployed together gives them both the luxury of family companionship; a luxury most Soldiers don't enjoy while in combat.
"We have family that's always close by; someone you can talk to all the time that knows you well," Harmony said. "We don't talk every day, but we do as often as we can."
Jeremiah said he now knows how his father felt during his deployments.
"You get to see the other side, what's it's like from another point of view. I get to see what my dad went through when we were missing him," Jeremiah said. "I know how it is now; he didn't have a choice when he went and it's our turn now."
The deployment is proving to be a positive one for Harmony, who was switched from her job as a cook to the 4-227th tactical operations center as part of flight operations.
"My first sergeant decided to task me out. ... I didn't like [my role at the TOC] at first, but I just went with the flow and now I like it," Harmony. "I like the Air Cav., and if I reenlist, I want to re-class to aircraft flight operations."
Jeremiah, however, said he fully plans to make the Army a career, hoping to emulate his father who is closing in on 20 years.
"I'm going to be a lifer ... I [want] to stay in and retire; hopefully as a sergeant major," he said. "I like my job, but my dad is a ranger, so I might have to go chase after him and see how far I go."