By Pfc. Lisa A. Cope and Capt. Jon-Roy Sloan
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq — A Tennessee father went the extra mile, Feb. 21, to be with his son on his birthday.
Capt. Joseph E. Wise, the personnel officer with 2nd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), convoyed from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, to Camp Liberty, Iraq, to be with his son, Spc. Thomas Hubbard, a light-wheel vehicle mechanic with the 38th Engineer Company, 2nd Infantry Division, on Hubbard's 21st birthday.
Hubbard, a Mount Juliet, Tenn., native, had a two-day notice of his father's intended visit and took the day off of work, greeting his father when he arrived at Camp Liberty.
Wise, also a Mount Juliet, Tenn., native, had not seen his son in more than a year, as Hubbard is now stationed in Fort Lewis, Wash., and said the two had a lot to catch up on, including the birth of Hubbard's son.
"We probably stayed up until two o'clock in the morning reminiscing," said Wise. "He lives in Washington and I live in Tennessee, so I do not get much of a chance to see him. We wound up talking forever. He has a baby boy that is just a year old."
Wise said he appreciated the effort Hubbard's unit made to allow the pair to spend time together.
"The unit was very hospitable and accommodating," he said. "I met his commander and his friends. Then I got to see where he worked, and later the next morning, we got to visit one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces."
Hubbard said a desire to emulate his father was a factor in his decision to join the Army.
"I always kind of wanted to follow in his footsteps," he said. "We argued about it a little because I wanted to go into the infantry, but he talked me into doing something that I could use when I got out of the Army."
Both father and son said they were thankful for the time together and hope to do it again in the future.
Wise said, "It was one of those days I'll cherish for the rest of my life."