AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq --
One of the most stressful parts of any deployment for service members is their separation from family and friends.
Col. James O’Meara, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 26 (Reinforced), was joined by his son, Chris O’Meara, for the Thanksgiving weekend aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.
Chris is an Army private first class currently deployed as a field artilleryman to Joint Security Station Muthana located near Baghdad.
During Chris’ visit, the two enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at one of the dining facilities on base, watched football games and went for a ride around base.
“We took a ride in the [CH-47 Chinook] around the base,” said Chris, as he sat in his father’s office. “It was pretty cool.”
“He’s been all around the base, but mostly hangs around my office while I’m working,” added O’Meara, “like a ‘take your son to work day’ that lasts a whole weekend.”
“I like the VIP badge, though,” said Chris. “I think I’m going to keep it.”
Chris and his father spent as much time together as possible, remembering past experiences and joking as only a father and son do.
“I remember when he graduated from his basic training. It was at Ft. Sill [Oklahoma], which is in the middle of nowhere,” joked O’Meara. “Before I knew it, I had driven past the base because there were so many cows I missed the entrance!”
“It was great to see him there in his uniform though,” added Chris. “I joined the Army because, well, think about how hard [Marine Corps] recruit training would have been for me if they knew my dad was a colonel. The sign-on bonus for the Army also helped.”
During a football game, the two discussed their plans for the rest of the long weekend.
“We’re going to try to get him on a [CH-46 Sea Knight] and maybe something else,” said O’Meara.
“Maybe I can get on a Cobra,” exclaimed Chris.
“Don’t push it, kid,” joked O’Meara, with a slight grin as they turned back to the game on the television.