A father and son were reunited during the early-morning hours March 28.
Unlike a normal reunion, Pfc. Jeremy Conner, an infantryman assigned to the Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and his father, Master Sgt. John Conner, an infantryman with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, were reunited while deployed.
John had spent six months in Iskandaria, Iraq, just south of Baghdad, and was preparing to return to the states to attend the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas, when he decided to come see his son in Mosul, Iraq.
“He was banging on my door at 4:30 a.m.,” said Jeremy. “I answered it and it took me a minute, but then I was like, ‘What are you doing here?'”
The father and son were on separate paths but both ended up in Iraq at the same time.
Jeremy said he joined the Army in January 2006 and went to basic combat training at Fort Benning, Ga. “I joined because it was the only thing I could think of doing,” said Jeremy. “I was born into the Army.”
At the time Jeremy joined the Army, his father, John, was a first sergeant for a basic combat training company.
“My dad talked to my first sergeant and drill sergeants,” said Jeremy. “My drill sergeants made it a little bit harder on me, but it was because they had certain expectations for me.”
John had plans to attend Jeremy’s graduation and then follow his son’s progress in airborne school, culminating with Jeremy’s final jump, which John would do with him.
“My dad had plans, but then he came down on orders and had to leave for Alaska two weeks after I started basic,” said Jeremy.
While John was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska, he still was trying to coordinate a way to make it to Jeremy’s graduation and be there for his final jump in airborne school, but Jeremy got hurt before attending airborne school.
“It would have been cool to have him there and do the final jump with me,” said Jeremy. “Maybe it can still happen. I still plan on going to airborne school.”
Although the father-son team was unable to be together for airborne school, fate and the Army soon would find another way for them to spend time together.
“After I graduated basic my dad knew he was coming to Iraq,” said Jeremy. “By the time I was [at my first duty assignment in El Paso] there were rumors that we were going to Iraq, but he knew exactly where he was going to be.”
As time got closer, the Conner’s thought they were going to be able to see each other.
“At first, we thought we were going to be in Baghdad or Ramadi,” said Jeremy. “That meant we would have been only 30 miles away from each other. As soon as I found out we were going to be in Mosul, I didn’t think we were going to see each other because of how far apart we were.”
Although the father-son duo doesn’t have much time together here in Iraq, they will be able to spend a few months together when Jeremy gets back to Fort Bliss.
“My dad will be at the Sergeants Major Academy until May, so whenever we get back, I will be able to see him,” said Jeremy. “I live only three miles from the academy, so it won’t be hard for us to get together.”
By Pfc. Bradley J. Clark