Deployed Airman gets family surprise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ben Mota
  • U.S. Air Force Central Command Public Affairs
For Master Sgt. Shanda Moon it was another uneventful lunch at her deployed location in Southwest Asia where she serves as the executive assistant to the command chief for U.S. Air Force Central Command. She saw a young Soldier approaching, but didn't think much about it.  But as he got closer, he started to look awfully familiar.

People often say "it's a small world," and for Moon that day in the DFAC was definitely an example.

Approaching was her nephew, a Soldier deployed to the same base who she hadn't seen in more than five years.

Army Spc. Alec Potthoff,  a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, spotted his aunt in the crowd
"I was eating lunch with my commander and one of my friends, when I saw my aunt for the first time," said Potthoff. "I was kind of in shock at first."

"We haven't seen each other in a long time," added Moon. "We knew we were out here in the AOR together but had no clue it was on the same base."

"We really never get home at the same time," said Potthoff. "It's really nice seeing someone you know when you are so far from home."

Both Moon, deployed from Cannon AFB, N.M., and Potthoff, deployed from Fort Bliss, Texas, share the same hometown of Durango, Colo.

Potthoff was near the end of a 12-month deployment while Moon was only a few months into her 12-month deployment when their paths met.

"We just happened to run into each other," said Moon. "It was amazing to run into each other this far away."

Moon has more than 19 years of service, while Potthoff recently completed his third year in the Army. Despite their military service this was the first time that they had been stationed at the same location.

"What is amazing for me is that the last time I saw him he was a teenage in high school, and now he is a Soldier in the Army, married and a grown man," said Moon. "It's amazing to see another one of my family members who is doing something terrific. I am proud of him."