It's a family tradition

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, even husbands and wives. McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina has a long history of loved ones serving side by side.

Most "Swamp Fox" deployments result in family members with their boots on the same ground, from Desert Storm in 1990 to Operation Northern Watch in 2000 to the recently concluded Operation Iraqi Freedom. And now, as the latest South Carolina Air National Guard deployment hits its midpoint at here, several families are serving together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Airman 1st Class Lauren Narduzzi, an aircrew flight equipment technician with the 157th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, is on her first deployment with her father Tech. Sgt. Doug Narduzzi, an aircraft production controller for the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Group.

The younger Narduzzi said she and her father are really close, so having her father with her for her first deployment helped calm some nervousness about the trip. They share the same day off and get to call home together. She said seeing them together also helps their family back home feel more at ease.

"There's always a little piece of home in this deployed environment," she said. "Even on the most stressful days, he'll stop by and everything gets better."

The elder Narduzzi, who has 21 years of military service, said he was excited and anxious at the same time about deploying with his youngest daughter.

"While I was apprehensive about her being in a combat environment, it alleviates a part of the home sickness and makes me feel good when I see her," he said.

A 451st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics specialist, Staff Sgt. Corey Revels is serving his second tour alongside his father Senior Master Sgt. James Revels Jr., the superintendent for the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron.

"As a father, it's not only nice to share the experience, but, if you have a child who deploys, you don't really know if they are safe and getting what they need," the senior Revels said. "Being deployed with Corey, I know he is safe and only a few minutes away when I want to ensure he is okay."

The Revels do their best to schedule an occasional dinner, play pool in the morale areas and even work out together. They both agree it's nice to have family close by.

Another father/son team deployed to Kandahar Air Field is Master Sgt. Jerry Keefe, a flight line production expeditor for the 451st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and his son Senior Airman Cody Keefe, an intelligence analyst for the 451st Operations Support Squadron.

"I feel honored to be deployed with Cody," said the master sergeant. "I could go on and on about my pride in him."

They duo said they enjoy spending a few hours with each other one morning each week.

In a few days, F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief Tech. Sgt. Brandon Burton will get to "high-five" his father Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Burton. The younger Burton is returning home as the second half of the deployment commences and his father arrives to finish his tour with the 451st EMXS.

As the first half of this air expeditionary force rotation comes to an end, many families are anxiously anticipating reunions with their loved ones. Other McEntire Joint National Guard Base families have just started their journey.

"I can't think of a more meaningful endorsement of McEntire (Joint National Guard Base) and the Swamp Fox culture," said Col. Mike Hudson, the South Carolina ANG's 169th Fighter Wing commander. "That members of our unit recruit their own children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and cousins to serve alongside them in the (South Carolina) ANG says it all. Our wing is honored and our mission is strengthened by this tradition."