Forward Operating Base Walton, Afghanistan — When most Soldiers deploy, they have to say goodbye to all the loved ones they leave behind. Two Soldiers from 115th Military Police Battalion, a Maryland National Guard unit, each had one less goodbye to say.
Sgt. 1st Class Lester Parks Sr., and his son, 1st Lt. Lester Parks Jr., deployed together with the battalion, which is attached to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
The elder Parks is the battalion logistics noncommissioned officer-in-charge, while his son is the military intelligence officer-in-charge.
The younger Parks was enlisted prior to becoming an officer. For a time, they were each staff sergeants in the same battalion at the same time.
“We were the same rank, same name, same battalion, so it was always kind of confusing,” said Parks Jr.
When Parks Jr., became an officer, his dad rendered his first salute.
“I was proud of him,” said Parks Sr. “He’s exceeded my expectations.”
Although they are deployed together, they only get to spend time briefly each week.
“It’s hard because we’re both so busy and we work in different buildings,” said Parks Jr. “We try to have dinner every once in a while or stop by just to say hi.”
Though the father and son team do not get to spend a lot of time together, when they are in the states, they only spend time together during drill weekends or family get-togethers.
Parks Sr., lives in Newark, Md., while his son lives in Leesburg, Va., nearly four hours away by automobile.
Being deployed together brings comfort to the dad, knowing his son is not deployed on his own. It is each of their second deployment, but their first together.
“Most people have to deal with being away from their families,” said Parks Jr. “For us, it kind of merges. We are dealing with that family dynamic here. To me, he’s one of the guys.”