By Capt. Andi Hahn, 149th Maneuver
Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs Officer
BAGHDAD, Iraq—It’s not every day family members deploy together to Iraq. It’s not every day family members get to see each other while deployed together in Iraq. And it’s not every day an uncle gets to extend his nephew into the Army while deployed together in Iraq.
Col. James A. Brown of Morgan, Utah extended his nephew Sgt. Shea J. Esplin of Cedar City, Utah into the Utah National Guard Sept. 25 while they were stationed in Baghdad, Iraq (Date).
Brown and Esplin mobilized together with the Utah National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field Artillery, back in June at Camp Atterbury, Ind., in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Iraq but lost touch once they hit boots on ground.
“We were supposed to be on the same mission in country but things changed when we got on ground and elements of the battalion got scattered all over the country,” said Brown, the Garrison Deputy Commander for Victory Base Complex in Iraq. “I wasn’t sure where he had been re-missioned to.”
When Esplin was given the opportunity to re-enlist during his deployment, he immediately contacted his Uncle and asked him to do the honors.
“I received an email from him asking if I’d extend him in the Guard and I said ‘Yes! I will fly anywhere you are to do this for you’ and it turned out we were at the same location,” Brown said.
Esplin and his uncle met at the Joint Visitor’s Bureau at Camp Victory where he raised his right hand and recited the oath to extend him into the guard another six years.
“It was really cool to have my uncle do this for me while we are both here,” said Esplin. “He was able to take me on a quick tour of the area and I saw some pretty neat places. Most people don’t get to have a palace in Iraq behind them when they re-enlist.”
Esplin said it is nice to know when he goes home he will have family that was deployed the same time and the same place as him who can better understand what happened here.
“It’s an awesome thing to think that someday when my kid is in history and they talk about the war in Iraq, I can say I was there,” Esplin said. “I will get to share stories with him that the textbooks won’t be able to and I look forward to that.”