Father, Son Meet In Afghanistan
(December 4, 2009)
Army Spc. Kevin Leaman (left) poses for a photo with his dad, Tech. Sgt. Thomas Leaman, Nov. 19, 2009, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Specialist Leaman is a vehicle maintainer with the 4th Infantry Division deployed from Fort Carson, Colo. Sergeant Leaman is the fuels mobility support equipment shop NCO in charge of the 455th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron and is deployed from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
|BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (11/30/2009 -
There's a saying that a parent would do
anything for his children, and that even
includes deploying to war to be with their
During the "Year of the Air Force Family," Tech.
Sgt. Thomas Leaman, a reservist from the 302nd
Airlift Wing at Petersen Air Force Base, Colo.,
decided he needed to be with his son in
Sergeant Leaman, the NCO in charge of the 455th
Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron's
fuels mobility support equipment shop could only
think about one thing as he disembarked from a
C-17 Globemaster III; that he would get to spend
some "quality time" with his son, Army Spc.
Kevin Leaman, a vehicle maintainer with the 4th
Infantry Division deployed in Afghanistan.
The deployment has given us quality time to talk; that's probably been the best
thing about this deployment," said Sergeant Leaman reflecting on an evening
where the two sat up all night playing cards and drinking coffee together. "He's
grown up a lot and it's nice to have the father-son time."
The two have seen each other a few times off and on since being deployed to
Afghanistan, as Specialist Leaman is stationed at a remote outpost near
Jalalabad, Afghanistan, some 75 miles away.
But as any military family knows, the loved ones deployed are only half the
story. At the Leaman home in Colorado, there's strong support from a spouse who
worries about her husband and son, but also provides support and leadership to
those around her.
Melissa Leaman supports the family, but also one who has an internal drive of
her own to make great things happen, according to her husband, Sergeant Leaman.
"She's graduating tomorrow," said Sergeant Leaman referring to her wife's
graduation from cosmetology school, a life-long goal of hers. "She's dedicated
and driven. She holds the family together."
"It's very stressful with one, but with both deployed, it's even more
stressful," said Mrs. Leaman on the morning of her graduation. "You worry about
them all the time but I hear from them and write letters to them all the time.
We have to keep going."
One advantage of being deployed together is the built-in mechanism that allows
them to discuss the stresses of war; some of the things you don't call home
"It's tough you know?" Sergeant Leaman said. When there's an attack on a remote
outpost in the news, the elder Leaman needs to find out if it's his son's base.
But once they discuss things like attacks, the two find themselves putting each
other at ease, according to the father. And the two find the time to "discuss a
lot of stressful things," with each other.
Military service is common in this family. With a dad and son serving in
Afghanistan and an additional daughter considering joining Air Force ROTC,
another son looking for an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy, and a
loving wife who keeps it all together, Mrs. Leaman said she's proud of her
family's sacrifice and service.
"I support them -- my children -- in what they want to do," said Mrs. Leaman
referring to her two children not in the military, but considering the Air
Force. "I will stand by them in what they want to do...my youngest has a dream
to take a picture of himself, his brother and his father, all in uniform
Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen.
Norton Schwartz designated July 2009 to July 2010 as "Year of the Air Force
In a July 17 memorandum, the leaders explained that the Air Force family is
dynamic and diverse, made up of active duty, Reserve and Guard component
members; officer and enlisted, civilians, spouses and children and that it also
extends to parents, friends and community partners who support Airmen.
Mrs. Leaman wanted her family to know: "I am very proud of them and I love them
By USAF Capt. David Faggard
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Felicia Juenke
Air Force News Service
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