Dec. 17, 2007

Dynamic duo: Mother and daughter, both serving in Iraq, reunited

Janet C. Smith (right), a U.S. Department of Defense contractor, popped by Al Taqaddum to visit her daughter, Sgt. Michelle L. Smith (left), to offer some motherly advice.

By Spc. Frank O’Brien
3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq– Mothers worry when their daughters are deployed overseas. That’s what mothers do. But few have the opportunity that Janet C. Smith, a U.S. Department of Defense contractor and fleet sustainment manager for the 1st Battalion, 402nd Army Field Support Brigade – Iraq, at Camp Anaconda, had. She popped by Al Taqaddum to visit her daughter, Sgt. Michelle L. Smith, to offer some motherly advice.

“Pay attention, stay focused and don’t take anything for granted,” said the mother to the daughter at their reunion on Nov. 14.

Michelle, a medic, serves as a truck commander on a gun truck doing convoy security. Her mother, who served two years in the Women’s Army Corps, repairs security vehicles. Every time another damaged vehicle is brought in, she worries: “Was my daughter on board?”  Smith e-mails Michelle almost every day, but this time didn’t wait for a reply and came for a personal visit.

It’s been 11 months since the two have seen each other. Smith arrived in Iraq on Dec. 17, 2006.  Michelle arrived on Sept. 15, 2007.

Both are used to being together, and this is the longest they’ve been apart, Michelle said.

“I don’t like the idea of mom being here for safety reasons, and she doesn’t like me being outside the wire. Still, I’m excited to be where the action is,” Michelle added.

Michelle, who joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1993, was originally scheduled to deploy to Kuwait with F Company. She is currently in training to become an assistant convoy commander.

Despite the worry and “six degrees of separation,” Smith is very proud.

“She’s with an incredible bunch of Soldiers that looks out for one another. They have my utmost respect and gratitude,” said Smith.

Both have plans to take leave together in July.

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