Army Family Strong: Father and son reunite while both deployed overseas
Story by 1st Lt. Kevin Livingston, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
Members of the Lane family are no strangers to the Army Family lifestyle. Three generations have worn the uniform in conflicts from the Vietnam War to the current War on Terrorism. While many families have multiple members serving simultaneously, they very seldom cross paths on assignments. That was not the case for 1st Sgt. Richard Lane and his son Spc. Michael Lane, who reunited while deployed in theater, after a year apart.
First Sgt. Lane is deployed with 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment on his fifth tour overseas, with plans on retiring in the next three years or so, when he will have well over 35 years of service. Spc. Lane, with 1st Battalion, 145th Armor Regiment, is wrapping up his first deployment.
“I think the coolest aspect of it all is being in the military together, being on deployment even though it’s just for a month or so together and being able to link up in a foreign country like this,” 1st Sgt. Lane said. “This is his first deployment and my last, and that’s what is really cool; the start of his career and the end of mine.”
Spc. Lane said he was prepared for his military career through his upbringing with military parents, his father having served on active duty and as a dual-status federal technician with the Ohio Army National Guard since 1986. His mother, Wendy, also served in all three components of the Army — active duty, Reserve and National Guard — in a period from 1986 to 1998. It was his father’s previous deployments and full-time technician job that truly brought him into the service.
“I grew up in the armory. (My mom and I) would always bring lunch to him and he would show me around all the helicopter and aviation equipment,” Spc. Lane said. “I got to see a lot of stuff my dad went through. … I realized early on I wanted to join and eventually become a pilot.”
First Sgt. Lane said he is incredibly proud of his son for all that he has accomplished in his military career. As both a father and senior noncommissioned officer, he keeps close tabs on Spc. Lane’s career. One of his proudest moments came after hearing his son had earned his tanker boots (a tradition of the armor branch for Soldiers who qualify as expert, or receive a Q1 score, on their gunnery tables) while deployed.
“Ever since he got out of AIT (advanced individual training), he kept talking about earning his tanker boots. When he called and said he did it, I couldn’t have been more proud,” 1st Sgt. Lane said. “It was cool, aside from the whole ‘being his dad and the emotional type,’ but also as a leader.”
Both of the Lanes credited the advances in technology for easing the burden of their time and distance apart over the last year. Spc. Lane vividly remembers one of his father’s deployments during his childhood and waiting for a phone call once a week. Thankfully when their roles were reversed, he could text and call home almost instantly to talk with his parents.
While Spc. Lane looks forward to beginning the demobilization process (the formal outprocessing that a returning unit completes after a deployment), 1st Sgt. Lane will remain in country as he continues his final assignment overseas.
However, until they part ways for about another year, they plan on spending as much free time together to catch up as father and son.