169th Fighter Wing
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - For those brief moments, they weren’t serving in a land far from home. It’s just a mother and her son. Never mind the hospital setting where she works, the scrubs, or his fatigues, because right now it’s just a mother and her son.
Army Maj. Elizabeth Nance cherished the moment with her son, Marine Corps Capt. Wilson Nance. Official business brought him to Kandahar Airfield where his mother is deployed, seeing her was high on his things to do list.
“There are a lot of reasons to come here, but she is an important one,” Capt. Nance said of visiting his mother. “Most people do a double take when I tell them that my mom is deployed out here. In fact, one person said, ‘What does that mean?’ as the individual thought I was talking in some kind of slang because it does not register in peoples’ minds that mother and son deploy at the same time.”
Sometimes even Capt. Nance gets tripped up by it.
“It feels really weird to say my mom is in Afghanistan,” Capt. Nance said.
At the hospital here at Kandahar Airfield, the two shared a few moments together and caught up. Maj. Nance is a dental officer assigned here, and Capt. Nance came in from Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province where he is deployed with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) as an intelligence officer.
Maj. Nance is a member of the Virginia Army National Guard, which she joined in 2009 in the midst of a successful career as a dentist. She said she saw the need and wanted to serve.
Military service runs deep in their family. Capt. Nance received his commission in 2006 after his graduation from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. His service inspired a family to follow in his footsteps including his mother, a younger brother who is a Marine pilot currently training in Florida, and brother-in-law in the Virginia Army National Guard.
Capt. Nance said his mother has always had a soft spot for military members. He relayed a story of a time, when at an airport traveling for vacation, she hugged Soldiers passing through that had just completed basic training.
“I love being here,” Maj. Nance said of her deployment. “These Soldiers are amazing kids full of class and maturity.”
She deployed the day after Mother’s Day, while her son has been in Afghanistan since the end of February. This is her first deployment and his second to Afghanistan. Like any mother, her heart goes out to the service members here.
“I treat these Soldiers the way I want someone to treat my son,” she said.
This visit will be the last time they see each other before their next reunion at home in Virginia. She returns from the deployment in the coming weeks and he leaves a few weeks later. Until then they have the memories of those few short hours together in Kandahar as mother and son to carry them to their next time together.