Monday, January 09, 2012

Face of Defense: Siblings Reunite in Afghanistan

By Army Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson
Regional Command East

KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Jan. 9, 2012 – Having three deployed members in one family would seem unlikely; however, for the Hale family, it’s a reality. With a little help, they were able to reconnect after a four-year separation at Forward Operating Base Salerno Jan. 6.

Army Capt. Rikki Salyers of the Indiana National Guard’s 4-19th Agribusiness Development Team and her two stepbrothers -- Army Sgt. Nicholaus A. Hale, a squad leader with the 25th Infantry Division’s C Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and Army Sgt. Adam M. Hale, an infantryman with the 172nd Infantry Brigade’s B Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment -- came to the attention of Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, commander of Regional Command East, when their father reached out to him.

Though they are step-siblings, Salyers, a native of Oxford, Ind., doesn’t make that distinction.

“Technically they’re my step-brothers, but I’ve never considered them [that],” said Salyers, who works with the Women’s Outreach Program at Forward Operating Base Salerno. “We’ve been together since I was in fourth grade, so they are my brothers.”

The last time the siblings were united was four years ago, Salyers said.

“Our parents flew us in to Arkansas,” she said. “That was our Christmas present. We actually got to come together for a family Christmas and get some pictures, so it was a really good time.”

Nicholaus, serving at Combat Outpost Mizan, said his father was instrumental in getting the three of them together by way of an email to Allyn.

Adam serves at Combat Outpost Zerok. As the last of the siblings to join the Army, he talked to his brother about going to see him during this deployment. However, no plans were ever actually made.

“It was a pretty new development.” Adam said. “I feel pretty excited. I haven’t seen my brother or sister for a few years so it’s pretty cool to see them over here.”

After the three reunited, they spent the evening reminiscing about old times and shared a few laughs.

“Just to be able to be with family here in Afghanistan is kind of surreal,” Sayers said. “To me, family is everything, so it makes it all worth it with us being here and what we’re doing.”

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