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Iraq: Like father like son

CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq Service members from all over the United States deploy to locations around the world leaving their family behind to fight for their country. For one Marine, deploying to Iraq actually meant reuniting with his father.


3/29/2008 By Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson, Multi National Force - West

Representing two generations of warriors, Lance Cpl. Nathan O. Nail, a scout team leader with Security Platoon, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, and his father Harry A. Nail, a police advisor with International Police Advisory, reunited here March 28.

“I feel exhilarated knowing that I am stationed with my son,” said Harry, 56, from Prattville, Ala. “I knew he was going to come to Iraq, so I wanted to be at the same place he would be.”

Nathan hasn’t seen his dad since December 2007. After that, his dad deployed to Iraq to assist the Iraqi Highway Patrol with his law enforcement knowledge.

The 20-year-old from Oxford, Ala., deployed to Iraq March 18 with 2nd LAR knowing that his dad would be here waiting.

“It’s comforting to know that I have my dad here with me,” said Nathan. “I know that I will always have a person I could talk to anytime,”

Harry requested to work in Korean Village because of Nathan’s upcoming deployment. Within a week of Nathan’s arrival here, his dad ran to the flight line every time he heard a helicopter.

“The feeling of being able to see my son again in a war zone was exciting,” said Harry, 56. “I was just so happy and over-joyed to see him.”

Nathan was raised by an Alabama State Trooper and a U.S. Army soldier all in one man: his dad. Even through his parents divorced when he was young, Nathan and his dad kept a bond that nobody could break while Nathan split time with his parents.

The men have been through everything together, from working through the hard stresses of divorce to Nathan dressing up in his dad’s uniforms and playing. Being in Iraq together is just building on their relationship.

“It’s awesome to have both (of us) here because he and I will have an understanding of what Iraq is like and what we do for our country,” said Nathan.

The two warriors continue to see each other every day as many times as they can. Every single time he glanced at his son, Harry couldn’t stop smiling, knowing the fact he Nathan is safe.

He is one of the main reasons I wanted to come out here and train the Iraqi police,” Harry said. “I’m extremely proud of him.”

He concluded, “It was one of the proudest moments of my life to see him graduate and become a Marine.”