Father, son bond during deployment

By Sgt. Ann Venturato
13th Corps Support Command Public Affairs Office

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — The bond between father and son is strong, but for a father and son stationed in Tikrit, Iraq; those bonds have grown that much stronger throughout their deployment here. Staff Sgt. Darren C. Saunders and Sgt. Brandon C. Saunders are both transportation coordinators with the 536th Movement Control Team, 49th Transportation Battalion who are serving at Camp Spiecher. They arrived with their unit in Iraq at the end of January from Port St. Lucie, Fla. Initially both had diverse feelings about their upcoming adventure.

"I had mixed emotions ... I was wary of the uncertainties and the unknown," Darren said.

"I felt excited because I was ready to do my part for our freedom," Brandon said.

Darren said he was overwhelmed by the extreme poverty in Iraq.

"After seeing first hand the problems in this country, I realize the gravity of the situation, and I understand why we should be here. Our cause is just," the elder Saunders said.

Brandon had a similar impression the first time he left the safety of his post and saw the countryside.

"It wasn't good ... there was nothing at all in sight when we landed," Brandon said.

With both being transportation coordinators, they sometimes get to go on missions together, but their command doesn't encourage it because of the risks involved with being on the roads. Experience has made them both aware of those risks.

"The most difficult part of my job is meeting people who don't make it back," Darren said.

Providing the latest road conditions information is an essential part of mission safety, something that can save lives in the 536th MCT. Darren said the most enjoyable part of his job is when he is able to forecast a potential problem that saves lives.

While the two worry about convoys going out on the roads, others have different concerns.

"Our family is worried about us both, but they all feel better knowing that we are here together to help each other out," Brandon said.

The two help each other out by being supportive and being there for each other.

"Having to lean on each other, we've become a lot closer," Darren said.

The two have bonded so much that both are planning on a tropical vacation once they have redeployed.

Editor's Note: Sgt. Venturato is a member of the 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office at LSA Anaconda, Balad, Iraq.


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Sgt. Brandon Saunders and his father Staff Sgt. Darren Saunders are stationed together with the 536th Movement Control Team, from Port. St. Lucie, Fla. in Tikrit. (courtesy photo)

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The Saunders — father Staff Sgt. Darren C. Saunder and his son Sgt. Brandon C. Saunders — are both transportation coordinators with the 536th Movement Control Team, stationed in Camp Spiecher. Both said this deployment has brought them closer together. (courtesy photo)