December 28th, 2016 10:41 EST
Army Father, Daughter Celebrate Holidays in Afghanistan
When we think of family holiday gatherings, we often think of a decorated mantle and crackling fireplace, or perhaps the planes, trains and automobiles people take in order to come together.
In this case, one father-daughter duo, both active-duty soldiers, planned their special meeting around battlefield rotator schedules -- military aircraft circulating around Afghanistan -- and at least one of them donned protective gear in preparation for the 48 hours they got to spend together at Resolute Support mission headquarters here.
Army Pfc. Kathryn Davis-Rice, a 26-year-old combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop 4th Squadron, 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment based out of Fort Hood, Texas, is stationed at Forward Operating Base Fenty near Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Davis-Rice`s father, Army Lt. Col. John J. Dismer, is a member of a special team called "AFPAK Hands," meaning he has special training related to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is a senior advisor for strategic communication to the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan, stationed at Resolute Support headquarters.
On Thanksgiving, Dismer was able to travel to FOB Fenty to see Davis-Rice, and in mid-December, his daughter was able to visit him at Resolute Support in return.
The Dismers are an Army family. Dismer has a brother, Col. Paul Dismer, currently serving, and their father, John D. Dismer, served as well. Dismer`s son, John S. Dismer, currently serves in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). In Iraq in 2008, Davis-Rice`s then-boyfriend, who now is her husband-- served in the same unit as Dismer.
While her father has deployed multiple times over the course of his 20-plus-year career, Davis-Rice graduated from training in March, embarking on her first deployment in Afghanistan a mere month later.
A broad smile rarely leaves her face as she describes her experience.
"FOB Fenty has been a very nice deployment," Davis-Rice said. "I was expecting to fear for my life on a daily basis, and that`s not been the case. I have excellent leadership, and have been working with some of the best people that I can, seeing great coordination. ... It`s not been anything like I imagined."
Dismer said he was proud when both his son and his daughter joined the Army, and then he noticed his feelings became a bit more nuanced when his children were stationed in combat zones.
"It`s interesting hearing it from that side," Dismer said of his daughter`s experience. "As a soldier and a dad, I see two different sides of the coin. I appreciate both perspectives. When she says she doesn`t get to go outside the base on missions very often, as a dad I am glad. But as a soldier, I understand that she wants to do her job."
Davis-Rice again expressed gratitude for her current assignment and the unit she is serving with. "There are so many great people in my company," she said. "I`m really lucky to be with the 3rd CR. I was nervous to deploy when I was so new to the unit, but I`m seeing that it`s true that you make some of your best friends in the military. I care as much about my comrades as I do about my family."
Photo Credit: Wikipedia