Like father, like son: serving their country together

3 Aug 2002 | Sgt. Brian J. Griffin 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

For Chief Warrent Officer 2 Armando Garcia, Battalion Landing Team 3/1 Gunner, taking his son on a six-month deployment with him never crossed his mind. At least not until the Marine Corps sent both his son, Cpl. Armando Garcia, and him to BLT 3/1, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). Now the father and son team are traveling the world together, just on different ships."I see deploying together as being something unique, out of the ordinary and a great opportunity for me and my son," said Chief Warrent Officer 2 Garcia, aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3). "We had to leave our family back in San Diego, but at every port, we reunite with each other. It is just like having a piece of home wherever we are."Cpl. Garcia, who lives on the USS Denver (LPD-9), understands the deployment with his father is something not many people get to experience."My dad and I went out and had dinner while out on liberty in Singapore," Cpl. Garcia said. "How many people can say that?" Both father and son also point out the fact they get to watch over one another and make sure each stays safe."I'm concerned at times from the parent standpoint, but I know the training provided has prepared him for anything, and that puts me at ease," CWO-2 Garcia said.Worry not only falls on the father's shoulders, but also the son's, who has the same concerns about his father."Of course I naturally worry about him because he's my father, but I know he can take care of himself and he knows I can take care of myself," Cpl. Garcia said. "It does make me more comfortable though."Sgt. Jose Bernal, a friend of the family also on the deployment, sees this as a good experience for the Garcias, and is also slightly envious of their opportunity to deploy together."One of the best parts must be they don't have to worry about each other as much," Bernal said. "They know almost exactly what the other is doing because they are with each other, just on different ships. Seeing them together makes me wish I had my dad here also."Traveling the world as a father and son team is a rare experience for Marines, and the Garcias know it. They are looking forward to future stops and spending time together."I'm looking forward to visiting other places in the world with my dad," Cpl. Garcia said. "This is really something not many other people can say they have done."His dad couldn't agree with him more, as he looks forward to spending time together with his son on deployment. Then when the deployment is over, he looks forward going home together to tell stories about his once in a lifetime opportunity to have his son on deployment with him."I'm glad we're here together. This is a great opportunity for both of us," Cheis Warrent Officer 2 Garcia said. "We are looking forward to a safe return together back to the States."

Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

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Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarrĀ enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit