|CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq, Sept. 13, 2006 — Christmas time came early for a soldier and his mother, who are both currently serving in Iraq.
Sgt. Robert Soto, a multiple-launch rocket system repairman with 67th Forward Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, Fires Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, who manages the maintenance team for Battery A, 2-20 FA’s MLRS fleet, visited his mother, Paula Nord, who serves as a transportation operations coordinator for Kellogg, Brown and Root at Forward Operating Base Scania, Multi-National Division – South, while on a mission with his unit Sept. 3.
While Soto, a 14-year Army veteran, is currently assigned to Camp Liberty on his second tour in Iraq, his mom, Paula, has been at Scania since October 2003.
“She can close her eyes and tell you where everything is on this base,” chuckled Soto, as mother and son playfully heckled each other.
When Nord first arrived at Scania, Soto was nearing the end of his first tour of duty in Iraq. One day in mid-December 2003, she received a pleasant surprise – a phone call from her youngest son, who was serving in Camp Taji.
“And the next thing I knew, my camp manager told me that we had a business trip to go to Taji, so I got to see my kid for Christmas for a couple of days,” beamed Nord.
As fate would have it, the two Chicago natives reunited for another Christmas in 2005 when Soto stopped off at Scania on a convoy from Kuwait to Baghdad as he began his second tour in Iraq.
“I’ve seen my mom in Iraq for two Christmas seasons,” said Soto, with a wide, toothy grin. “So, we basically have lucked out in seeing each other.”
“It was definitely the best Christmas present I could get – to see my son over Christmas,” said Nord.
Shortly after her son deployed in 2003, Nord joined friends in applying to work overseas with Kellogg, Brown and Root but said she didn’t think she would get hired. Much to her surprise, she was called to service a few months later.
“I’ve asked her to come home many times, but I’m the son,” said Soto, with a chuckle.
But this doesn’t stop him from worrying about his mom’s safety.
“I worry about her being over here every single day, and I tell her that she’s the most important thing in my life,” he said. “But this is what she chose, and this is what she likes to do.”