|BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, July 3, 2007 — Most parents never know what life is like for their children at a deployed location, but for Senior Airman Vincent Lopez, an A-10 weapons loader, his parents have firsthand knowledge on life here.
Lopez’s father and stepmother are deployed here with him, working for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.
The Lopez family is from El Paso, Texas, and Lopez’s parents work for AAFES in Dallas. Tony and Julia Lopez were deploying to another location in Afghanistan when they were redirected mid-flight to Bagram.
Lopez had no idea his parents were here until he got an e-mail message from his father telling him simply, “Hey, guess what? I’m here at Bagram.”
Lopez headed to the Base Exchange as quickly as possible, talked to the employees and arranged a meeting with his dad.
“To be honest, this is the last place I’d ever think I’d see them,” said Vincent.
Although their schedules are challenging to coordinate, they meet at least once a week at the BX or for meals where they can catch up on each other’s experiences.
“It’s a relief for my parents to know that I’m doing ok and it’s really a unique experience for all of us,” said a smiling Vincent.
Who has the tougher assignment is up for debate, but the Lopez parents will be here for a year, while their son may be here six months. As AAFES employees, Tony and Julia follow the same rules as servicemembers, working long hours. Tony insists his son has the more challenging assignment.