Face of Defense: Sister, Brother Reunite in Iraq
By Army Master Sgt. Rich Kemp
Special to American Forces Press Service
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq, Aug. 24, 2009 Deployments usually separate soldiers from their families. However, for one “Red Bull” soldier, it provided the chance to reunite with her brother.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heath Wieseler catches up on old times with his sister, Army Sgt. Andrea Wieseler, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter on Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, Aug. 13, 2009. The siblings spent a few days together after not seeing each other for more than two years. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Rich Kemp
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Sgt. Andrea Wieseler, a telecommunications sergeant with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, hadn’t seen her brother, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Heath Wieseler, in more than two years. Heath, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot, is deployed here with the 10th Mountain Division’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.
Andrea’s supervisors allowed her to take some time to meet up with her brother. “I have been waiting for this since the day I arrived in Iraq,” she said.
Although Heath knew there would be a possibility Andrea would get the opportunity to come up and see him, she surprised him early. He was on a mission to drop off passengers at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. At the last moment, he was informed he was to pick up passengers to take back to Speicher, not knowing one of those passengers was his sister.
After Heath landed the helicopter here, they greeted each other with a hug and the emotions started to flow.
“It caught me by surprise when I looked back to see her get on the helicopter,” the pilot said. The siblings were able to spend a few days to catch up on old times and have some great laughs.
“Everything worked out perfect,” Andrea said. “I was so happy to have him pick me up in his helicopter; he is a real hero to me.”
Heath has traveled a lot in his 16 years of active duty. Military training and travel have prevented him from returning to his hometown of Howard Lake, Minn., to see his family.
“It was so great to have Andrea around,” he said. “It was nice to be with family -- someone you can share common things and talk about family back in Minnesota.”
The two of them spent time talking, laughing and sharing events of the past two years. Heath talked about his wife, Geri, and sons, Tyler and Trevor, while Andrea shared her experiences of the deployment so far and the friendships she has made.
“I was so excited; it was a dream come true,” Andrea said. “I waited a long time for this.”
(Army Master Sgt. Rich Kemp serves in Multinational Division South.)