Face of Defense: Father, Son Serve in Afghanistan
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Oshawn Jefferson
U.S. Air Forces Central
CAMP BASTION, Afghanistan, April 20, 2010 An Afghan National Army Air Corps C-27A Spartan cargo aircraft took off from Kabul International Airport to conduct an International Security Assistance Force mission transporting weapons and cargo for Afghan National Police.
Marine Corps 1st Lt. Benjamin Boera, left, and his father, Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael R. Boera, share a laugh aboard an Afghan National Army Air Corps C-27A Spartan aircraft March 28, 2010, at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel J. Martinez
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Corps 1st Lt. Benjamin Boera, a 5th Battalion 11th Marines High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Tango Battery platoon commander here, watched the cargo plane land. He swelled up with pride, because one of the pilots on the mission was his father, Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael R. Boera, commander of the NATO training mission’s Combined Air Power Transition Force and the U.S. Air Force’s 438th Air Expeditionary Wing.
As the aircraft taxied on the flightline, the general greeted his son with a wave and a smile from the cockpit, and his son returned the greeting.
As the doors of the C-27 opened, Lieutenant Boera entered the aircraft and said something he has uttered countless times: "Hey, Dad." His father answered, "How you doing, Ben?" The Boeras are on the front lines of transition and kinetic operations in Afghanistan.
Since September, General Boera has led a joint and combined organization to mentor, train and to assist Afghan aviation units. He conducts strategic-level coordination with U.S. Central Command, ISAF, and Afghan defense and interior ministry officials to develop the presidential airlift, battlefield mobility, attack, command and control, counter-narcotics, police aviation, security and reconnaissance capabilities of the Afghan air forces.
Lieutenant Boera, deployed from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., in January. His unit has been an active participant in Operation Moshtarek, a NATO-Afghan offensive involving 15,000 Afghan, Canadian, American and British troops. His platoon directly supports the 1st Marine Division and provisional rifle companies with artillery.
But for a few moments, it was just a parent catching up with his son. The general introduced his son to the aircrew, and they talked.
"So this is the C-27," Lieutenant Boera said. "Is this the first operational mission?"
"No, that was a couple of days ago," General Boera said. "We have an Afghan airman getting his check ride, and we are delivering weapons for some of the Afghan police here."
The Marine lieutenant and the Air Force general drove off to share some private time, now just father and son, before returning to the flightline to the waiting C-27.
"I am proud of you,” General Boera said to his son. “Keep up the good work and stand tall."