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386th AEW command chief receives a special Father’s Day gift

Staff Sgt. Kevin Welch, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project manager, and Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, pose for a photo June 12, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The father and son serve as reservists for the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

Staff Sgt. Kevin Welch, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project manager, and Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, pose for a photo June 12, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The father and son serve as reservists for the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

Staff Sgt. Kevin Welch, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project manager, inspects the rebar reinforcement for a sidewalk construction project, June 15, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. His father, Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, is now deployed to the same location.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

Staff Sgt. Kevin Welch, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project manager, inspects the rebar reinforcement for a sidewalk construction project, June 15, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. His father, Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, is now deployed to the same location. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, speaks during an enlisted all-call, held June 12, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The command chief succeeded Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Pachasa and hails from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, speaks during an enlisted all-call, held June 12, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The command chief succeeded Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Pachasa and hails from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- When a family member gets tasked with a deployment, one of the most difficult things to do is say goodbye to his or her loved ones.

With Father’s Day quickly approaching, this ‘good-bye’ was made just a little more difficult as Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, embraced his family, passed through security, and boarded the aircraft that would bring him to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

While it was difficult leaving a wife and children behind in the United States, the chief found a bit of solace the moment he touched the ground.

As Welch disembarked the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, he was greeted by his son, who also serves here at the Rock – Staff Sgt. Kevin Welch, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron project manager.

The father and son, both Reserve Citizen Airmen at the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., expressed how uncommon, but fortunate, their current situation is.

“It’s not often a father gets the chance to serve with his son,” said the Chief Master Sgt. “But to have the chance to see and spend time with him, especially in a deployed environment – well that’s something special.”

The command chief mentioned how easy it is to miss opportunities to spend quality time with Kevin, considering he has been deployed to the CENTCOM AOR as a civil engineer since late 2017. Kevin mentioned that although their time together will only span a month, it is something he has been looking forward to his entire deployment.

“I didn’t get a chance to spend many holidays with my family last year,” Kevin said. “Having this opportunity, especially this close to Father’s Day, could not have been timed any more perfectly.”

While he hasn’t found the perfect gift to give his dad quite yet, Kevin did say he’s been providing the gift of insight. Whether it is showing his father the best place to eat, the right people to speak to when issues arise, or telling him the best deployment tips specific to their location – Kevin said it is a nice change-of-pace to be the one providing bits of advice.

“If I could only impart one piece of wisdom to my father during this deployment, it would be to ensure you take your off days and really make them yours,” Kevin said. “The deployment can be a grind, and the mission is demanding. I can only imagine the workload for a command chief – so I’ve told him to treat the deployment as a marathon, and not a sprint.”

While Kevin’s deployment is coming to an end, he is embarking on a new path in life. The command chief said his son will be attending the prestigious architecture studies program at the University of Illinois this fall semester, and couldn’t be more proud of his son.

"I'm happy my deployment is almost over, but it's never fun leaving family behind," said Kevin. "It was only a short time ago I said good bye to my family, and now I'm saying good bye yet again. I'm looking forward to the next time I see my father – because next time, I'll be welcoming him home."

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