What better way to experience the joy of Christmas than with the ones you love most? That’s exactly what PFC Bernard, Brandon T. of 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Bravo Company Bulldogs did with MAJ Bernard, Thomas B. of 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron did.
PFC Bernard serves under OIC 1LT Adame, Adam and NCOIC SFC Lee, Fredrick. PFC Bernard currently works at the Tech Control Facility with the rest of his 18 fellow soldiers. MAJ Bernard is an Instructor Pilot with 52nd EFTS at COB Speicher, where the Air Force team is diligently standing up the Iraqi Air Force Pilot Training program.MAJ Bernard’s team is featured in an online news article that can be found at:http://aimpoints.hq.af.mil/display.cfm?id=41959.
MAJ Bernard was inspired to be a pilot at a young age when his father would tell him stories about military aircraft from the Korean war. After pursuing his civilian certifications he joined the Air Force. He realized the best flying was in the military, and he was right. He worked hard during his one year of pilot training and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class, and started his career as a T-38 Instructor were he taught traditional students and other Instructors. After his tour he left the active duty in pursuit of a Reserve career were he again instructed in T-37s and finally the T-6. With all of his Instructor experience he leapt at the opportunity to give back all of that experience afforded him to the new emerging Iraqi Air Force. In true father son tradition, PFC Brandon Bernard joined the Army in support of his country; a ‘chip of the old block’.
The father and son generational fighting team first united when MAJ Bernard took a quick hop from COB Speicher to FOB Warhorse. They enjoyed their time together comparing facilities such as the local DFAC and MWR. Dad had to concede to his son that the FOB Warhorse DFAC was “the greatest DFAC in Southern Iraq!”. PFC Bernard later developed an expert serve as his Dad schooled him in the ways of ping pong (watch out FOB Warhorse warriors!). A Somber moment was also spent at the FOB Warhorse’s honorable memorial wall, where the service of true American hero’s’ were felt by both father and son.
While MAJ Bernard’s humor was able to put a smile on the current warriors of Warhorse , it was he that left with a very positive impression of the sharp team that made up the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Bravo Company Bulldogs . He said he “will never forget the brave young men that unceasingly performed their duty in adverse conditions without wavering.”
“Major Bernard’s visit was a great moral visit on PFC Bernard and the 40thWarhorse team.” said SPC Breaux, Michael of 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. ”He is a great asset to the United States Air Force in doing what he does. Teaching the locals how to fly is a big contribution to Operation New Dawn. Its impressive how he chose this path to take the time and sit down with a qualified Iraqi pilot, and pass his knowledge on to the future of the Iraqi Air Force.” Sais SPC Gines, Yamil. MAJ Bernard was equally impressed with the 40th team at Warhorse.
With Christmas just around the corner, PFC Bernard was granted the opportunity to spend Christmas and Christmas Eve with MAJ Bernard at COB Speicher. The two sat down to down did some catching up that they were not able to do earlier. Of course, after some more ping pong and pool, the Bernard’s than exchanged gifts in the classic Christmas tradition. PFC Bernard got a chance to meet the whole 52nd EFTS and a few of the Iraqi student pilots. “I was extremely impressed with this operation that 52nd has going on. This operation started not long ago with just 2 IP’s and a Lt Col. At this point, now it’s a 12 man Squadron with 15+ T-6’s and Iraqi’s training Iraqi’s.” Said PFC Bernard.
This opportunity granted by LT COL Douglas, Commander of the 40thExpeditionary Signal Battalion and LT COL Stevens, Commander of the 52ndEFTS, was truly in the spirit and tradition that makes the foundation of the United States Armed Services; a tradition evidenced for Operation New Dawn.