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Serving side by side: a father-daughter duo on deployment

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alexander Frank
  • 378th Air Expeditionary Wing

Oftentimes during a deployment service members think of their life back home. From the sights and sounds of their hometown to remembering the faces and voices of the ones they love. It’s especially true for parents missing their children, or young adults spending time away from friends and family for the first time. As the long weeks and months of a deployment stretch on, the distance from loved ones becomes all the more real. Yet for one Father-daughter duo, the distance from each other is a little less than you’d expect on a typical deployment.

Meet Army Master Sgt. Jason Minyard, and Army 1st Lt. Beth Minyard, a father and daughter serving side by side on deployment at Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB), Saudi Arabia. The Minyards are attached to the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, which is headquartered in Searcy, Ark., and are working with the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing at PSAB. For the Minyards, the opportunity to deploy together gives them a chance to bring a little piece of home overseas.

“Serving with my daughter on this deployment has been a blessing because she gave me the best hugs when I first got here,” said Master Sgt. Minyard. “I realize now that I [have] something that other people don't.”

1st Lt. Minyard, who serves as a finance and contracting officer, knows having her dad with her on deployment is a unique situation. Looking back, she recognizes just how fortunate she is to have someone so important to her by her side for the months ahead.

“It’s been a unique experience that most people don't get to have because you're lucky if you have a friend on a deployment,” said 1st Lt. Minyard. “but I think you're even more fortunate if you have a family member.”

Up until the last minute, the Minyards weren’t sure if they’d be given the go-ahead to deploy together. They worried their family connection would be an issue that would force one of them out of the deployment cycle.

“We were both excited because we were like, ‘that'd be awesome. Probably not, but that'd be awesome,” said 1st Lt. Minyard. “As we got further into the process of trying to move out, it was getting more realistic. Once we finally got to mobilization at Fort Bliss we were like, ‘oh, this is for real’.”

Military service is something of a family legacy for the Minyards. Before Master Sgt. Minyard joined the Army in 2007, his father had served as a military policeman in the Korean War, and his great-uncle served in the Army during World War II. When it came to his daughters, Master Sgt. Minyard recommended the military because of the positive impact it had on his life.

“I encouraged both my girls to join if that was in their interest because of what it has done for me,” said Master Sgt. Minyard. “the Army turned my life around by giving my life structure, discipline, and a sense of self-worth.”

Growing up, 1st Lt. Minyard took a keen interest in just about everything her father did. When it came to joining the Army, the admiration she held for her father and his service was a driving contributor to her own decision to commission.

“I thought it was cool that he was in the Army,” said 1st Lt. Minyard. “We always joke that I'm like the son he didn't have because I was always the one to do what he did."

While deploying together is certainly special, the Minyards also had the chance to celebrate Father’s Day together on June 18th, 2023. For 1st Lt. Minyard, the holiday highlighted how fortunate she felt having her father by her side on a day meant to celebrate Dads.

“It kind of just makes me feel bad for most people who deploy that don't get to be with their fathers, or who have newborn babies or kids that they don't get to see,” said Minyard. “It just makes me really grateful.”

The arrival of Father’s Day has been a reflection point regarding the uniqueness of the Minyards deployment. Reminding them how fortunate they are to celebrate the holiday together even thousands of miles away from home.

“It never hit me until now how privileged I am to have her here for Father’s Day,” said Master Sgt. Minyard.

“It's the best gift he could ever receive on deployment,” replied 1st Lt. Minyard.

Judging by the expression from Master Sgt. Minyard, it’s certainly a Father’s Day and deployment he’s unlikely to forget anytime soon.