KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Overcast skies, mud and the threat of rain could not keep the smiles from the faces of Army Spc. Josh Hansbrough and his father Danny Hansbrough on Feb. 21 in Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
Deployed service members celebrate birthdays while deployed every day. Most are uneventful with no special parties or celebrations. However, Spc. Hansbrough’s 21st birthday was made special through the efforts of many and a little luck.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Danny Hansbrough said.
The elder Hansbrough is a Department of Defense contractor with a Tampa, Fla.-based communications firm. As the company’s corporate security manager, he travels to various military posts around the world performing checks on the company’s systems in use by the DoD.
“My visit to KAF kept getting pushed back,” he said. “This trip just so happened to line up with Josh’s birthday, and his command let him come here to celebrate with me.”
When Spc. Hansbrough’s friends found out that his dad may be traveling to Afghanistan on his birthday, they made their chain of command aware of the opportunity. Once dates had been verified, Hansbrough’s command arranged for him to travel from Forward Operating Base Smart to KAF so he could celebrate with his father.
Hansbrough, a cavalry scout assigned to Apache Troop, 5th Squadron, 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, broke family tradition when he joined the army in 2009. His father, uncle and grandfather all served in the Air Force.
“I was actually signed up to go into the Air Force,” Hansbrough said. “They kept telling me they didn’t have a job for me. So, after six months I went to a job fair and talked to the Army recruiter. I had a job the same day.
“I originally wanted to be infantry. Then the recruiter showed me a couple of videos, one of which was for cav (cavalry) scout, and after seeing it I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” he said.
Although he strayed from the Air Force tradition, Hansbrough’s father said he couldn’t be more proud of his son’s decision to serve.
The specialist said friends back home already are planning a welcome home party for him, but for now, being able to spend time with his dad while deployed is more than he could have hoped for.