One of the best things to ever happen to First Sergeant Patrick Thomas and Private Tyler Thomas’ father-son relationship has been a recent deployment Iraq, where both are currently working as part of Operation New Dawn. Talk about a family vacation.

The Thomas family has a strong heritage of Army service. Patrick’s dad (and Tyler’s grandpa) was a Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted grade in the Army. With that in mind, it probably makes sense that Patrick would describe his and son Tyler’s relationship as “the typical father and son relationship,” even though he was deployed during Tyler’s birth during Operation Desert Shield and has admittedly spent a lot of time away from home working the kind of long hours the military is known for. When your dad is a career Army dude, this is probably how you think of “the typical father and son relationship.”

Tyler reflects on growing up in an Army family: “We didn’t have much of a Family life because he was probably deployed every year and a half. Looking back, it seems like he was gone more than he was home, on either a deployment or just being at work before I woke up.”

The two men are now making up for lost time in Iraq, and connecting better than ever.

Here’s one of the examples I mentioned earlier in my original Daddies Away! post about dads who are out there making it work, even though the conditions for parenting aren’t ideal. Patrick Thomas understands soldiers, and spends a lot of time taking care of soldiers. Sometimes (especially during a deployment) that means spending more times around soldiers than family. Sometimes, a soldier’s parenting techniques adjust to more reflect taking care of soldiers than the traditional method of fatherhood.

No problem. Sometimes that’s how it works out, and now that Tyler is a soldier himself, he’s finding it easier to connect with his dad – and even spend some good quality time together in the desert. For what it’s worth, I say that’s a good thing.

Sauce: Army.mil

For more info about the “Daddies Away!” feature and also the boring (but excrutiatingly important) legal blurb, check out this link.