Staff Sgt. Eric Campbell had planned to retire from the Maine Air National Guard this year, but decided to extend his service until 2022 so that he could deploy with his son, Senior Airman Noah Campbell, to Southeast Asia. Where is.
The two men work full-time as firefighters at Bangor International Airport and volunteer with the Hermon Fire Department, which serves the city where they live.
They will deploy in about two weeks with the 101st Air Refueling Wing.
Hermon city officials on Wednesday presented the father and son team with a two-star flag that will be hung on the door of their home while they are deployed. An identical flag hangs from a window of the Hermon Public Safety Building on Billings Road and will remain there until they return.
“I was due to retire in June,” said Eric Campbell, 45. “But I said I would extend my engagement for another year if we could go together. It will be a once in a lifetime experience.
There’s another downside to their going overseas together – they must be back on May 7 when Mackenzie Campbell, 21, Noah Campbell’s sister, graduates from the nursing program at the ‘Husson University.
Her father said they were due to go home in April and could attend the graduation ceremony.
This will be the fifth deployment for the oldest firefighter and the first for his son.
“I don’t know what to expect but I can’t wait to be there,” said Noah Campbell, 23.
Presenting the men with the Blue Star flag, Hermon City Manager Howard Kroll, a member of the US Navy Reserve, said it was “rare” for servicemen who are linked to serve in the same. unit and are deployed together because family members typically do not perform the same tasks in the same units.
“We couldn’t be more proud of them,” Kroll said. “They will represent not only the community, but also their family of firefighters. We wish them good luck. “
Father and son couldn’t say exactly where they would be stationed, but Eric Campbell could tell they would be at a military base in Southwest Asia handling many of the same types of emergencies they deal with at BIA. – medical, structural and aerial.
“This will give Noah the opportunity to work and train with other firefighters across the country,” said Eric Campbell. “During his time abroad, he will gain more skills and knowledge than he can use at home. “
The blue star banner The tradition was started during World War I by a father who had two sons who fought in the conflict called “the war to end all wars”.
The elder Campbell said he plans to give the Blue Flag with a star that hung on his door during his last deployment to Qatar in 2018 to his son, who wants to give it to his girlfriend for him to see. ‘hangs on one of its windows.