Mother, daughter find unity in AOR
By Senior Airman Rachelle Elsea, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 01, 2011
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- While serving as a first term enlisted Airmen in RAF Bentwaters, England, from 1987-89 Capt. Greta Lewis, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs officer, gave birth to her first child, Senior Airman Crystal Griffin, 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Little did they know 23 years later mother and daughter would be serving the Air Force simultaneously in the Area of Responsibility.
Growing up in Mobile, Ala., Captain Lewis had a small taste of the military lifestyle due to her brothers who spent a few years fighting for freedom. When it came time for her to choose a career path, joining the service seemed to be the natural choice.
"I joined the Air Force during my senior year of high school," said Captain Lewis. "I was being kind of rebellious - I was supposed to go to college; I wanted to go to Alabama A&M, but my mom wanted me to go to a school in town. We couldn't come to a compromise, so I joined the Air Force."
Captain Lewis said she chose the Air Force to honor her older brother who had passed away.
She began her journey as a Communications troop. Her second assignment lead her to Falcon, now known as Schriever Air Force Base, in Colorado Springs.
"I was pregnant with my second child there and got out when my enlistment ended," said Captain Lewis. "I went home to Mobile, and joined a reserve unit on Keesler Air Force Base not long after my son was born."
She stayed there for two to three years, and then moved to New York and joined the unit she serves with now. She has been at the 174th for almost 18 years.
Within the last few years, the Captain received her commission and cross-trained into Public Affairs.
In 2008, her daughter made the decision to follow in her mother's footsteps, and enlisted in the active duty Air Force. She said she wanted to see the world and go to school.
Shortly after joining, she married an Airman in the same career-field as her father - AMMO.
Over the past few years, the military has taken them on separate adventures but, now they both find themselves deployed.
"It's surreal," said Captain Lewis. "She deployed last year, and although she has a good head on her shoulders, the mom side of me kicks in and I just pray that she is okay. Even though I'm in the AOR during the same time-frame, I tend to worry more about her than myself."
Recently, they had the opportunity to reunite and visit one another.
"I was so excited," said Captain Lewis. "I was like a little kid at Christmas time waiting for Santa to climb down the chimney. I know that's a silly description, but that's how I felt."
Sadly, their time was limited together.
"It was overwhelming," said Airman Griffin. "We went to the Bra, Dairy Queen and the Zinc."
Captain Lewis said they mostly hung-out, talked and got some updates on one another's lives.
"She is taking classes right now," said Captain Lewis. "I would love to see her to pursue a commission. More importantly, I want her to pursue what she wants."
Airman Griffin agreed that her main goal was to earn a degree but she wasn't sure what path she wants her career to take in the future.
"I'm very proud of my daughter and what she contributes to the military," said Captain Lewis. "Her job is very important to the forward deployment of other Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines."
Although this may have been the only time they will see each other while in the AOR, both are comforted by the fact that they are both fighting the same battle and doing their best to honor their country.