SOUTHWEST ASIA --
The varied missions of the United States military are not unfamiliar to obstacles. Vehicles and aircraft break, contingencies change, and we are constantly adapting to challenges like these. Demonstrably, one father here, Maj. Bret Peters, the 737th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron assistant director of operations and a C-130 Hercules navigator, was not going to let any challenge prevent him from his mission Friday. He was going to commission his daughter by any means possible.
Now a newly minted second lieutenant, Brittany Peters was set to graduate the ROTC program at the University of North Carolina, and commission into the North Carolina Army National Guard. While deployed to Southwest Asia, Major Peters made sure he had the technology to swear-in his daughter, via video teleconference, live streaming at the class graduation and swearing in ceremony.
“I just hope this connection doesn’t drop.” said Maj. Peters, while tenuously staring at the cellphone that connected him to his daughter, from nearly seven thousand miles away. “If it does, I hope they have a cadet monitoring it for when I try and call back.”
Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will. During the beginning of the ceremony, right after the national anthem, and when the class commander started his address to the cadets, the connection was lost. Maj. Peters immediately sprang into action.
Feverishly, he refreshed his internet connection, and redialed his daughter’s video chat account over and over. He was repeatedly texting his wife and any other family at the ceremony, to explain what happened and that someone needed to answer the call.
Finally…“Sir, can you hear me?”
His daughter’s voice called to him from the laptop. Cadet Brittany Peters was front and center on the monitor, ready to take her oath of office. Maj. Peters greeted the class, and all attending, then centered himself in front of the American flag behind him and instructed his daughter, “Please raise your right hand and repeat after me.”
After taking her oath, her commanding officer asked the new lieutenant if she wished to say anything to her father.
She spoke her first sentence as a commissioned officer.
“Thank you daddy…I love you,” said 2nd Lt. Peters.
Maj. Peters returned the sentiment to his daughter, said goodbye, and disconnected the call. A swell of pride came over him, then a sigh of relief.
“Wow, that was a close call.” said Maj. Peters. “I’m just glad I could be there for her, even though I couldn’t be there.”
This relief was that of a father supporting his daughter as she began a military career, and an officer commissioning a cadet that he knew better than any other person he had served with.
Maj. Peters accomplished the roles he had in his mission on that day; as a father, and as an officer.