SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Being separated from family is a sacrifice that many service members know all too well. One military family, however, was brought together through their service at Scott Air Force Base.
Maj. Stanley Grodrian, the flight commander at the Scott Family Health Clinic, and his son, Senior Airman Nathaniel Grodrian, a contracting specialist with the 375th Contracting Squadron, were reunited in early July when Stanley moved to Scott AFB, a place his son has served for the past four years.
When Nathaniel first joined the Air Force in 2013, he hoped to be stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where his dad was stationed. Instead, he found himself stationed at Scott. Stanley tried to follow, but he was sent over 500 miles away to Pope Field in N.C. and then Maxwell AFB, Ala.
“It always seemed like we were going to be just missing each other, the way that PCS timelines normally work out,” said Stanley. “We were hopeful, always hopeful, and always kept trying to see if it would happen.”
After four years of hoping, Stanley was sent to Scott. He described getting his orders as a “high-five moment” between him and his wife. Nathaniel said he was “very excited” when he heard the good news.
“This is an awesome opportunity to be able to hang out with my dad,” he said.
Part of the reason Stanley and Nathaniel were so happy to be together is that they spent some time apart while Nathaniel was growing up. Because of his deployments, Stanley experienced a few of Nathaniel’s big moments through Skype or, in his early years of service, VHS tapes.
“Nathan celebrated his first birthday while I was in Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm,” said Stanley.
“About two weeks after his birthday, I got a VHS tape with his birthday on it, so I had to find a VHS player in the middle of Saudi Arabia.”
Over 20 years later, Stanley watched Nathaniel’s wedding over Skype.
“I was in Afghanistan when he got married,” said Stanley.
“I ended up being able to Skype in during his wedding at 3 a.m. in Afghanistan. I couldn’t be there, but it was the next best thing.”
Although Stanley spent some time away from home while serving, the military ended up bringing them closer together in more ways than one. Nathaniel said his bond with his father was strengthened when he joined the Air Force.
“It’s something that the two of us can relate very strongly on,” said Nathaniel. “This is something that we’re both very passionate about, and we both take a lot of pride in.”
While they have no way of knowing how much time they have together on Scott, they are looking forward to making the most of this unique opportunity.
“This is our first opportunity to really develop a father/son relationship in a very long time, which is awesome,” said Nathaniel. “I don’t really know how long it’s going to be. Who knows where you’re going to be in a year or two or three? Who knows how long we have?
“So we’re definitely cherishing it while we’re both here.”