CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- It may sound crazy, but Marine 1st Sgt. Steven P. Crawford was looking forward to deploying to Iraq.
After all, it’s not often a father gets to reunite with his daughter in a combat zone.
Crawford was reunited with his stepdaughter, Lance Cpl. Beverly A. Thornhill, at Camp Fallujah where she spent the past seven months.
Crawford had a chance to see his daughter and what she had accomplished when he went to visit a detachment of his Marines there earlier this month.
Thornhill, a 20-year-old embarkation specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 8, just finished up her tour at Camp Fallujah, as her father is just starting his tour here at Camp Taqaddum, a base west of Fallujah.
Although Crawford only spent one day with his daughter, it was not the last time that they would see each other in Iraq. Crawford did not have to leave his own base to see his daughter a second time though.
Thornhill’s last stop on her trip out of Iraq was a layover at Camp Taqaddum where Crawford will be stationed for the next seven months as the company first sergeant for Maintenance Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 15.
For just a few more days the father and daughter had a chance to spend time together before they had to part ways.
For many people, having one person in the military is a big sacrifice. But for this Marine family from Black Mountain, N.C., it’s just another normal day. Mom is also a Marine.
Thornhill’s mother, MSgt. Marguerite F. Crawford, is assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 13 in Yuma, Ariz., and is there now taking care of their youngest daughter, Anna.
Thornhill credits the experience of growing up in a Marine household as the driving force behind her decision to join.
While both parents were stationed at Parris Island, S.C., as drill instructors training Marine recruits, a lot of respect and motivation for the Marine Corps was realized, said Thornhill.
“I used to think ‘Glad that isn’t me getting yelled at’,” said Thornhill as she observed drill instructors putting the pressure on recruits to move faster and get in step.
It wasn’t much longer that she would be one of those recruits getting scolded by someone like her parents.
Less than two years after joining the Marines, Thornhill would be the first in the family to deploy to Iraq.
Both parents gave their daughter an honest insight into what was going on in Iraq, but that did not deter her from joining.
“It was her decision (to become a Marine). I explained everything that went with it, and what the Marines are doing right now, and she made the ultimate decision,” said her father.
Steven is very proud of his daughter. She had all the facts and made a brave decision to join, he said.
While apprehensive about deploying to Iraq at first, Thornhill was ultimately glad she went.
“I was expecting the worst (but) it wasn’t like that so I had a really good deployment,” said Thornhill, now back at Camp Lejeune.
Instead of eating prepackaged meals and living in tents, Thornhill ate at a mess hall and lived in a small, air-conditioned trailer commonly referred to as a ‘can.’
Although life was good aboard the base, Thornhill was also tasked with manning an entry control point into the well-known city of Fallujah.
Her duty for one week out of every month was to check female Iraqis to keep weapons and weapon-making materials from entering the city.
“I’m very proud of her, she’s grown up a lot…she’s done really well,” said Crawford.
It will be awhile before they see each other again stateside, but plans have already been made for the reunion.
Father, and then-21-year-old daughter, will have a cold beer together at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Black Mountain, said Steven.