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Who Fights This War? A Father and a Son

It’s a very proud Dad who has a child that follows him into his profession, so Sgt. First Class Gary Williard of Delta Company, Task Force Diablo, is a doubly proud man. Williard has two professions and each of his two sons has chosen to follow Dad into one of those professions. Williard is a retired police officer and Army National Guard aircraft maintenance platoon sergeant. His older son, Gary Jr., joined the Tower City police force where Dad retired in 2006 as chief of police. His younger son is Sgt. Joshua Williard, of Bravo Company, 628th Aviation Support Battalion. Joshua worked in the next hangar over from Dad during much of the deployment and is currently completing his deployment with final processing in America.

“I pinned on Joshua’s sergeant stripes when he got promoted here on August 27,” said Gary Sr. “That was quite a moment for me.” Joshua said he plans on a career in aviation maintenance with the Army National Guard.

The Williards are a close family. Gary Sr. and Joshua managed to get the same day off, Friday, through most of last summer here in Iraq. They watched bow hunting and deer hunting videos and football together on their day off. Gary Jr. worked for his Dad for five years in the Tower City police department before moving to the Pennsylvania State Police where he has worked for seven years. Williard and his wife Dina ran an automotive repair business together. Now they have apartments which they rent. “Dina runs the apartments while I am away,” said Williard. “With Joshua and I deployed and Gary Jr. busy with work she’ll be very happy for us to come home.”

Gary Sr. began his military career in 1976 as a prop and rotor mechanic for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and remained with the Guard through his entire career. He had an eight-year break in service from 1982-90 and after returning to the Guard has worked in maintenance on many aircraft. Gary Sr. previously deployed in 2003-4 to Kuwait in both aviation maintenance and security roles. “Even on deployment, I was still a cop,” said Williard.