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Gunnery Sgt. Darrell Dorsey, the squadron gunnery sergeant of Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), and his step-son, Lance Cpl. Andre Jackson, an operations clerk with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), stand in front of an UH-1N Huey helicopter. The two Marines have not seen each other since Jackson’s graduation from Marine Corps boot camp in April, 2007. “I knew we would both be in Iraq at the same time,” Jackson said. “But I had no idea we would be on the same base together.”

Photo by Sgt. Lukas Atwell

Father, son share service aboard al-Asad

24 Apr 2008 | Sgt. Lukas Atwell

When Lance Cpl. Andre Jackson deployed, he knew his step-father would also be somewhere in Iraq, but he had no idea he would be working on the same base, let alone the same street.

Jackson, an operations clerk with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), reunited here with his father, Gunnery Sgt. Darrell Dorsey, the squadron gunnery sergeant of Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167, 3rd MAW (Fwd.), for the first time since his graduation from boot camp in April 2007.

"I surprised him when he got here," explained Dorsey, a Fort Worth, Texas native. "I walked into his squadron’s headquarters building and saw him walking down the hall toward me. He walked right past me at first. He definitely didn’t expect to see me here."

Dorsey isn’t the only one in his family with the power to surprise. Less than two years ago, Jackson had a surprise of his own for his step-father.

"I was on my second deployment when my wife said that I needed to call Andre," Dorsey said. "When I called him, he was at a hotel, waiting to swear into the Marines at the (Military Entrance Processing Station)."

Having a father in the Marine Corps made the choice to join an easy one, Jackson said.

"We both love football and playing video games," Jackson said. "I thought this could be one more thing we could share."

Being on deployment together also gives the Marines a chance to catch a glimpse of each other’s military life, said Dorsey, whose son will be present at his reenlistment here in June.

"I know some of his leaders and get to hear what they have to say about his work ethic," Dorsey added. "It makes me very proud of him. Living together and watching him grow up was great, but to be here, making history together is very meaningful to me."

For two Marines who have shared so much of their lives, the two plan to catch up on a few more things when they both return home.

"We are going to Disney World when we get back," Dorsey said. "And maybe we will also get to go to our first professional football game together."


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing