Mom, daughter tackle tour in Iraq

Both Walla Walla residents are members of the same National Guard battalion and work in the often high-stress environment of the command post.

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Capt. Carmen Nicely traveled to Contingency Operating Base Speicher to promote her daughter Spc. Christina White from the rank of private first class to specialist.

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq -- Not many soldiers close a conversation with another command post by saying, "Love you, Mom."

That farewell, however, is a familiar one for a mother-daughter duo in the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

Capt. Carmen Nicely and her daughter, Spc. Christina White, both of Walla Walla are in a unique position in Iraq. Both are members of the same National Guard battalion and work in the often high-stress environment of the command post.

White functions as a battle noncommissioned officer for the 3rd Battalion's C Company at Contingency Operating Base Speicher.

Meanwhile, Nicely functions as a battle captain for the battalion Tactical Operations Center situated on JBB.

The two are in contact almost daily, especially when significant acts occur on the roads where 3rd Battalion soldiers escort convoys.

"It is really neat," Nicely said. "I get to say, 'Hey, can you give me an update on a spot report?' Then I can say, 'I'll talk to you later. Love you.'"

The bond between mother and daughter was evident recently when Nicely traveled to COB Speicher to help Christina celebrate another key milestone; her promotion to specialist.

Nicely walked into the command post, stood before her daughter and pulled her rank as a private first class off her Army combat uUniform jacket. She then placed the rank of specialist on and hugged her. Like any parent,

Nicely said she was very proud of her daughter.

"Just to see her face when I walked into the room was worth it," Nicely said. "She is so deserving. I'm happy to be a part of it."

Nicely's arrival at the C Company command post was a surprise to White but a pleasant one, she said.

"Getting to see her is a present in itself," White said. "My mom is like mybest friend."

White comes from a military family. Her mother is a captain and her father is also an officer in the Iowa National Guard. However, White said she wasn't initially interested in the military.

"At first, my opinion of the military was I hated it," she said. "Then, I realized it was something to help me out in the future. It also opened my eyes to diversity."

Nicely said her own experience in the military helped her emotionally when her daughter decided to enlist. Nicely entered the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier before going to Officer Candidate School. She said she was very familiar with the challenges associated with a military career and encouraged her daughter to give her best.

"(The military) has been good for me and I've learned a lot by being a soldier," Nicely said. "Why not try it? Struggle makes people stronger."

Nicely said she can see the positive effect the military made in her daughter's life.

"She's obviously more confident and she has matured very quickly and taking her job seriously," Nicely said.

The fact her mother is on a base in Iraq is not the only unique aspect to White's tour. She is also married to a soldier in C Company. She married Cpl. Thomas White in September, just before the battalion left Oregon for its deployment training. Cpl. White is a truck commander in C Company's 2nd Platoon.

Spc. White said she is happy that both her mother and husband are nearby while she serves her tour in Iraq.

"I don't get a lot of mail," she said. "I don't get a lot because my family is here. My significant other is here and my mom is at a nearby base."

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