AKRON, Ohio -- Air Force Staff Sgt. Derek Allen has been serving in Afghanistan for nearly four months.
But during his first tour to the country, the Akron native got a bit of surprise – just in time for the holidays.
“That little taste of home is always great,” Derek said. “Everybody loves care packages and everybody loves getting grandma`s treats in the mail during the holidays. But this was the best gift.”
Derek, 27, is a member of the A-10 Phase Inspection team for the Air Force.
This month, his team helped protect an Army unit under attack. Derek later learned that his younger brother, U.S. Army Cpl. Greg Allen, was among those saved.
The two have been serving separate military tours in the country, but have not seen each other since Thanksgiving 2009.
As a special holiday treat, the Air Force and U.S. Army worked to reunite the brothers.
“When I first saw him, I know he didn't see me standing there, so I was just like come on man, look over here for a minute,” Greg said.
“Definitely like it hadn’t been three years,” Derek added. “Definitely like it had been maybe three weeks or maybe three days. The bond that me and my brother share is pretty strong, and it transcended like that time didn’t exist since the last time we’d seen each other.”
The two have spent the past couple days catching up at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, but they aren’t sure how long they’ll have together or when they’ll return home.
“No matter what the time is, a day, two days, two weeks, two months,” Derek said. “Whatever the amount of time can be or will be… it’s nice that it’s there, that it exists, that everybody thought it was good enough that ‘hey, we got these two guys here, let’s get these guys together for the holidays.’”
Greg, 23, said while he is grateful for time with his older brother, he can`t wait to return home to his wife Lauren and 5-month-old daughter Londyn.
“I really, really wish a Merry Christmas to my wife Lauren and my baby Londyn. I love you guys. I miss you guys so much.”
Derek shares the same sentiment to those in Akron, at his military base in Arizona and beyond.
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my mom and my dad,” Derek said. “My little sister, Megan- to my wife, Ricilia, my kids, Hayley and David. I miss you and I love you. I can't wait to get home.”