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1st Lt. Cheyenne Kiel, 23, and his father, Master Sgt. David Kiel, 45, were reunited for three hours Monday at Camp New York, Kuwait. David Kiel, an Army reservist, is near the end of a six-month tour in Iraq, while Cheyenne Kiel, tactical operations officer for the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 77th Armor, is just beginning a yearlong deployment.
1st Lt. Cheyenne Kiel, 23, and his father, Master Sgt. David Kiel, 45, were reunited for three hours Monday at Camp New York, Kuwait. David Kiel, an Army reservist, is near the end of a six-month tour in Iraq, while Cheyenne Kiel, tactical operations officer for the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 77th Armor, is just beginning a yearlong deployment. (Steve Liewer / S&S)

CAMP NEW YORK, Kuwait — A handshake, a hello, a hug — and then goodbye.

So it was Monday for Master Sgt. David W. Kiel, 45, and his son, 1st Lt. Cheyenne Kiel, 23, after a too brief, three-hour reunion at this desert camp in Kuwait.

“It was just a chance in hell I found this speck of earth out here in the middle of nowhere,” David Kiel joked shortly before he left that evening.

The elder Kiel, an Army reservist from Little Rock, Wash., has been in Iraq since October. A Ranger who works on a close-protection team — its semi-secret mission is somewhat akin to the U.S. Secret Service, according to his son — the father pulled strings last year to get a six-month assignment in Iraq. He’ll be going home in just a few weeks.

Cheyenne Kiel, of Bluffdale, Utah, arrived in Kuwait just a week ago with his Schweinfurt, Germany-based unit, the 1st Battalion, 77th Armor. The two hadn’t seen each other since a brief meeting at the deathbed of his grandfather, just hours before David Kiel left for Iraq.

Because of a divorce when Cheyenne Kiel was young, father and son weren’t particularly close. That changed when the son decided to go to Seattle University, not far from his father’s home.

Though the son had resisted following his father into the Army, David Kiel persuaded him to apply for an ROTC scholarship to pay for school. He got it and was commissioned after he graduated in 2002. He came to the 1-77 Armor as its tactical operations officer.

The son worries about something happening to his dad in the short time left in his father’s tour.

“I don’t like having both of us over here,” Cheyenne Kiel said. “There’s no need for it.”

But it pleased him that his father found a way to make a side trip to Camp New York when duty brought him from his base in as-Samawah to Kuwait.

“He knows how to get things done, to make things that are impossible happen,” Cheyenne Kiel said. “[For me], it’s kind of the highlight of the year — and my year has just started.”

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