Father and Sons Serve Together in Iraq

DefenseLink has an interesting profile of the Cartwrights, a father and two sons serving together in Iraq as Army National Guard NCOs.

U.S. Army 1SG John Cartwright, SGT Chris Cartwright, CPL John Cartwright, Jr. (DefendAmerica News)

Photo: U.S. Army 1st Sgt. John Cartwright (right) and his two sons †A young Chris Cartwright and his older brother John Cartwright Jr. are racing around on a tank with their father, John Cartwright, during his National Guard unit’s drill weekend. They are having the time of their life, but as young boys, they’re oblivious to the impression this ride will make on their lives down the road.

Fast forward 20-odd years, and the boys, like their father, are serving with the National Guard in Troop F, 278th Regimental Combat Team, and are deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 3. They still ride on tanks with their father. There’s just one caveat: despite the fact that both boys have grown up to be noncommissioned officers — Chris a sergeant, Junior a corporal — their dad is now their first sergeant.

Both sons enjoy working with their father despite the good-natured ribbing they endure for being the first sergeant’s kids. Junior is stationed in a different area because the unit does not want all the family members serving in the same area for security reasons. But that doesn’t mean he is exempt from the teasing. “We catch heat all the time for being the first sergeant’s kids, even though I am hundreds of miles away,†Junior said. “It hasn’t really affected me at all. I just work hard, and I know I’ve done my job.â€

A lot of shared sacrifice for one family. I’m surprised the Army has allowed them to serve together in the same troop.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Military Affairs,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fred says:

    Ponderosa flashbacks. (I know which one is Hoss.) How did F Troop get in there?

  2. Lurking Observer says:

    I thought, after the Sullivan brothers, that families were specifically enjoined from serving in the same war zone at the same time?