GILES COUNTY, Va. – Many veterans who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are still around to share their stories.
For one Giles County family, those battle stories come from two different generations.
Marley Campos enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent right to a war zone in Iraq.
“I remember getting off the plane and it was the hottest I’ve ever felt in my life. It shocked me how hot it was, like sticking your face in an oven,” said Campos.
She described it as busy and dangerous.
“We were getting mortared every day. I was working every single day. I got no days off,” recalled Campos.
Any parent would be worried, but for her father, Victor, it was different because he saw it firsthand.
“We had incomings all the time and we got used to it. You know, it was just part of life being out there and then I found out my daughter was coming over and I said, ‘Oh my God,’ you know, this is crazy,” said Victor.
Victor’s service started with the Marine Corps in 1976 and then continued with the National Guard in 1998.
A responsibility he took seriously ever since his grandmother brought him from Mexico to the U.S. as a child.
“I never forget those words. I raised my hand, I said, ‘I will defend the flag of the United States,’” said Victor.
He did it for his family and for a better life.
A loyalty he passed down to Marley.
“My unit wouldn’t let me leave to see my dad. I begged them,” said Marley.
While Marley couldn’t leave her unit to see him, two times, he was able to leave his to see her.
“I remember they let us use a phone, it looked like an old house phone with a really long cord and we got to go sit outside and call my mom,” said Marley.
But Marley had an idea for something even more special.
“It was just something like of a dream,” explained Victor.
Raising the flag together.
“It’s just an honor to do that,” said Victor.
Even after her service in the Marine Corps, Marley continued honoring her father.
The gears kept turning in her most recent deployment to the Middle East through the Army Reserves in 2017.
She loaded bombs onto planes, often writing special messages on them.
“Something to give someone that no one else could do for them, probably ever,” explained Marley.
Memories, telling the story of a family’s fight together.
“It just makes me feel proud,” explained Marley.
“I’m so proud I can’t describe it. It’s just a great feeling and great memories and just like, sometimes I wish we’d go back out there and do it again but I don’t think we could,” said Victor.
An irreplaceable bond between a father and a daughter built on a foundation of bravery and service.