Two members of the Bach family are only about 50 miles apart, but that can be a long distance in Iraq. They got together for a brief reunion over the summer.
1Lt Clark Neal, the son of the former Mary Bach, is in the Active Army Reserve as a combat engineer. He went with his unit, the 926th Engineering Brigade, from Montgomery, Ala., to Iraq in April 2008.
Clark serves as aide-de-camp to the unit commander, Brigadier General Jeffrey Talley, at Camp Liberty in Baghdad.
Clark’s unit is engaged in rebuilding Sadr City with repairs to schools, medical clinics, sewage treatment facilities, etc.
Gena Sproul, daughter of Jerry and Lucy Bach of Morenci, is a Chief Yeoman with the Navy Seabees (Reserve). Her Pennsylvania unit was sent to Balad in June 2008.
Last summer Clark accompanied Gen. Talley on a helicopter ride to Balad for a ceremony and Gena was in charge of the welcoming committee. The aunt and nephew were able to spend a few hours together before the general headed back to Baghdad.
Clark’s mother, Mary, said both soldiers keep in touch with family members fairly regularly. Gena is able to telephone for free, although there is a time limit. Clark uses a phone card.
“Reception is pretty good with a lag time of only a few seconds,” Mary said. “The time difference for e-mail is roughly seven hours, so when it is 3:00 p.m. EST they are (hopefully) in bed.”
She said that 12 to 16 hour days are typical for support staff and they are required to wear their weapon and carry a lot of the gear that those “outside the fence” are required to carry.