455th Air Expeditionary Wing protocol officer 1st Lt. Jacque Vasta and her father, former airman Daniel Harrier, pose for a photo Jan. 31 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. (Capt. Erika A. Yepsen / Air Force)
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First Lt. Jacque Vasta may have been a little nervous for her first deployment to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, but she had a familiar face to look forward to: her father's.
Daniel Harrier, a civilian contractor working for Science Applications International Corp., or SAIC, left for Bagram in October 2011.
About a year later, his daughter arrived on a temporary duty assignment.
Vasta operates as the chief of protocol at the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, planning, coordinating and executing visits for Air Force leadership and personnel.
Harrier works as a procurement analyst under a contract to work with mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles to increase survivability from improvised explosive devices.
Their day-to-day duties leave time to see each other two to three times a week, which helps ward off homesickness, they said.
"We ate Christmas dinner together at one of the dining facilities here," Vasta said.
Said Harrier: "By contrast, I only get to see her maybe twice a year back in the United States."
Both are Air Force Academy graduates; Vasta graduated in the same squadron in 2010 — Squadron 35 — that her father had graduated from years earlier through the academy's legacy program. She graduated with a degree in management, while Harrier earned a degree in computer science.
Even working as a civilian, Harrier said that with Vasta's "coincidental TDY," he was able to prepare her for a new way of life in Bagram.
"One of the things was, because I was here first, I was able to dispel a lot of the fears she had coming over. ... I got to tell her what to bring, what not to bring and, especially, not to worry," Harrier said. "It may be a different way of life in Bagram, but I was able to relay to her that it wouldn't be something she needed to fear, and I think knowing she had someone here helped with that transition."
Vasta will leave Bagram in May, reuniting with her husband in Colorado Springs, Colo., for her permanent change of station. She is waiting on her new assignment. Harrier will leave Bagram in April.