December 26, 2012

Military father, son get brief holiday together


---- — CHESTERFIELD — Roy Sayward returned home Sunday from Kuwait. His son Matt leaves for Afghanistan today.

“We’re just trying to pack it all in, said Matt, — the holiday, friends, saying goodbye, saying hello.”

Roy, 45, is a sergeant major in the New York State Army National Guard and Reserve, and Matt, 23, is a senior airman in the Vermont Air Guard. This was the second tour of duty for Roy and the first for Matt.

“They just kind of take things in stride,” said Matt’s father-in-law, Eric Crowningshield. “Roy’s been in the military 22 years.”

Roy’s own father, Roy Carl Sayward Sr., died in August, so Roy came home on emergency leave for the funeral. 

“Then he went back to his deployment,” Crowningshield said.

Matt received some good news recently. He had been planning to start a career in corrections, and he was offered a position that would have conflicted with his deployment. 

However, Crowningshield said, “he called them, and they’re going to hold that position for him ‘til he comes back.”


The Saywards’ military tradition started with Roy, and for Matt, its influence goes back a lifetime. 

“He was active-duty Army, and I was born in Germany,” Matt said. “I grew up being military, and I had the right connections with the Vermont National Guard.

“I have a younger brother who’s in the ROTC program at Plattsburgh State,” he added.

So another Sayward is looking at a military future.


During the short time father and son would have together, Matt hoped to get some guidance on his own first deployment. 

“He’s had two deployments, so he’s got a lot of knowledge in his head.” 

Even when it comes to packing his gear, Matt knows his father’s experience will be helpful. 

“I have to try to get ready for the three days of travel that it will take just to get to Afghanistan.”

There is also the feeling of transferring family responsibilities.

“I’ve been taking care of the family now, and I feel that I’m passing those responsibilities on to my father, as he comes back and I leave.”

“My father’s been trying to adjust to coming home,” he added, “and it’s gotta be hard for him because his son’s leaving for the first time.

“He’s used to being the one leaving, not the one left behind.”