Lt. Col. Jonathan Gilmour Cameron, 39, of Cos Cob, is not the first member of his family to serve in Afghanistan. His great-great-grandfather, John Allen, served there, too -- more than a century ago.
Allen is the great grandfather of Cameron's mother, Mary Jane Cameron. "He was born in Ireland about 1831," Mary Jane says of her relative. "By the peak of the Irish Potato Famine in 1847, he had lost both his parents. He joined the British Army `in order to have a place.'"
Allen became a member of the elite Royal Canadian Rifles, a regiment of the British Army, and would begin his service in St John's, Newfoundland. He served there until 1870 when his regiment was disbanded. Returning to the United Kingdom, Allen would settle with his family in Scotland, where he would join a regiment that was deployed to Afghanistan in the late 1870s. He would serve in that country until his retirement in the mid-1880s.
"Our son Jon keeps John Allen Gilmour's picture on his desk as a source of inspiration," says Jon Cameron's father, Bill Cameron, himself a Navy guy who served as a radar operator on a guided missile cruiser in the 1960s.
Today, it is Jon Cameron who carries on the military traditon, in his role as Chief of Operations of the 595th Surface, Deployment, Distribution Command Brigade, which supports the U.S. Army Central Command Headquarters in Kuwait.
"Jon has served three tours of duty in the Middle East with responsibility for moving personnel and materials in and out of various hot zones, including Afghanistan," his father says."His last tour of duty was running armored convoys down what I call `Thunder Road' for that long dangerous road from Kuwait to Baghdad."
Bill Cameron can't help but note the parallel between his son's servive and that of John Allen.
"Isn't it ironic," Cameron says, "that my son, who is the great-great-grandson of a British Army veteran who served in Afghanistan 140 years ago, is back in Afghanistan?"
"To quote Yogi Berra," he says, "It's dejà vu all over again!"