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Former 1st Cavalry Division Senior Enlisted Advisor Makes Emotional Return to Afghanistan

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(KCEN) -- A Former 1st Cavalry Division Senior Enlisted Advisor makes an emotional return to Afghanistan, where he tragically lost his son many years ago.

Command Sergeant Major Isaiah Vimoto is part of the unit that replaced III Corps Headquarters at ISAF Joint Command, and he's inspiring troops through his victory and his loss.

Vimoto was last in Afghanistan in 2012, when the 1st Cavalry Division was in charge of operations in Eastern Afghanistan, and this week he returns, this time with the XVIII Airborne Corps.

"In 2006, I returned from Iraq, that's when he broke the news to me and my wife and said, ‘Hey mom and dad, I decided to join the Army," Vimoto recalls.

That Was never Private First Class Timothy Vimoto's parents' plan for their star athlete son.

Vimoto says, "I asked him why, he said, ‘well, dad, I just want to serve, I think it's my turn to serve.' I said, ‘no, son, I'm serving for us.'"

IN 2007, he AND his son were Deployed to Afghanistan together.

That June, 19-year-old Timothy was killed in the Korengal Valley in his first firefight.

For three weeks following the memorial, Vimoto requested to finish the tour he and Timothy had embarked on together, but he was told to take more time.

"It got to the point when I said, sir, my men are downrange, I'm the brigade sergeant major, I need to be down there with them, they need me, I need them," Vimoto said.

So weeks later, he returned, also knowing that the people of Afghanistan needed him, and that he needed peace of mind.

"It was more for closure."

Vimoto tried to put himself in Timothy's boots.

"I'm assuming if he were alive, probably in his dying breath, he'd probably tell me the same thing, dad, my brothers need you, come back," Vimoto said.

When asked what sustained him in the months following Timothy's death, he said, "Well, really two things, number one is always my faith in God, and that's what got me through all that, and number two is just my soldiers."

Now eight years later, his commitment still inspires all of those around him.

Sergeant First Class Charles Clevenger is his right hand man.

He says, "I know the bar is set very high, and I just try to achieve that bar every day."

Vimoto Is a pillar of strength for his troops, and they for him.

"It's part of the healing process for me, being down there with them. I think that will strengthen me, I mean when I look at these soldiers, I see my son in them," said Vimoto.

Now, he takes on a major international leadership role in one of the final steps toward the end of the United States' involvement in a war that has cost him and his family so much.

"This time, seeing the mission through, it just goes back into an appreciation for what you've started," said Vimoto.

His daughter just finished the Army's advanced individual training and is currently waiting for airborne school.

Her goal is to join her father in the coming months on this deployment.

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