If you want hear a proud father, just ask Sen. Kit Bond about his son, Sam.
The younger Bond, a first lieutenant in the Marines, returned home last week after a year's service in Fallujah, Iraq, one of the most dangerous places in that war-torn country.
The 25-year-old Princeton graduate and only child was an intelligence officer with a regimental combat team that deployed to Iraq in February 2005. His father, the veteran Republican senator from Missouri, is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"I'm very proud of him, he's done very well," said Sen. Bond, who met with his son in January during a visit to Iraq and four other countries in the region. Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) were on the same codel.
Shortly before meeting his son in Fallujah, the senator said, five members of his son's unit were killed by a roadside bomb.
Sen. Bond noted that his son took great pains to keep his fellow Marines from learning his father's identity because he didn't want favored treatment.
But a Marine drill sergeant blew his cover just before graduation ceremonies at Camp Lejuene in December, 2004, when he said, "If anybody has any VIPs coming to the graduation, like Cadet Bond here, let me know."
Lt. Bond doesn't have his new orders yet, but hopes to be assigned to a scout sniper platoon, his proud father told me.