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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
For many, it is a tough decision to enlist in the military and serve their country.
But for Martina Sternberg, retired Air Force master sergeant and current assistant director of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, serving is a family business.
Sternberg’s father served, along with her three brothers, husband and daughter.
“I sort of knew about the military and really felt connected to it, that it was a greater calling instead of doing something else,” she said. “It wasn’t going to be a career, but I enjoyed it so much I kept enlisting until I served 20 years. It was more of a vocation instead of a job, and the same is happening for my daughter,” Sternberg said.
Stenberg’s daughter took a similar path to service. “Honestly, it was the lifestyle I grew up in,” said Army Sgt. Jessica Craig of the 82nd Airborne Division, who was deployed to Iraq for a year. “I was always curious about the military because I grew up with it. I had seen it and understood it. So I grew up wanting to join, but when I talked to a recruiter, that was when I was set on it.”
Young adults who come from a military family are more likely to enlist, Sternberg said. “Now that the military is a volunteer force, it is the same families serving over and over.”
Col. Michael “Hi Ho” Silver graduated from Purdue, served for 28 years in the Air Force and was Purdue’s ROTC commander until retiring two years ago.
“I stumbled into the military, unlike my kids,” Silver said, who was lured by the opportunity to fly an F16.
But, he too, fell in love with the lifestyle upon taking the oath.
“(Serving) gave me a different sense of patriotism, I was living the life that fit my personality. I love that I served my country, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I loved the fact that we have a good country, military and we’re fighting for everything that’s good,” Silver said.
Silver and his wife, Karen, have four children. Their oldest son and daughter decided to follow in their father’s footsteps.
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