This story was last updated in November 2020.
Five sisters from two different families have graduated Marine Corps recruit training together, each honoring a family pledge to serve their country.
Ashley and Amber Valentine’s plans aligned when they realized their joint ambition to enlist. Ashley, 19, was motivated by her grandfather’s passing; three days before losing him, she promised to continue his legacy by joining the U.S. Armed Forces.
Amber, 22, spoke to a recruiter and decided that enlisting was also the right decision for her. “I was ready to go no matter what,” she told the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina, according to their Facebook post.
After passing a medical, the sisters, from Manassas, Virginia, headed for training together. Amber credited her sister for being “a shoulder for me to lean on” during trying times.
Another set of sisters, Maria Placido Jaramillo, 21, and her young sister twins, Vanessa and Melissa, both 22, made a pact as children to join the military as a tribute to their family and the country they sprang from.
The Panama-born sisters, raised in Las Vegas, joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) before Maria spoke with a Marine Corps recruiter, paving the way for a joint venture into recruit training and a lot of sibling support.
“When one of us is lacking and the other is strong in that area, we always push each other to become to best we can be,” Melissa explained.
Maria called theirs an unbreakable bond. “We are always together,” she said, “but we know how to live separately. I know that my sisters will always be there for me, even when they are not physically with me.”
The Valentines will not be heading to Marine Combat Training together, as Ashley is healing from a hip fracture sustained before graduation. The sisters’ paths are diverging, regardless; Amber plans to remain in Communications after combat training, and Ashley wants to qualify as a Motor Transportation Operator.
“She’s always been independent,” Ashley said of her sister, “and I know she’s going to succeed in her career.”
The Placido Jaramillos are waiting to discover their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) assignments. All three sisters are in agreement that, whatever the future holds, they will complete their college education.
They will also become nationalized American citizens in return for their patriotic service.
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us here: firstname.lastname@example.org