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Sisterhood of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Makensie Cooper
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs
Recently, a ceremony not only brought together two branches, but two sisters from the To'hajiilee Navajo Reservation, near Albuquerque, New Mexico, to celebrate a continuation of family service.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Melissa Juchniewicz, 535th Airlift Squadron Squadron Aviation Resource Management journeyman, enlisted on March 10, 2009, and comes from a long history of family-military service.

Juchniewicz and her sister, U.S. Army Capt. Emily Juchniewicz-Armijo, 11th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade medical service officer, are the latest to join the family legacy of service. The family’s legacy includes their grandfather, an elder on the reservation and a World War II veteran, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the Air Force, and the Navy. The service continued with their mother who retired after 22 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and later in the U.S. Army.

“For both of us, it's an honor to serve together even though we are in different branches,” said Juchniewicz. “We appreciate the history of the family and glad we can make our family proud, especially our grandfather.”

Juchniewicz enlisted to show members of her reservation that even coming from a small town, she can do anything she set out to do, and be an example to her Navajo community.

“Our Native American heritage is who we are,” said Juchniewicz. “It means my family, it strengthens us and we are proud of where we came from.”

Juchniewicz’s sister traveled to attend and administer the final oath of enlistment surrounded by their family and friends at the USS Oklahoma Memorial.

“I am so humbly honored for my sister to request me to administer her oath of indefinite reenlistment,” said Juchniewicz-Armijo. “This means the world to me because I respect and see my big sister as one of my role models. She has mentored me and helped shape my leadership style as an officer and human being.”

The Juchniewicz sisters both plan to retire from the military and continue to carry on the legacy of their family’s generations of military service and Navajo roots.

“We may travel around the world, taking us away from the To’hajiilee, but it will always be home in our hearts and the roots we came from,” said Juchniewicz-Armijo. “I am going all the way with my commitment for myself, my family, and my small hometown!”