Like Mother, Like Daughter
By Staff Sgt. Robin Olsen, JFHQ
/ Published April 23, 2010
Nashville -- It is not uncommon for children to follow in their parent's footsteps and join the military. However, a parent enlisting their child into the military is something quite special and one Tennessee mother has done it twice.
Mt. Juliet native Maj. Lawana Nelson, Director of Personnel at the 118th Airlift Wing, raised her right hand in front of the American flag to recite the Oath of Office for her daughter to repeat, officially swearing Lauren into the Air National Guard April 20.
"I almost started to cry," said Nelson after she administered the oath. "This is a life-changing event for Lauren." She also enlisted her son, Robert Lavery III, into the Active Duty Air Force in 2006. He is currently a Senior Airman serving as an aircraft maintenance specialist at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
The family has a long military history. Besides her mother and her brother, Lauren Lavery's step-grandfather, Roy Jones, retired from the 118th Transportation Squadron, part of the Airlift Wing. Her dad, Robert Lavery Jr., retired from the Active Duty Air Force and her step-father, Lt. Col. Ken Jones, is a member of the Tennessee National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Nashville.
Enlisted members are required to have an officer administer their enlistment oath for initial enlistments and re-enlistments. For most, it is a commander or local officer at the unit, but for Nelson's children, it was her.
Lauren does not yet have a date for basic training, but she will be working in personnel like her mother.
"Mom had somewhat of an influence on my decision to join the Guard. I've been around it ever since I was born, so it's already been a part of my life," said Lauren. "She helped me understand what career field would best fit me without pressuring me."
"I joined for the college benefits. All of my family supports my decision in joining," she said. The 19-year-old is currently attending Trevecca Nazarene University and is majoring in Elementary Education.
Lauren's twin sister, Meagan, is currently attending Cumberland University and is also considering joining the Guard
Nelson has served 27 years in the military so far, 14 on Active Duty as an explosive ordinance disposal specialist and an air traffic controller; and 13 years in the National Guard.
Her first duty station was at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, where all three of her children were born. During her career, she has been stationed in Turkey, Oklahoma and Mississippi. She joined the Tennessee Air National Guard in 1997 and was commissioned in 1999.