NORMAN, Okla. – Stories of fathers and sons serving in a military unit together are commonplace, as are stories of brothers, but rarely can the same be said about mothers and sons. The 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team had two such exceptions serving together during the brigade’s training rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.
Lt. Col. Tanya Roland and her son, Sgt. Paul Roland, serve together in the 45th IBCT. Tanya Roland, the 45th IBCT judge advocate, transferred to the Oklahoma Army National Guard in November 2020 after nearly 18 years of service with the United States Army Reserve. Paul Roland, religious affairs specialist for Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery Regiment, has been in the Oklahoma Army National Guard for seven years. Her husband also serves in the Oklahoma Army National Guard as the Deputy Director of Personnel.
Tanya Roland just transferred to the Oklahoma National Guard, and the NTC training rotation was the first time that Paul Roland had the chance to train in the same environment as his mother. He spoke of his family history of service, motivated by patriotism and a sense of duty.
“I am proud that he has the opportunity to have a positive impact on other Soldiers,” said Tanya Roland.
Master Sgt. Amy Gordon, the OKNG equal employment manager, also serves with her son, Sgt. Chance Gordon, a forward observer with 1st Detachment, Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 160th Field Artillery Regiment.
“It’s nice to have the same motivations in life,” Chance Gordon said. “It’s an interesting blend you don’t see a lot.”
Despite their service, as mothers, both Tanya Roland and Amy Gordon expressed some of the apprehensions of all parents whose children serve in the military and may deploy. However, they said pride in their sons’ service far outweighs those concerns.
“I love seeing him come home from drill with a smile,” said Amy Gordon.