An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Family Programs
Family Programs News
NEWS | Sept. 25, 2009

Entire family joins Florida Army Guard

By Delawese Fulton Fort Jackson Leader

FORT JACKSON, S.C. - After learning about the benefits available, six members of the Epipiciaco family joined the Florida Army National Guard this year.

It all started with stepdaughter Melissa Egipciaco wanting to join the military.

"As we (the family) learned about the college and other benefits, we, too, decided to (join the military).

We're all in the Army National Guard," said Pvt. Carmen Egipciaco, the matriarch of the family. Egipciaco, 40, who is a member of Company F, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, and her son Pvt. David Rodriguez, 17, of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, are currently here for their basic military training. Egipciaco's other relatives in the Army Guard include her husband, Yamil Egipciaco, her stepdaughter, her niece Kimberly Egipciaco, and her son, and David's twin, Jonathan Rodriguez who is set to begin BCT within a few months.

Her husband, Yamil Egipciaco, graduated BCT in July, she said. Joining the Army was a way for the Kissimmee, Fla., residents to give back to their country and gain some new opportunities, Carmen Egipciaco said.

Fort Jackson unit leaders say that this is the first time they have had an instance where a mother and child were going through basic training about the same time.

Sure, they have had brothers and sisters, twins and husbands-and-wives go through BCT together, but this is unique, said 1st Sgt. Robert Hoskins of Company C, 2-60th. "It was different, and it was a good experience," said 1st Lt. Noel Machado-Matos, executive officer for Company F, 1-13th. Though Egipciaco and her son are new Soldiers and their activities are limited, the uniqueness of the situation made a few allowances necessary.

Machado-Matos said Egipciaco was allowed to attend her son's graduation Sept. 18. Egipciaco and Rodriguez were interviewed a few days prior to Rodriguez' graduation. Sitting in a meeting area of the 2-60th, the mother and son shared how the experience has affected them.

The two recalled the first time they caught a glimpse of each other at a Sunday Mass several weeks earlier.

"When I saw her, I was shocked," Rodriguez said. "I was like -- that's my mom!" Egipciaco and Rodriguez said they made sure that they walked out the same door together, so they could have a quick moment to catch up. The two also exchanged their identification tags.

"It's like having a part of her with me," Rodriguez said. Knowing that his mother was just a few units away was somewhat comforting for Rodriguez.

"It makes me feel better -- I have my mom here. It (was) really cool," he said. Following graduation from BCT, David started A

vanced Individual Training for training as a human resources specialist. He said when he completes AIT, he will return home to Florida, look for a job and apply to college. His mother is set to graduate in November. Before enlisting in the National Guard, Egipciaco was an account specialist for a city in central Florida, she said. She looks forward to returning to work following her training. She said joining the military has been a positive experience for her and her family.

"It has helped (my children) to mature."

Though a drill sergeant gave Egipciaco the nickname, "Grandma," there is nothing slow about her. She said she was in good shape prior to becoming a Soldier. Back home, she ran and did other cardio exercises daily. So, the physical tasks and endurance exercises of basic training were not a difficult adjustment for her, she said.

"It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be," Egipciaco said.