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Face of Defense: Father Follows Daughter Into National Guard

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Bemus
Special to American Forces Press Service

GREEN, Ohio, Aug. 6, 2008 – When military recruits speak of their reasons for enlisting, many cite family pride and tradition as their strongest motivation. The desire to follow in a parent's footsteps has prompted many soldiers to enlist into the National Guard.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Pvt. Larry Gravius (right) was inspired to join the Ohio Army National Guard as a result of the February enlistment of his 18-year-old daughter, Army Pfc. Gwendolyn Gravius (left). U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Bemus, Ohio National Guard

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

For recent enlistee Pvt. Larry Gravius, a 39-year-old Massillon, Ohio, resident, family tradition was a definite factor in his decision to become a soldier. But this time, the parent was following in the child's footsteps.

In June, Gravius followed his 18-year-old daughter, Pfc. Gwendolyn Gravius, a 2008 graduate of Tuslaw High School, who enlisted in February. Both now are proud members of 1484th Transportation Company here.

"I have always wanted to serve, seeing both of my brothers serve during the current war, and watching my daughter enlist was a sign for me that it was time to join up," Gravius said.

One brother, Sgt. Matt Gravius, also is a member of 1484th Transportation Company, while another brother, Sgt. Jody Gravius, is a member of the Army Reserve.

In his civilian job, Larry Gravius is employed as a supervisor for Brechbuhler Scales.

Gwendolyn Gravius enlisted as a motor transportation operator and was scheduled to ship for initial entry training July 31 to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. She earned her previous promotion to the rank of E-2 private for referring her father under the "Stripes for Buddies” program.

Larry Gravius is scheduled to attend training in May at Fort Jackson, S.C., and will become qualified as a food service specialist.

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Bemus serves with the Ohio National Guard.)

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