Feature   Know Your Military

Face of Defense: Sibling-Soldiers

June 1, 2020 , DOD News

For Army Maj. Nicholas Fiore, Maj. Elyse Pierre and Capt. Carolyn "Nina" Fiore, family ties bolster their shared commitment to duty and service. 

Raised in a military family, all three siblings graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, before embarking on their Army careers. They recently talked about their upbringing and what military service means to them.

Army Maj. Nicholas Fiore, Maj. Elyse Pierre and Capt. Carolyn "Nina" Fiore
Job Titles:
Nicholas: armor officer and future operations planner
Elyse: medical officer and board-certified doctor
Nina: aviation officer and commander, Troop D, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade
Hometowns: Fairfax, Va.; Pompton Lakes, N.J.; Ringwood, N.J.
Stationed: Fort Bliss, Texas (Nicholas and Nina) and Fort Stewart, Ga. (Elyse)

Growing Up Military

Military children are more likely than their peers to join the military. About 80 percent of recent recruits come from a family where at least one close relative was in uniform.

The Fiore siblings' father, Uldric "Ric" Fiore, served in the Army for 30 years and is a retired member of the Senior Executive Service as a judge advocate general director for the Army. Their mother, Nancy Colfax, graduated from Vermont Law School and worked as a lawyer for a time.

A soldier stands smiling with her father and grandfather on either side of her.
Family Photo
Army Capt. Carolyn "Nina" Fiore, the current commander for Troop D, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade, embraces her brother Maj. Nicholas Fiore, an armor officer and future operations planner for 1AD, and her father, Uldric Fiore, a retired member of the Senior Executive Service as a judge advocate general director for the Army, after returning to Fort Bliss from a recent deployment.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo, 1st Armored Division
VIRIN: 200101-A-ZZ999-002

Throughout their childhoods, the Fiore siblings saw the sacrifice and dedication of their parents as they adjusted to the challenges that face military families.

"One of the things that I think drives a lot of young families out of the Army is that they realize that they just can't manage two careers," Nicholas said. "Our mother chose to stay at home, even though I know that she missed practicing law and that she was good at it."

Rising to Challenges

Even when she transitioned out of her career, their mother didn't stop working, he said, describing her tireless efforts to help military families. 

"She would take me with her, with the little red plastic lunchbox and the Lion King VHS, when she would volunteer on post and still use her skills to help out soldier families wherever we were."

The family adapted to the challenges of military life, and made sure those challenges did not interfere with childhood excitement and opportunity.

"We moved around a lot and that tends to cause Army children to have one of two reactions, 'I don't ever want to move again' or 'Hey, it's kind of cool to travel around the world and see different places'" Ric said. "I think our children enjoyed the traveling piece, so they were not adversely influenced by all the moving and we always made sure that their schools were a priority."

A soldier stands smiling around her family as they affix decorations to her uniform.
Celebrating Together
Then-Army 2nd Lt. Elyse Fiore Pierre poses as members of her family surround her and affix decorations to her uniform shortly after she received her commission as a medical officer in the Army in 2010.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo, 1st Armored Division
VIRIN: 100501-A-ZZ999-001B

West Point Pride

Despite the frequent moves, the Fiore family established a strong identification with West Point. 

"When my parents were growing up, West Point was the biggest college nearby, so they went to West Point football games even though they didn't have a family connection to the Army," Nicholas said. "I remember going to those tailgates as a kid and that definitely attracted me."

Each of the three siblings retained a sense of independence and individuality but ultimately, each chose West Point as the place to pursue their goals. Nicholas graduated 2007, Elyse in 2010 and Nina in 2013.

A soldier stands smiling while his two siters affix the shoulder boards on his uniform.
Celebratory Smile
Then-Army 2nd Lt. Nicholas Fiore smiles as his sisters Carolyn "Nina" Fiore, left, and Elyse Pierre, right, affix his shoulder boards displaying his rank to his uniform shortly after receiving his commission as an armor officer in 2007.
Photo By: Courtesy Photo, 1st Armored Division
VIRIN: 070501-A-ZZ999-002

"When Nic was applying to colleges, he was looking at St. John's University and Johns Hopkins University but eventually decided that he wanted to go to West Point," Nina said. "Our sister Elyse decided that going to West Point to be a physician for the Army was what she wanted, to help keep soldiers healthy and not just go work in a practice somewhere tucked away in a corner of a big office building."

"I've wanted to fly helicopters since about the time they convinced me I couldn't be a bird when I grew up," she continued, "so for me that was a no-brainer."

Two soldiers pose in front of the tail end of a helicopter.
Sibling Smiles
Army Maj. Nicholas Fiore and his sister Capt. Carolyn "Nina" Fiore pose in front of an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter on February 28, 2020.
Photo By: Army Pfc. Matthew Marcellus
VIRIN: 200228-A-QF685-600

Family Within a Family

Serving as an armor officer, an aviation officer and a medical officer results in very different experiences for the siblings, but they remain close knit and supportive of one another nevertheless — a family within the Army family. 

"All of us are committed to serving other soldiers and Americans as best we can, Nina said. "We're fortunate to have the ability and the opportunity to do so." 

Adapted from an article by Army Pfc. Matthew Marcellus