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Guarding America: a family tradition

The Leyvas family inducts one more... Master Sgt. Alex Leyvas, new recruit Amanda Leyvas and Senior Airman Alex Leyvas at Amanda’s enlistment. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

The Leyvas family inducts one more... Master Sgt. Alex Leyvas, new recruit Amanda Leyvas and Senior Airman Alex Leyvas at Amanda’s enlistment. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Albert Leyvas (right) was the first Leyvas to serve in the 162nd. (Air National Guard photo)

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Albert Leyvas (right) was the first Leyvas to serve in the 162nd. (Air National Guard photo)

Staff Sgt. Michael Whitt, Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas and Senior Master Sgt. Brian Karas. Ashley and her stepbrother, Michael, joined to follow in their father’s footsteps.

Staff Sgt. Michael Whitt, Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas and Senior Master Sgt. Brian Karas. Ashley and her stepbrother, Michael, joined to follow in their father’s footsteps.

Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Jerry Veltman, his wife Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Karen Veltman, their daughter Maj. Christine Rhodes and her husband Maj. Bryan Rhodes. Jerry and Karen served a combined 68 years at the 162nd Fighter Wing. Jerry passed away May 31. The entire 162nd family mourned the loss. “I would like to thank everyone for their support for my family and my father,” said daughter Christine. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) Jerry Veltman, his wife Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Karen Veltman, their daughter Maj. Christine Rhodes and her husband Maj. Bryan Rhodes. Jerry and Karen served a combined 68 years at the 162nd Fighter Wing. Jerry passed away May 31. The entire 162nd family mourned the loss. “I would like to thank everyone for their support for my family and my father,” said daughter Christine. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Staff Sgt. Erika Jaramillo, Chief Master Sgt. Bobby Jaramillo and Senior Airman Andrea Jaramillo. Both daughters joined the wing after their father served several
years here. Chief Jaramillo now serves at Arizona Joint Force Headquarters in Phoenix. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Staff Sgt. Erika Jaramillo, Chief Master Sgt. Bobby Jaramillo and Senior Airman Andrea Jaramillo. Both daughters joined the wing after their father served several years here. Chief Jaramillo now serves at Arizona Joint Force Headquarters in Phoenix. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

A real band of brothers... Senior Master Sgt. Larry Talvy, Master Sgt. Samuel Talvy and Master Sgt. Rick Talvy. Twins Larry and and Rick joined at the same time and went to basic training together. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

A real band of brothers... Senior Master Sgt. Larry Talvy, Master Sgt. Samuel Talvy and Master Sgt. Rick Talvy. Twins Larry and and Rick joined at the same time and went to basic training together. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Twins Staff Sgt. Travis Davis and Master Sgt. Teresa Denogean with their sister Master Sgt. Brandi Watkins and her husband Tech. Sgt. Jay Watkins. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Twins Staff Sgt. Travis Davis and Master Sgt. Teresa Denogean with their sister Master Sgt. Brandi Watkins and her husband Tech. Sgt. Jay Watkins. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Maj. Patricia Wilson, Airman First Class Travis Wilson and Maj. (Ret.) Mike Wilson. Travis, who grew up in an Air Force family, now serves in the 162nd Medical Group. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Maj. Patricia Wilson, Airman First Class Travis Wilson and Maj. (Ret.) Mike Wilson. Travis, who grew up in an Air Force family, now serves in the 162nd Medical Group. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

The Chambers brothers and their in-laws... Senior Master Sgt. Franklin Paredes, Master Sgt. Mark Chambers, Tech. Sgt. Albert Chambers and Staff Sgt. Donald Bates. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

The Chambers brothers and their in-laws... Senior Master Sgt. Franklin Paredes, Master Sgt. Mark Chambers, Tech. Sgt. Albert Chambers and Staff Sgt. Donald Bates. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

Master Sgt. Clinton Awana, Tech Sgt. Leora Awana, Mitchell Awana and Tech. Sgt. Mitchell Awana, Jr. Mitchell Sr. served in the 162nd for one enlistment.
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Master Sgt. Clinton Awana, Tech Sgt. Leora Awana, Mitchell Awana and Tech. Sgt. Mitchell Awana, Jr. Mitchell Sr. served in the 162nd for one enlistment.

Staff Sgt. Patrick O’Rourke, Chief Master Sergeant Charles Reeves and Staff Sgt. Matthew Reeves. Patrick is the chief’s son-in-law and Matthew is his son. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)
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Staff Sgt. Patrick O’Rourke, Chief Master Sergeant Charles Reeves and Staff Sgt. Matthew Reeves. Patrick is the chief’s son-in-law and Matthew is his son. (Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Karas)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The term Guard Family has two meanings at the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing. 

In its most common use, it's a term of endearment  alluding to the close bonds of Guardsmen serving side by side, often for several decades; creating a rich personal and professional support network for each member. 

When the pride of serving in the Guard is passed from a father to a son, from a brother to a sister, and from one generation to the next, the term Guard Family takes a literal form. 

Since 1956, generations of men and women have passed on Tucson's Guard legacy to relatives. 

Leading generations brought home stories of pride in service, job satisfaction and camaraderie that inspired their loved ones to apply for membership, work hard and pursue similar career paths. 

With more than 1,700 Guardsmen currently assigned to the 162nd and over fifty years of history, it's difficult to account for every member with a relative in the wing. However, to highlight the phenomena of the Guard Family, the handful of families featured here help illustrate the 162nd family tradition of guarding America. 

Guard Families not featured here are encouraged to contact public affairs to schedule a photo; email 162fw.pa@aztucs.ang.af.mil.