Master Sergeants Gabriela and Raymond Jaramillo
June 19th 2016
I still remember that day, some twenty plus years ago. I remember going into my room and sobbing because I had just said goodbye to my sister who was leaving for bootcamp. I was young, I didn't really know what to expect and when I would see my sister again. A few weeks later we received a letter with a few photos of her that she had taken in a photo booth, she was holding a sign that read "I'm in hell." I knew it was a joke but it still made me worry and about her and what she was going through over there, then I remembered who my sister was. You see, the women in my family have always been really strong and determined, it wasn't a matter of if she could, it was a matter of how great she would be at it. Soon after, we were blessed to find out that she would be based at Kirtland Air Force Base here in Albuquerque. Most military families don't have the comfort of having their loved ones close to home, so it eased many of our worries. My sister always told me that she wanted to join the military so she could travel the world, and for some reason she ended up back in Albuquerque. A few months after being back home, she brought that reason to a family gathering. I still remember meeting Raymond at one of our family gatherings, he was a bit quiet but fit in immediately. I wasn't sure what to think about my sister dating a military man, but it didn't take her long realize that this would be the man she would spend the rest of her life with. It was the beginning of a marriage that would produce two amazing children and which they got to help one another make it through the ups and downs of military life. Its fitting that this journey would end not too far from where it all started. This weekend, I had the pleasure of witnessing what 20 plus years of military life looks like. I could sit here and brag about all of their accomplishments, the places they went and the jobs they took on. From my sisters humanitarian trip to Bolivia, to my brother in law taking on a job as a TI. They made many sacrifices and accomplished many things in all that time, but to me, nothing was more evident this weekend. They didn't do it for any of those things, the reason they did it was sitting in that room with them. It wasn't about what was in that hall, it was who. Their families, their co-workers, their loved ones. People came from as far as Florida and places like San Antonio where they had spent so many years just to be there when they retired. Throughout all those years, they touched many people. All weekend I read about and talked to people who they touched, who they were there for, who they even took in as family when they were too far from their own. Nothing says more about them than this photograph above, two completely different personalities. My sister with her heart of gold who always wears her emotions on her sleeve, and my brother in law with his stern discipline to never show his. The United States Military isn't just losing two of its finest, they are losing two mentors, two leaders and two amazing people, but frankly, its our turn. I am proud to call them brother and sister and I thank them for serving us and our country. Thank you for all you have done and being there even from far away and when it was difficult for you. The Air Force appreciates you, your fellow service members appreciate you and lastly, I appreciate you. I love you both very much.....and sis, now we can go see the world together.