All For the Family
April 28, 2014
Throughout the Army there are stories about second and third generation Soldiers following in their parents and grandparents footsteps, but what about a young Soldier making a difference in a parents military career?
For Spc. Yemima Tarber, a communications specialist from Charlie Company, 326th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), that's exactly what happened.
Tarber is the product of a dual military family. Her father, Sgt. Maj. Birdel L. Campbell, 3rd Army Operations Sgt. Maj., Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., was a young enlisted soldier when Tarber was born. A few years later, her mother also enlisted in the Army.
"As a child growing up in a military family, I spent my middle school years hardly seeing my father while he performed his first sergeant duties and I spent my high school years visiting my mother on the trail while she performed her drill sergeant duties," said Tarber.
So what makes Tarber different? Fast forward to 2008. That's when the Army made changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill that allowed parents to transfer their benefits to their dependents to use for college. Tarber's parents offered to let her use their funds to attend college, but she refused.
"My parents worked hard to ensure that I had life goals and career options," said Tarber. "Both of my parents offered to give me their Post-9/11 GI Bill so I would be able to attend college in a field of my choice, but I respectfully declined their offer and decided to earn my own college education by becoming a Soldier myself."
What Tarber didn't know at the time was that her mother was knowingly sacrificing her own career plan by offering up her benefits.
On April 11 at Fort Campbell, the sacrifice and tradition of service came full circle as Tarber re-enlisted in the Army and the ceremony was officiated by her mother, Capt. Lisa D. Campbell, Alpha Company, 71st Transportation Battalion, Fort Lee, Va.
"It's because she refused that I was able to use my GI Bill to go to college and become an officer," said Capt. Campbell, "She didn't know that then."
An emotional Capt. Campbell shared that story with the Soldiers of Tarber's unit before administering the oath of enlistment to her daughter.
"It feels amazing," said Capt. Campbell, "I am so proud of her."
Tarber said that her mother explained what it takes to be a Soldier before she enlisted.
"My mother informed me of what it is to be a Soldier, long dedicated hours, harsh deployments, 12-mile ruck marches and 4-6 mile runs," said Tarber. "She tried to encourage me to stay in school because she understood the hardships first hand, but I had other plans."
Tarber, after growing up as a military dependent, knew she wanted to be a Soldier just like her parents.
"I love being a Soldier and I know that today," said Tarber. "Having my mother reenlist me will always be a highlight of my military career."