Mom, son complete BCT family tree
Pvt. Carmen Egipciaco, Company F, 1st, Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, and her son Pvt. David Rodriguez, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, exchange identification tags as a symbol of their bond and their support of each other during Basic Combat Training.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Two Soldiers from Florida have made Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson a family affair.

Pvt. Carmen Egipciaco, 40, of Company F, 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment and her son Pvt. David Rodriguez, 17, of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment are the latest of six family members to enlist in the Army National Guard within the past year.

Egipciaco's other relatives include her husband Yamil Egipciaco, her stepdaughter Melissa Egipciaco, her niece Kimberly Egipciaco, and her son, and David's twin, Jonathan Rodriguez who is set to begin BCT within a few months. Her husband, Yamil Egipciaco, graduated BCT in July, she said.

Joining the Army was a way for the Kissimmee, Fla., residents to give back to their country and gain some new opportunities, Carmen Egipciaco said.

It started with daughter Melissa Egipciaco's wanting to join the military.

"As we (the family) learned about the college and other benefits, we, too, decided to (join the military). We're all in the Army National Guard," Egipciaco said.

Egipciaco's and her son's unit leaders say that this is the first time they have had an instance where a mother and child were going through basic training about the same time.

Sure, they have had brothers and sisters, twins and husbands-and-wives go through BCT together, but this is unique, said 1st Sgt. Robert Hoskins of Company C, 2-60th.

"It was different, and it was a good experience," said 1st Lt. Noel Machado-Matos, executive officer for Company F, 1-13th.

Though Egipciaco and her son David are new Soldiers and their activities are limited, the uniqueness of the situation made a few allowances necessary.

Machado-Matos said Egipciaco was allowed to attend her son's graduation Sept. 18.

Egipciaco and Rodriguez were interviewed a few days prior to Rodriguez' graduation. Sitting in a meeting area of the 2-60th, the mother and son shared how the experience has affected them.

The two recalled the first time they caught a glimpse of each other at a Sunday Mass several weeks earlier.

"When I saw her, I was shocked," Rodriguez said. "I was like -- that's my mom!"

Egipciaco and Rodriguez said they made sure that they walked out the same door together, so they could have a quick moment to catch up.

The two also exchanged their identification tags.

"It's like having a part of her with me," Rodriguez said.

Knowing that his mother was just a few units away was somewhat comforting for Rodriguez.

"It makes me feel better -- I have my mom here. It (was) really cool," he said.

Following graduation from BCT, David started Advanced Individual Training for training as a human resources specialist. He said when he completes AIT, he will return home to Florida, look for a job and apply to college.

His mother is set to graduate in November. Before enlisting in the National Guard, Egipciaco was an account specialist for a city in central Florida, she said. She looks forward to returning to work following her training.

She said joining the military has been a positive experience for her and her family.

"It has helped (my children) to mature."

Though a drill sergeant gave Egipciaco the nickname, "Grandma," there is nothing slow about her. She said she was in good shape prior to becoming a Soldier. Back home, she ran and did other cardio exercises daily. So, the physical tasks and endurance exercises of basic training were not a difficult adjustment for her, she said.

"It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be," Egipciaco said.

Page last updated Thu September 24th, 2009 at 07:13