By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)September 15, 2016
Training at Fort Leonard Wood has become a tradition for one Florida Family.
With the graduation of Company B, 795th Military Police Battalion, Military Police One Station Unit Training Friday, Pvt. Justin Robles became the third generation of Vila men who have chosen to serve in the United States Army, and have graduated from Fort Leonard Wood.
"I am happy that I was able to continue the tradition of serving in the Army," Robles said.
The tradition started when the patriarch of the Family, Luis Vila, entered the Army in 1976 and attended Basic Combat Training here.
The retired command sergeant major was an engineer who was assigned to the U.S. Army Training Center Fort Leonard Wood in 1983.
"Joining the Army was a good change for me and to move into something that would make me a better person and a better man," Luis, who now resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said.
The next Vila to enter the Army was Pfc. Tyler Vila, 19, who completed Military Police OSUT in November. He is the son of Luis and uncle to Robles, 22. Robles is the son of Tyler's older sister.
"Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to join," Tyler, who joined the Army out of high school, said. "Growing up, I was always going with my dad wherever he went. He was always around Soldiers, and I just liked the environment."
Luis prepared his son and grandson for training at Fort Leonard Wood by offering the wisdom of his time here. He mostly prepared them for the unpredictable and often extreme weather in Missouri.
"I told them you have to pick the right job and be in the right place to enjoy what you are doing in the Army," he added.
Robles said training at Fort Leonard Wood was difficult, but he was able to get through it because of the support he had in Company B and at home.
"(My grandfather is) one person who taught me everything I know, and one person who I look up to," Robles said. "He is the one person I want to become when I get older."
Tyler also credits the influence of his father for helping him get through OSUT.
"It was tough, but when you really want something, no matter how hard it is, you will go and get it," he said.
Both Tyler and Robles chose military police. Tyler said it was because they are the best of the best.
"My dad was against it because he was an engineer, but when he realized how we (military police) are the best, he was OK with it," Tyler said.
Regardless of the branch his son and grandson chose, Luis said he was proud of both for following in his footsteps.
"Right now I am more than proud, I am honored for them to live on in my legacy," he said.
Robles will join Tyler at the 810th Military Police Company, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.