By Staff Sgt. Kimberly LessmeisterJune 1, 2017
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Capt. James Mehr and 1st Lt. Sarah Mehr grew up singing paratrooper cadences on the playground.
With two Army ordnance officers for parents, and a family history of service, it was no surprise when James, Sarah, and their younger brother, Steven, joined the military.
As they progressed in rank and their careers moved them all over the world, they still managed to find ways to stay connected for big military milestones.
James, a detachment commander with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Afghanistan District, waited a month and a half for his promotion to first lieutenant in 2012 so a family member could pin him, he said via email.
That family member ended up being Sarah.
When it came to her promotion to captain, Sarah, a transportation officer with 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Sustainment Brigade, found a way to involve everyone in her immediate family.
Her parents pinned on her rank while James, who has been deployed to Afghanistan the past 11 months, led her in reciting the Oath of Office for Commissioned Officers May 5, via telephone.
Sgt. Steven Mehr, a human resources noncommissioned officer stationed in Germany, and their other sister, Maura, watched via video chat, as her older sister, Rachel watched in person.
James said he was "pleasantly surprised" that his sister asked him to lead the oath.
"Given our relationship regarding military service, I know that I have been an important part to her Army career and participating in this event in this way is an honor I am grateful to have," he said via email.
The two share a special bond that is different than that with their other siblings because they are so close in age, according to Sarah, which is why she chose James to lead the oath.
"[James has] done such a great job leading the way for our family," she said. "He was the first of my siblings to join, so he continues to lead the way."
At the time of her pinning, Sarah and James were the same age, and now they were both captains.
As the more senior captain, James had advice for his newly-promoted, and usually older, sister.
"This ceremony is one of the most important in a person's career because things change for you almost entirely," he said. "You are no longer in the 'learning phase' as an officer; having attained this rank you join the company of leaders that make visible changes in the unit and who now seriously consider what you have to say as a matter of course."
He also had one other piece of advice: Get airborne wings.
Both James and their father served in the 82nd Airborne Division, but Sarah is the first in her family to serve in the 101st Abn. Div.
"[James is] carrying on that side of the legacy," she said. "I'm bringing in a new one."