By Bethani CrouchAugust 24, 2017
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - A U.S. Army mother and son shared the experience of receiving rank on the same day Friday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Franco, 20th CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) Command, was promoted to the rank of sergeant major and pinned her son Sgt. Sergio Franco, 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper, on the same day.
When she got the exciting news that not only would she receive her official promotion to the highest enlisted pay grade, but that it would also be the same day as her son, Rebecca immediately began planning a trip for the special occasion.
"I am extremely proud to serve my country and am very humbled to know that my son is following in my footsteps," Rebecca said. "I never imagined something this amazing could happen to us."
Rebecca has been serving in the Army as a CBRN Soldier for 23 years. The Rochester, NY native raised her family as a single parent and says that being a military mother is a unique experience.
"My life was really hard being a single parent in the military," Rebecca said. "I honestly didn't want this life for him, but he absolutely loves what he does."
Sergio, a native of Lancaster, PA, joined the Army in 2011 after studying forensics at the University of North Carolina. He decided to join the military for the experience and looks to his mother for advice on dealing with the challenges of being a Soldier.
He said that serving with his mother at the same time has its pros and cons.
"Being able to have her (my mother) as my mentor allows me to be above the curve and allows me to separate myself from my peers," Sergio said. "The con is the perception it gives to others. People sometimes mistake my accomplishments as being handed to me because of who my mother is.
As a paratrooper, Sergio says that his goals while continuing to serve in the Army are to complete the military occupational specialty advanced courses for his career field. He would also like to attain a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.
Since joining the Army, he has also started a family. Sergio married his wife Brittany in 2014, and they had their first child shortly after.
"I know how my mother had to work to ensure she could provide a better life for me and how difficult it must have been to leave me at times to serve our nation," Sergio said. "I am a father now with my own family and if I ever had to leave them, it would be the toughest obstacle I would ever have to face."
Sergio is undecided whether he will make the Army a career, but he aspires to be as successful as his mother. "If I decided to stay in, my mother is where I'd like to see myself," Sergio said.