By Mr. Brian Hill (Leonard Wood)November 14, 2019
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- For Pvt. Malia Registe, graduating from basic training Nov. 14 alongside her sister, Pfc. Marlina Registe, is very special. However, she's also graduating five minutes from her home in Fort Leonard Wood's on-post housing, and they're both graduating in front of their father, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dean Registe, U.S. Army Engineer School Regimental Chief Warrant Officer.
"It's weird being here for basic training, but I like it," Malia said. "I'm familiar with the place."
Both Registe sisters were assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, and Malia added that being a trainee at a place you call home was sometimes tough.
"A lot of people know us, but when we'd go to church you can't say hi; you can't talk to them, you have to keep your military bearing," she said.
For Marlina, who is the older sister and is married to a Soldier stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, the idea to join the military was something she thought about occasionally while she attended college. It wasn't until Malia graduated high school and came up with the idea to join together that she made up her mind.
"We're very close," she said. "I wouldn't have joined if it wasn't for her, and knowing that just made me make sure I was always on my toes, being the older sister, making sure she does her best and making sure I do my best."
Their father, who enlisted out of high school in 1992, said the Army has been part of the Registe family since he was a child.
"When I was a kid, since I was 4 years old, my dad was in the Army," he said. "It was always around. Growing up, that's all I really ever thought about. When my kids wanted to join, it was kind of the same thing -- they'd been around the military a lot. At first, I used to pitch it to them. They used to come to work with me in Hawaii, and I'd show them the office. I think it shaped their decision, because they knew I was in favor of it."
He said that for a service member, growing up with the military is a big advantage.
"Being a military brat, it was easy to meet new people -- talk to new people -- because you're used to doing that," he said. "Getting to know different people from different walks of life was second nature to me."
To help his daughters prepare for basic, they came up with a motto together -- gym, it's a lifestyle.
"The biggest thing I told them was that the thing that gets most of the recruits is being physical," he said. "Most people fail out of basic training because they get hurt. You're doing all this strenuous activity all day long, so they get stress fractures. So I got them physically fit so their bodies could endure all the stuff that they throw at you."
The Registe family began a routine of running and ruck marching, with visits to the gym at least four times a week.
"We went five days one time," he said. "I was exhausted, I did not want to go, but they didn't want to tell me that they didn't want to go. We were half way done and I told them I didn't want to go today, and they told me they didn't either, and they were like, 'why didn't you say something?' And I said, 'why didn't you say something?' Nobody wanted to tap out."
The sisters started writing all the tips they learned in a notebook, especially anything they could get from drill sergeants they met in the gym.
"I think that helped them a lot, understanding what was going to happen versus going in cold," their father said. "I wish I'd worked on marching with them, though. My oldest is not coordinated -- she has the hardest time marching. Seeing (the drill sergeants) yelling at your kids, you have to put your parent stuff aside and just put on your Army hat and understand that I was there, too -- I got yelled at -- and they're not doing it because they're mean, they're doing it because they're trying to train them. I wanted them to get the real experience because they're going to need it. You've got to be able to count on the person next to you, and they've got to be able to count on you. It's not an individual sport, it's the Army -- we all depend on each other."
For Registe, his proudest moment was when he was called to give his daughters their U.S. Army patches at a ceremony at the night infiltration course.
"Their battalion commander invited me out there and so I watched that whole event," he said. "They do their ceremony where they get their patches -- they officially become Soldiers. The drill sergeant called me over to actually patch them. It was an emotional moment. I was just proud of them because they made it all the way through. All the times that I woke them up early in the morning to do physical training, it helped."
The Registe family will soon part ways. Marlina will attend paralegal training in Virginia before re-joining her husband in Kansas. Malia, who turned 18 years old during basic, will train to become a dental technician in Texas.
"For the past two years, this is the most we've seen each other," Malia said. "But we're very close. We'll call each other every day if we can."