REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 80 percent of veterans have an immediate family member who served in the military, showing that most veterans leave a legacy of service to their families.
1st Lt. Bradley Cho, a platoon leader at Company B, 2-501 General Support Aviation Battalion, at Fort Bliss, Texas, comes from such a family. Cho’s father, retired Brig. Gen. John M. Cho, served for 32 years in the U.S. Army and was the first active duty Korean American to become a general; his uncle and brother are currently serving; his maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Air Force and great-uncle served in the U.S. Army; and his paternal grandfather served for the Republic of Korea during the Korean War before immigrating to the United States.
“Their service means everything to me,” Cho said. “I have always wanted to serve my nation in some capacity. At a young age I wanted to serve in the Peace Corps, but as I got older and learned more about the military, I decided to go this route instead. Everyone in my family volunteered to serve this great country, and I couldn't be more proud to be a part of the team.”
Cho, who graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2020, said he chose to attend the school for the opportunities it provided and the leader and character development it offered. The bonus to attending was that was where he met Lauren Karbler, his future wife, who also comes from a family that serves.
In July 2020, right after graduating from West Point, the two married becoming a dual-military family, just like Karbler’s own parents. Karbler is a second lieutenant serving in Army Central Command; the couple has only been able to spend a few weeks together as newlyweds.
“Being a dual military family makes things busy, but at the same time enjoyable,” Cho said. “It is very easy to understand each other's work because we both work for the same team.”
Everyone in Cho’s company flies the CH-47F Chinook. Platoon leaders and warrant officers serve as pilots; platoon sergeants, squad leaders and Soldiers are the flight engineers and crew chiefs. In April, Cho had the opportunity to fly his father-in-law, Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, the commanding general for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, from Fort Bliss to White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
“Getting to fly my father-in-law around was a tremendous experience,” Cho said. “He is a wonderful role model and someone I look up to a lot. It was my favorite flight I have done while stationed here at Fort Bliss.”
Cho said he has always had a fascination with aviation and space, which led to his career in the aviation branch, but that he chose the U.S. Army because he wanted to serve the nation and be a part of a team that puts people first.
“Our job hinges on people accomplishing their tasks and working as a team to overcome any obstacle,” Cho said. “We are a people organization.”