By Staff Sgt. Melissa Applebee, 1st Inf. Div., USD-S OSJASeptember 2, 2010
Selfless service, according to the Army values, means placing the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own. In some cases, the commitment to selfless service goes beyond the individual and encompasses entire Families with rich military tradition.
Some of these Families can track service in the Armed Forces through several generations. Some have even served in the same conflicts at the same time.
For the Harvey family, there is a deep pride in this commitment to service. Siblings, Capt. Tanya Rosa and 1st Sgt. Greg Harvey, have a combined 35 years of military service, more than five of which were spent in a combat zone. Their list of overseas assignments and deployments includes Germany, Korea, Japan, Hawaii, Kuwait, Iraq and Haiti. But the Family tradition does not stop with Rosa and Harvey. Their father is a retired Air Force master sergeant and Vietnam veteran, their uncle was a commander in the Navy, and Harvey's son, Spc. Wayne Harris, is carrying on the tradition with the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C.
"I don't remember a time in my life that my father didn't hang an American flag outside our door, something that didn't seem to catch on in many households until after (Sept. 11)," Rosa said.
As a child, Rosa remembers always wanting to follow her brother's footsteps.
"[I] always followed my brother around as a child. He was always doing the 'cool' things and had the best imagination. Of course, when he got a mongoose, I had to have a purple mongoose."
Harvey, currently the first sergeant for an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior cavalry troop in the 25th Infantry Division, based in Hawaii, joined the Army in November of 1990. He has deployed five times.
Refusing to be left behind, Rosa continued family tradition of military service and enlisted in the Air Force in 1993. She spent 12 years as a morse code interceptor before a brief stint with the National Security Agency as a civilian.
"Being in the Air Force wasn't enough for me either; I once again had to follow my big brother," Rosa said. "I wanted to finish what I started as an officer in the Army. [I] took a pay cut to become a lieutenant."
Rosa is currently deployed with the 1st Infantry Division as a public affairs officer. She previously deployed to Kuwait as a signal officer with the 1st Armored Division.
Rosa and Harvey recently reunited in Kuwait when Harvey's unit redeployed. While they were together, Rosa changed her name tape to "Harvey" for a photo opportunity to surprise their father. This was the first time Rosa and Harvey had seen each other in five years. This family has seen more of one another in a combat zone than in America. Rosa also paid a visit to Harvey's son when he passed through Kuwait.
While the miles may separate them, serving in the Army together has strengthened the bond Rosa and Harvey had since they were kids.
"We already were very close, but I'd say it has definitely made us appreciate the times we get to spend together," Rosa said.
"I consider us very close and supportive of each other. We can relate easily [to one another]," Harvey said.
Being in the same branch of service has given them a level of understanding for one another that cannot be quantified.
"My brother is a hero in my eyes. Several of his comrades have given the ultimate sacrifice, and his best friend just recently lost his life. My brother, of course, does not allow this to stop him. He's the first sergeant after all, and he must take care of the troops."
"At that time, my mission was to be his 'sis.' I've noticed that's what he calls me when he needs me.
She said having a sibling in the military makes it easier to understand the need to come together through difficult times, which is made easier knowing they can lean on one another.
"It's a comfort to me to know if I need either a brother's advice or a first sergeant's advice, I have the absolute best of both just a phone call away."
On the home front, John and Vickie Harvey offer unwavering support.
"My parents were very proud of my brother joining the Army and later me joining the Air Force. [Now they have] pride that both of their children are now Soldiers and combat veterans."
Mr. and Mrs. Harvey spearheaded a volunteer effort to hold "Support The Troops" rallies outside the gates of Fort Rucker, Ala., every month, Rosa said.
The Harveys began rallying in 2003, when a group joined together weekly to hold American flags and service banners outside MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
"These rallies were meant to show non-partisan support for our brave military service members," John Harvey said. "Three years ago, (when) we moved to Alabama,...there was no similarly organized display of support for the young men and women stationed at Fort Rucker."
Nine months ago, John set out to change this. He organized a group to show weekly support to the troops at Fort Rucker, and the group has even garnered support from other residents, churches and community groups.