By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Many times military service is a family tradition with multiple generations wearing the uniform and the Lira family of Colorado Springs is no different, with both mother and son serving in security forces.
Entering into military service is a major decision in anyone’s life, but having family members who have served in the armed forces helps to make that tough choice a little easier.
“She was the whole reason I did it — joined security forces — I knew it was going to be a tough job but it was something I really wanted to do,” said Senior Airman Jonnathan Lira, 50th Security Forces Squadron installation entry controller at Schriever Air Force Base.
Since both family members had received career training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Jonnathan’s mother knew he could have been stationed anywhere but was relieved and happy when she was called with the good news.
“When he decided to join the Air Force I told him to go see the world; Colorado wasn’t his first choice of duty station but when he called after tech school to tell me where he was being stationed; I thought — oh no — they are sending him overseas. Nope, Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs,” said Tech Sgt. Hope Lira, 302nd Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor at Peterson Air Force Base. “You are going to Schriever!?” she said with joy over the phone.
But Jonnathan didn’t remain at Schriever very long before his first deployment overseas; it was a challenge and opportunity he had been looking forward to.
“I just got back from Afghanistan last December (2013); I was in Kandahar and worked with the fly away security team (FAST) where we conduct more than 70 missions over a seven month period. It was awesome because I got to fly all over the country and visit a lot of different places,” said Jonnathan. “I really enjoyed it, here in the states you have a lot of down time but over there you are always keeping busy.”
While on deployment, Jonnathan learned about being a better defender, but also learned a lesson about misconceptions.
“I experienced a lot about the culture in that region, it was a real eye-opener from what you hear or think about the people in that area. People think everyone in Afghanistan is bad and they all want to kill you; it’s just not true. I meant a lot of great people over there. I would definitely do it again,” said Jonnathan.
Parents have good reason to be proud of their child who makes the decision to serve their country, but perhaps even a little more when they decide to take up their career field and walk in your footsteps; making it their own.
“I am proud of him; most parents are not too enthusiastic about their child going into the military. Not me, I brag about it. I say my son is a cop serving in Afghanistan, doing things that most security force members don’t get to do,” said Hope.
Hope intends to finish out her career in the Air Force, while Jonnathan looks at the option of either going to college or staying blue and seeing more of the world. Either way, this family tradition of military service is something the Lira family will always be proud of.