One Family – Three Air Commandos

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joe McFadden
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Many Air Commandos within Air Force Special Operations Command pride themselves as belonging to a close-knit family built on pride for their country, devotion to duty and trust in each member's unique talents.

But for the Stinson family, the sense of pride of serving within AFSOC and upholding a family tradition runs deep across three distinct careers.

Capt. Joshua Stinson, 34th Special Operations Squadron U-28A instructor pilot, Jordan Roby, 1st Special Operations Contracting Squadron contract specialist, and Senior Airman Rebecca Stinson, 711th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster, all serve within AFSOC as respective commissioned, civilian and enlisted Air Commandos.

While their current occupations share diverse responsibilities, they each said a shared sense of serving a cause greater than themselves brought them into the Air Force.

"I'm proud of my siblings for choosing to serve their country," Captain Stinson said.

The Stinson family's military service goes back several generations.

"This allegiance to a like cause runs deep and firm within my family," Roby said. "My family has a long history of service; my grandfathers both served, and subsequently some of their children and grandchildren have picked a similar life path."

While their family tree's branches previously supported military service, the current generation of Stinson's call to service rooted from a national tragedy.

"9/11 occurred during my senior year of high school," Captain Stinson said. "During class, the teacher's aide turned on the news. That was the moment I knew I wanted to join the military."

After high school, Captain Stinson entered the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

And, in due time, his commitment filtered through the rest of his family.

"Josh started a chain reaction within us children," Roby said. "We were all so proud of the accomplishment Josh achieved with his graduation and were certain his success would continue."

Airman Stinson moved from Jacksonville, Fla., to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to study at Northwest Florida State College.

"I watched my brother, Joshua, and saw how motivated and dedicated the Air Force made him," she said. "My brother has always been a second father figure to me."

With her interest piqued, Airman Stinson researched aviation career fields. She enlisted in February 2010 as a loadmaster.

"I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, but I didn't know what or how to do that," she said. "I never thought of myself as someone who could make it into the military, but now I see how much I have grown and thrived from being a part of the Air Force. I had to test myself physically and mentally, but it has been an amazing and fulfilling experience."

Similar to Airman Stinson's situation, Roby said her interest in federal service began after Captain Stinson sent her a Student Career Experience Program advertisement, and she applied.

"Contracting appeared to be a huge support component of the military," she said. "Everyone wants to be a part of a greater cause, and I saw this as my chance to be just that."

Regardless of what uniform they wear, Roby said the genesis of their service goes back to Captain Stinson's initial decision to step forward during the nation's hour of need.

"Josh set a standard of dedication to the armed forces for all of us younger siblings to follow," Roby said. "I wanted to enable the same mission my family members support."

Just as his siblings credit him with leading the way, Captain Stinson first arrived at Hurlburt Field in the summer of 2008. Roby followed in September 2010, and Airman Stinson arrived shortly afterward at Duke Field, Fla.

Although they serve in different squadrons and bases, the sibling's contributions to the AFSOC mission are connected.

Contracting specialists order materials and equipment to supply missions. Then, the loadmasters prepare the equipment and supplies and deliver them to aircraft. Finally, pilots deliver those supplies all over the world.

Their actions, like every Airman's, provide support to countless other Airmen and families.

As for being part of the Air Commando family, each sibling highlighted a willingness to put the needs of others before their own.

"Being an Air Commando means being a member of a dedicated family with a proud history," Roby said. "Each member is willing to make sacrifices for the common thread that holds the family together without compromising the qualities required of each member, and never surrendering."

Airman Stinson said she intends to finish college so she may become a pilot like her brother.

But no matter where their careers and missions may take them, the Stinson family said they remain united in their dedication to protect their country.

"I am so proud of the accomplishments my family has made thus far," Roby said. "My hope is that our contributions will have a positive ripple effect outside of our family, and into the lives of others. Each of us represents more than just ourselves -- we represent our siblings, our parents, extended families, friends and a great nation."