Generations committed to service

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Daniel Liddicoet
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Kallinen family is unlike many families. While many families gather over the dinner table to enjoy time together, the Kallinen family gathers every month for Unit Training Assembly at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

With three family members actively serving as Reserve Citizen Airmen, Rachel Kallinen, the youngest Air Force Reservist currently enrolled in the 446th Development and Training Flight, will look to start Basic Military Training shortly after graduating from high school later this year.

Chief Master Sgt. Janice Kallinen, 446th Force Support Squadron superintendent, and Master Sgt. Jerry Kallinen, 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flight line expediter, met while both were assigned to then-McChord Air Force Base in the 1980s. They both chose to join the Reserve after initially enlisting into active duty service. Their first daughter, Tech. Sgt. Kristina Hansen, 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician, was born just a few years later.

For the Kallinen family, dedication and service are just part of life and a family tradition carried on for multiple generations. As far back as World War II, Janice’s father, Raymond Goins, served in the Army with distinction. His influence was brought full-circle when Rachel swore in using his flag at her enlistment ceremony.

“As a family unit,” said Hansen, “I valued the sense of unity my parents brought to the table, even though I don't think I fully realized until later where that came from.”

Choosing to join the Reserves was an especially appealing decision for Rachel and Kristin given their flexible options for attending college while serving.

Far from pushing too hard on the topic, Jerry and Janice never wanted to pressure their children into enlistment. They chose instead simply to lead by example.

“We didn't push them in that direction,” said Janice, “but we did want them to have all their options open; they really came to this on their own.”

Ultimately, the values that Jerry and Janice instilled in their daughters directed them toward the choices of military service.

“Work ethic was huge for us,” said Hansen. “My mom instilled these values without me being really conscious of it at the time. I learned about having a commitment to something, and what it meant to work hard and gain something from it long-term.”

The youngest daughter, Rachel, grew up with an older sister in the military in addition to her two parents. For Rachel, the Air Force lifestyle was an immersive experience from a very young age.

“I went to school on base at McChord and was involved in every military event they had,” said Rachel. “I would come in every day during the summer to switch off with my parents while my dad worked swing shifts. The base was like a second home to me.”

Following the footsteps of her sister, Rachel enlisted at age 17 requiring her mother Janice to sign yet-another waiver for enlistment.

“I feel more prepared for BMT than the average person because of my family experience,” said Rachel. “They tell me all their stories and emphasize to me not to take anything too personally while I’m there.”

For both daughters, the impact of their mother achieving the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force was not realized fully until later.

“I remember pinning on her rank for chief with everyone in the room and how cool it was,” said Kristina. “When I did finally decide to join, I didn't understand what that rank meant; looking back, it was a huge moment for me.”

“I don't think of them by their ranks,” said Rachel. “I just think of them as mom and dad.”