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Mother's Ultimate Sacrifice Inspires Son To Serve
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kyle Gese - April 8, 2015

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SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - In Feb. 2015, an Airman Basic inspired the leadership of the 82nd Training Wing by sharing his story of selfless service, dedication and commitment to better himself and the Airmen around him.

Treyton-Thomas Juopperi, now Airman Juopperi, joined the U.S. Air Force a few months ago in spite of losing his mother during her last tour to Iraq. He was shattered by her death, but the memory of his mother inspired him to follow in her footsteps.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Carletta Davis, a mother, wife and medic, was killed when her Humvee struck an improvised explosive device. Her training as a healthcare specialist and combat medic took her around the world to include multiple tours to Iraq. She passed away Nov. 5, 2007.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Kindsvater, 82nd Training Wing commander, and U.S. Air Force Airman Treyton-Thomas Joupperi, 364th Training Squadron student, stand together after Joupperi’s speech at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 19, 2015. After Kindsvater learned of his mother’s ultimate sacrifice, Joupperi was invited to share his story with the rest of the wing leadership. Joupperi’s mother served three tours in Iraq ... and passed away during her last tour from an improvised explosive device. His mother’s sacrifice inspired his decision to join the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese)
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Kindsvater, 82nd Training Wing commander, and U.S. Air Force Airman Treyton-Thomas Joupperi, 364th Training Squadron student, stand together after Joupperi's speech at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 19, 2015. After Kindsvater learned of his mother's ultimate sacrifice, Joupperi was invited to share his story with the rest of the wing leadership. Joupperi's mother served three tours in Iraq ... and passed away during her last tour from an improvised explosive device. His mother's sacrifice inspired his decision to join the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese)

“I figured you're joking. There is no way that is real,” said Joupperi. “I stood there and my heart just dropped ... I just sat there and watched my dad cry. It was weird to see him cry.”

Losing a loved one is never easy, but through his struggles Joupperi began to see the importance of his mother's sacrifice.

“At first, I was very angry at the military,” he said. “I didn't really have the whole gung-ho mindset about serving your country. I thought, ‘why should my mom give her life for the country?'”

Despite his initial reactions, while in college, Joupperi started to think about what he was doing with his life. He thought to himself, “Why not dedicate your life to something like your mom did or at least half as good as she did.”

After reflecting on the reasons his mom served, he realized his calling. Joupperi turned to the Air Force to honor his mother's service. He remembered his mom telling him if she were to see him join the military she better see him in the Air Force uniform.

“You never know who is watching or whose life you are going to impact that day,” said Joupperi. “In the end it came down to one question, ‘what kind of person do you want to be?'”

Joupperi's decision came easy. He would not settle for mediocrity but rather a selfless act of service striving to be the best that he can possibly be.

“Even in the operational Air Force I will go forth and put 110 percent into everything I do,” He said. “Even if it's desk work, volunteer work, training or a re-class, everything I do, I plan to put my best effort into it.”

“I have five brothers that look up to me every day. If you're going to do something you better do it right,” he said.

Joupperi is now going through technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, for aircraft electrical and environmental systems. He is estimated to graduate in June, 2015, where he will join the rest of the “world's greatest Air Force” and continue to train and inspire others alongside him.

By U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kyle Gese
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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