To say military service runs in the Family might be an
understatement for Col. Barbara Herrington-Clemens and her husband
Ken Clemens. Between them and three of their five children, they
have more than 120 years of military service and eight deployments.
March 17, 2017 - Members of the Clemens Family, with more than 120
years of military service, stand in front of the Family home in Port
Clinton, Ohio after three of them returned from overseas
deployments. Pictured are retired Senior Master Sgt. Ken Clemens
(clockwise from front row, left), Col. Barb Herrington-Clemens,
Capt. Chelsea Migura, Staff Sgt. Rich Clemens, Staff Sgt. Drew
Clemens and Sgt. 1st Class Zach Migura. (Ohio National Guard
Herrington-Clemens enlisted in the Ohio Army National
Guard in 1981, while Ken, a retired Ohio Air National Guard
senior master sergeant, enlisted in 1982. Two decades later,
two sons, Drew and Rich, and a daughter, Chelsea, followed
“It makes me very proud of them to serve our country. The
military is not for everyone, so we are very blessed to have our
children serving in our military,” Ken said.
Staff Sgt. Rich
Clemens, who works at the Ohio National Guard Joint Force
Headquarters in Columbus, said his parents played a big role in his
decision to enlist.
“Had my parents not been in the military,
I am not sure that I would have known anything about it and I
probably would not have enlisted. Their knowledge and experience
with the Guard made it an easy choice to make, especially since it
has always been a part of my life,” Rich said.
of his parents that Staff Sgt. Drew Clemens of the 200th RED HORSE
(Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron
Engineers) has continued his military career.
“I was at nine
years’ service and took a six-year break before I re-enlisted,” Drew
said. “They encouraged me not to give that up. It was a big decision
as a father of four with two deployments already under my belt, but
it was definitely the best decision I had made in a long time.”
Having a Military Family has provided Capt. Chelsea Clemens
Migura with a lot of support through the years. Her father
transferred from the Army Guard to the Air Guard’s 200th RED HORSE
Squadron and joined her when the unit deployed.
deployment to Iraq my dad was with me. I cannot put into words what
this meant to me as a 20-year-old in a war zone. My Family at home
sent us care packages and letters to let us know we were in their
thoughts and being supported,” Chelsea said of the experience. She
is currently in the Air Force Reserve and lives in Texas with her
husband, Zach, who is in the Army Reserve.
Herrington-Clemens echoes her daughter’s sentiment about the
importance of Family support.
“My father was a career Marine
and my older sister was Air Force, so my Family understood what
service and training requirements demanded of the service member and
their Families. I would never have stayed in the service if it had
not been for the amazing support of Family members who loved and
prioritized the needs of our kids exactly like we did as parents,”
That tradition continues today, as the Family
pitches in to help look after Drew’s, Rich’s and Chelsea’s children
when they leave for training or an extended deployment.
Employer support is also important to a career in the National
Guard, as a majority of the Soldiers and Airmen in the Family have
full-time civilian jobs. It can be a challenge for employers to be
without an employee for days, weeks or months at a time. Chelsea
said she’s been blessed to have understanding employers and
supportive co-workers when her absences meant their workload
“I am always upfront in interviews that while my
current military service may impact my civilian career, it is also
responsible for some of my best experiences and developed many of my
strengths,” she said.
While the next generation of the Family
is still too young to enlist, Drew and his siblings agree they would
like to see their children follow in their footsteps.
absolutely encourage my children to pursue a military career,” he
said. “Mainly because there are great education benefits, but it
also creates discipline and brotherhood.”
By Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs
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