By Kendra Williams, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 12, 2019
The Lee siblings pose for a photo at Juyoung Lee’s basic military training graduation ceremony July 2018, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The four siblings all served in intelligence based careers in the Air Force. The two oldest brothers, Samuel and Juchan, have transitioned to the Air Force Reserves. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
Until recently, three brothers were all assigned to the 55th Intelligence Support Squadron together at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
The older two, Samuel and Juchan, served as linguists and the youngest, Juyoung Lee, is an all-source intelligence analyst. The brothers also have a sister who is an Air Force linguist at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. Before the siblings birth, their parents emigrated from the Republic of Korea to the United States.
Samuel, the oldest, when considering career paths decided to join the Air Force out of a drive to give back to the nation he grew up in. His parents regularly reminded him of how lucky he was to have been born in the U.S.
“We didn’t think much of it when we were young … It’s an opportunity that’s not really given to a lot of people,” Samuel said.
By sharing his experiences with the Air Force with his siblings each of them, when old enough, chose to follow in Samuel’s footsteps.
“I’m thankful for the military for what it has taught me, all the discipline, all the structure, the accountability all that,” Samuel said. “I don’t think I could’ve learned that in the civilian world.”
Although their parents were not military members the brothers did learn what moving every two to three years was like because their father was a Southern Baptist missionary.
“It’s almost like being a military brat, never in one place for an extended period of time always on the move,” Samuel said. “Actually for our family, being in Omaha for three or four years is the longest time being in one place.”
The siblings all had a clear vision to serve in the intelligence career field when enlisting and are thankful for the training they have received. At one point, the oldest 3 siblings were all at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California.
“I felt grateful just to be given the chance to study at a great institution,” Juchan said. “All the linguists go through DLI either at Monterey or Washington, D.C. In that institute, you don’t just learn a language but get to experience different cultures and teachers as well. It was a great experience and great institution, so I felt very humble and grateful”
The brothers give credit to their parents for helping them think about the long term effects of their choices.
“We went through harsh times, some bad times and we separated and came back together like a normal family,” Juyoung said. “Along those times our parents always put us first rather than themselves. And there were times when we were selfish but our parents would be trying to reach us with their love which we didn’t understand back then, but now it’s one of the greatest gifts they’ve given to us and we shouldn’t take it for granted.”
Juyoung has only just begun his enlistment however his brothers have both transitioned out of the Air Force. As they pursue their long term career goals Juchan is now a contractor and serving in the Air Force Reserve and Samuel has accepted a contracting position in Kadena AFB, Japan and is also serving in the Air Force Reserve.
“My goal is to work in an embassy that is out of the country,” Samuel said. “Since I am Korean the most ideal picture in my mind, my top goal, is working at an Embassy that is in South Korea. That way I am close to my father and my mother’s motherland and also still serving the country.”