It is not unusual for two or three members of the same family or close friends to enlist in different branches of the military at the same time. However, it is a rare occasion for 41 members of the same family to enlist in the same branch of the military at the same time. People are wondering why all of them wanted to serve in the United States Army.

The Army

According to WWBT NBC12 News in Richmond, Virginia on Friday, December 15, 2017, an American Samoan family are training in Fort Lee, Virginia that is more than 7,000 miles from their native home. People in the United States might think that is highly unusual for so many family members to enlist at the same time in the same branch, but it is not unusual in Samoa.

It is a tradition for family members to enlist in the military at the same time. The group is simply carrying out a long-standing family tradition.

The family

The collective decision to join the Army at the same time was partly based on strong family and cultural beliefs. They could have gone to other branches of the military, but they admitted they wanted to enroll together because it would be easier for all of them to go through the training phase at the same time even though they will probably separate after their training is over. The Samoans are all on the same base, but all of them are not taking the same course. Most of them are training in the Unit Supply Specialist Course taught at the Quartermaster School. Some are enrolled in courses for other specialties.

The youngest member of the family is 17-year-old Feiloaiga Filivaa who is following in his older brother's footsteps who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His older brother is Feiloaiga's role model. The teenager said the Army is giving his relatives a great opportunity to better themselves with a new career and a positive future.

The oldest member of the family is 30-year-old Spc. Joseph Tauiliili who feels responsible for his younger relatives even though he is not that much older than they are. They look at him as their leader and role model. Before joining the Army, Tauiliili was a special education teacher, but he always had a passion to join the military. When 40 other family members talked about joining the Army, he saw that as a sign that he should do what he has always wanted to do. Besides, he believes there is strength in numbers. He also related that it is nice to be among so many of his relatives because they will get the same military experience at the same time.