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A Rare Triple Play

By By Nick Janeway 6th Recruiting Brigade

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They say good things come in threes, and for the Yucca Valley Recruiting Station, that set of three came in the form of siblings - triplets to be exact.

Josef, Tanya and Gretchen Szabo recently enlisted into the U.S. Army - all three into combat jobs.

Josef enlisted as an infantryman and wants to join the 75th Ranger Regiment. Tanya also chose infantry and wants to be the first sniper-qualified female infantryman. Gretchen enlisted as a fire support specialist and, along with Tanya, has the goal of attending the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program.

The triplets earned their high school diplomas at age 16 while attending Copper Mountain College High School Completion Program in Joshua Tree, California. For the past eight months, the Szabos have attended Future Soldier training Monday through Friday, learning everything from land navigation to drill and ceremony and getting physically ready. All three have either maxed their physical fitness test or have come very close.

The Szabos are the first in their family to enlist in the military. Their mother, also named Tanya, emigrated from Russia in 1994, and their father, also named Josef, is a history teacher. Though they all have their own personal reasons for enlisting, they shared a sense of duty to the country and a desire to have an exciting lifestyle.

"I just want to do something that not everyone can say that they did in their life," Tanya said.

The triplets said they wanted to serve their country in demanding fields that only the best can do.

"I don't like people labeling me as some weak thing all of the time," Tanya said. "I want to prove, just like other women proved, that because I'm a woman doesn't mean I can't do everything that men can do."

Josef was the first of the siblings to consider enlisting in the armed forces. As a small child, he always considered joining the military an honorable career path.

The military is a good stepping stone into any career," Josef said. "It gives you that discipline and confidence. If you can do the military, you can do anything."

Their recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Shumaker, said the Szabo triplets are the real deal.

"I'm a cavalry scout by trade, and I'd take all three of them in my unit, no doubt,"
Shumaker said. "I'm confident all three of them will be successful in whatever they choose."

Tanya and Gretchen are the first females to enlist into combat arms positions in his recruiting area.

Gretchen left for basic training on Mar. 19 and her siblings will follow in the coming weeks.

"Having three people who are all immensely qualified and really committed to the armed forces is amazing," Shumaker said. "We are all so proud of them."