Family proud of 3 generations of USAF service

DOVER — Service above self.

That’s what Donyale Hall describes as a motto for her family, one of the legacies that began with her father.

The other is a legacy of military service in the U.S. Air Force, beginning with Ms. Hall’s father’s service in Vietnam.

The lineage continued through her own service in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and most recently, her sons’ completion of basic training.

“It was very awe-inspiring to see that. Most parents there only have one child. I had two,” she said. “So that was just a huge moment to be able to see both of them simultaneously, in one place. I don’t think there are words to adequately describe the overwhelming emotion that you feel in that moment.

“You feel pride. You’re relieved that that part of their journey is over. You get to see them. It all culminates in that moment and it’s just a great feeling.”

Rawle “Adrian” London, 20, and Daniel London, 18, graduated from basic training in September, becoming third generation Air Force. The two are currently in advanced training.

For the family members, though, each came to military service in their own way. Ms. Hall’s father, retired Master Sgt. Calvin M. Price, enlisted in the military to pursue other opportunities after growing up with an agricultural background in Virginia. Master Sgt. Price died in March, due to illness attributable to Agent Orange, Ms. Hall said.

“He went into the military and after he finished service, he pursued his lifelong dream of becoming college educated,” she explained, noting that after suffering a heart attack while he was on active duty, he ended his career. “He was able to go back to school and he completed his bachelor’s degree and then went on to receive his master’s degree. Education was a huge importance to him.”

Pursuit of education
It was ultimately pursuit of education, something her father emphasized, that led Ms. Hall to enlist. When graduating from Caesar Rodney High School, she said she was heavily recruited because of her interest in pursuing engineering.

She enrolled at the University of Delaware, but when she became pregnant with her first child her junior year, the military offered stability for her and her daughter.
“The Air Force was a good fit for me,” she said.

She added that since she already had started her engineering studies it gave her great opportunities for careers in that field.

Master Sgt. Calvin M. Price

She served four years as a communications and navigation system specialist for aircraft maintenance. During her period of service in the 1990s, the number of women, especially in her field, was slim, she said. She decided to continue her education after her military service ended.

“My military service, along with my father’s military service, not only supported our nation’s security but also gave a pathway toward being able to carve out a place for yourself within our given profession,” Ms. Hall said.

For her son Adrian education was a factor in enlisting in the National Guard because it provided tuition assistance while also taking part in a legacy established before him.

“The Air Force has always been an ideal and a different way of life I wanted to go down,” he said. “It’s really a great experience so far, to be here in the Air Force, to meet new people, to travel to new places and try new things. Honestly, I’m looking forward to so much more as my career progresses and I get finished with school and when I come back home.”

Adrian began the process of enlisting before his brother, but the two ended up going to basic training together, thanks to support from leadership. The two weren’t in the same squadron, but they had the opportunity to see each other every Sunday, which they agreed was helpful as they went through basic training.

“As far as me and my brother going together, it’s been an absolute amazing experience, honestly. I’m not sure if I would have gotten through training without seeing my brother,” Adrian said. “It’s funny, because we could both laugh at each other’s pain since we knew what we were both going through.”

“Knowing he was going through the same thing, we were able to talk about that, and that really helped,” Daniel said.
Family legacy
For Daniel, his family legacy largely influenced his decision when he decided to enlist for active duty.

“I feel like I’ve always had a calling to go into the military, especially since my grandfather was in and my mom was in,” he said. “It feels good since most of my family was Air Force. So it’s kind of like carrying on that legacy of what they built. It’s pretty cool to say that I’m third generation Air Force.”

The ideals of the Air Force have made waves through each generation of the family.

“Dad had a consistent mantra all across my young life, even before I knew what that meant,” Ms. Hall said. “Dad was always civically engaged, always about helping others. He constantly put the needs of others above his own. I passed that to my children, that we had an obligation to look beyond our own personal needs, be cognizant of the needs of those around us. That was something my dad left as his legacy to me.”

‘Service Above Self’
That mantra — “Service Above Self” — continues with Adrian and Daniel even as they begin their service.
“That definitely is a big part of Air Force, that’s one of the core values. You’ve got to prioritize your job and your mission first, before you worry about yourself,” Daniel said. “I do live by that.”

Adrian noted that, in the transition from civilian to military life, the qualities of airmen begin to become more apparent.
“All of us have a sense of just patriotism and respect for our country and respect for our fellow wingmen and just having that sense of pride to just wear the Air Force uniform,” he continued.

Ms. Hall said that military service has become a tradition in the family.
“It was a wonderful experience just seeing them be able to not only just be biological brothers but be brothers in arms,” she said. “There are no words for that.”

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